Internet filtering in China
Jonathan Zittrain and Ben Edelman have created an intriguing online tool for testing whether a particular URL is being filtered. I’ve tried it and got ‘indeterminate’ results, but they have just released a report after trying 200,000 sites. According to the “NYT” summary, “China has the most extensive Internet censorship in the world, regularly denying local users access to 19,000 Web sites that the government deems threatening, a study by Harvard Law School researchers finds.
The study, which tested access from multiple points in China over six months, found that Beijing blocked thousands of the most popular news, political and religious sites, along with selected entertainment and educational destinations. The researchers said censors sometimes punished people who sought forbidden information by temporarily making it hard for them to gain any access to the Internet.
Defying predictions that the Internet was inherently too diverse and malleable for state control, China has denied a vast majority of its 46 million Internet users access to information that it feels could weaken its authoritarian power. Beijing does so even as it allows Internet use for commercial, cultural, educational and entertainment purposes, which it views as essential in a globalized era…”
The BBC Online take on this is that the Chinese censors seem to be ambivalent about porn (some well-known soft-port sites) are not filtered. But they are, for some reason, very exercised about Slashdot, where the only vice is technolust.