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China’s not-so-great wall

Techdirt points to a story in the Toronto Star about three Canadian hackers who have created a software work-around for China’s ‘great firewall’. The subtle irony is that the hackers’ solution, called Psiphon, is inherently cooperative:

Psiphon takes the concept of a third-party computer doing the work yours can’t because of censorship, and protects it by relying on trusted friends and close family, to create a program the creators say is nearly fail-safe.

One has to love the idea of the failure of the enforced, monolithic collective inspiring genuine, entrepreneurial cooperation.

The fact, as Techdirt points out, that three hackers are able to out-perform a cast of 30,000 censors also suggests another truth: that freedom is always cheaper and more efficient than oppression.

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5 comments to China’s not-so-great wall

  • Julian Taylor

    Great stuff. Proof that First World technology can indeed defeat the Third World ‘billion monkey’ syndrome, or 30,000 censors sifting the web are no match for one small team of determined hackers.

  • veryretired

    Attempts at censorship in most cases are futile, but in the electronic age it’s akin to the Maginot line vs. the Bliztkrieg.

    China’s political bosses will fail, as will the mullahs, just as the previous attempts to prevent the spread of unwelcome ideas by politburos and dictators of various stripes all failed.

    The name of this blog recalls one of the proudest movements in the history of the struggle for liberty.

    People who actually want to think are, by definition, smarter than those who try to prevent it. Game, set, and match to the freedom of the mind.

  • Nick M

    Bravo! I would’ve said the same thing using twice as many words and gaining half the effect.
    It must be obvious to the world’s dictators, nut-jobs and Islamicists that free access to the internet is a basic need for a proper economy.
    Without it they’ll flounder and achieve nothing beyond Stalinist targets for the production of steel and tractors. With it, they’ll become irrelevant.
    I hope some of the world’s “Dear Leaders”, “Ayatollahs”, “Politburos” and similar are taking note. We will bury them because all we need is a couple of hundred quid and a phone-call to Dell to do it.
    We are legion because we’re not united.

    This -post in no way endorses Dell Computer.

  • This is good news, but if China acts according to form, they will make this work-around illegal. That will not be enough to stop it, but it will at least slow it and instill fear.

  • aditya paul

    nice go!didnt like the comment abt first world against third world countries though!im from india and though we are a third world country we dont employ the so called “billion monkey ” technique.infact we have no official censorship for the net and news.