The Null Device

Testing the boundaries

China's Internet censorship regime, with its Cisco-powered "great firewall" and armies of censors waging relentless war on criticism, is often cited as disproof of the old cyber-utopian saw that the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it; its apparent success against all odds has undoubtedly been heartening to other proponents of keeping a firm hand, from Singapore to Cuba, and from Saudi Arabia to our own Senator Alston. But as Reporters Without Borders investigator Gao Zheng is finding out (through a form of controlled forum trolling), the censors' grip is slipping:
Gao provisionally rates every bit of text on a scale of 1 to 10 before he posts it. His initial "sensitivity" rating is usually a good indication of the time the posting will last on the public area of the news site. A "1" is something totally unthreatening, while a "10" would be lucky to get online at all and would remain for just minutes if it did.
"Look at this one," Gao says, pointing to another comment made by a user on some hours before. "It says, 'Why arent we protesting in the streets against this war like other countries are doing and like we did after the U.S. bombing of our embassy in Yugoslavia?'" "Its been there for several hours already. Surprising it would be allowed to stay so long. I mean, this isnt just foreign policy chitchat; this is a call for people to go out into the streets. This is an eight or a nine, certainly. Very dangerous."

(via TechDirt)

There are 1 comments on "Testing the boundaries":

Posted by: Ben Laden Mon May 26 12:22:41 2003

I wonder how much of it is because of Chinese-language specific internet content?