« You Can't Stop The Signal | Main | It's a New Phil, Week 5 »

The Signal, Part 2

Regarding our proposal to thwart Google's censorship of China, myric from Asiapundit writes:

Gosh, it's nice to know that if I need do search for information I can always e-mail a US-based blogger and wait, probably hours or days, for the results. Thanks for the thought - but I think it will be faster if those of us in China just use a proxy (like we already do).

If you are serious about supporting Internet access in China set up a server for TOR or JAP.

We didn't know (Stephen confessed his technical ignorance in the last post), but we suspected that savvy surfers in China had already figured out ways around the barrier. Myrick seems to have taken offense at our offer. We meant no disrespect.

Part of what we are doing is pointing out the fact that Chinese surfers have to route around a barrier. We're also exposing the things that Google is censoring. Things like the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 (more here, here, and here)

Obviously, proxies and other workaraounds are the immediate fix for getting access to whatever has been blocked. We certainly support efforts to put such workarounds in place. The only problem with proxy searches is that they are, to some extent, complicit with the system. A proxy search immediately returns the results you're looking for, but it doesn't hold Google accountable for blocking your search in the first place.

The method we've described would, initially, involve a considerable lag time in producing results. There's no question about that. Submitting a query at that stage would probably have as much to do with documenting a blocked search as it would with getting the results (which can still be achieved via a proxy search.) Think of it as a bug report.

As more and more bloggers participated and the FAQ grew, this lag time would be cut considerably. Utlimately, the database of blocked search results could be accessed almost as quickly as a proxy. But even if it was never competitive with a proxy search from the standpoint of speed, we believe there is considerable value in collecting and publishing everything that has been blocked.

We appreciate the offers to help that we've already received from other bloggers - particularly the one who knows Chinese and has contacts in China.

Lastly, we hope to express through this program solidarity with the people of China.

No people on Earth yearn to be oppressed, or aspire to servitude, or eagerly await the midnight knock of the secret police.


No offense was taken, the thought was appreciated . It just seems impractical. If it's just about documenting what Google is censoring than that can be done with this. The OpenNet Initiave also documents what sites and keywords are being blocked and it regularly tests the filters in China and elsewhere (Saudi Arabia etc...). But providing remote searches for users really doesn't serve any purpose. Search results should be immediate, and generally searches have to be personally tailored and modified. As well, providing search results that are omitted from Google.cn would mostly be providing links to sites that are blocked in China. Users here still would not be able to access them without a proxy. What can help China is faster and more reliable proxy servers. More people in the West joining the TOR network would help.

Post a comment