Olympics: Mixed results with proxy servers

Another way of getting around Intent censorship is to use proxy servers. They are basically computers whose addresses or access are not blocked by a country’s filters. You contact one of them and relay your information, say a request to access www.cpj.org (which, by the way, is still blocked as of this morning, according to friends inside the Main Press Center in the Olympic Village). The proxy server retrieves and passes back the information you want. 

Proxy servers have been a mainstay for anyone in China who wants to get to sites blocked by the government, but glitches have started to show up. Here’s a message I got from a friend this afternoon:   

Hi Bob —

In the last two years of working in Shanghai, I have never experienced difficulties in using proxy serves to find Internet content. Now, in Beijing for the Olympics, I have been unable to load Web sites of proxy servers such as anonymouse.org. Typing the URL results in a timeout.

A search on Google to find alternative proxy servers initially led to yet another timeout. This was while accessing free wireless Internet in a Beijing coffee shop.

However, while at my temporary Beijing home, I have now been able to search for alternative proxy servers and gain access to sites, like www.cpj.org.

Business people who have a VPN, or virtual private network, are likely to still have free access to information on the Internet.

VPNs are large networks used by corporations, often over wide areas, that offer secure information circuits. For commercial reasons China has not interfered with them—banks, for example, use VPNs to make account transfers and credit card companies rely on them to validate purchases and charge accounts. All types of companies use them for e-mail communication.

So, again, some more mixed evidence of the fallibility of China’s Internet filtering technology. Banned inside the Olympic Village, accessible to some outside. As a final check: I asked some friends inside the Main Pres Center to go to http://anonymouse.org/anonwww.html  and type in http://www.cpj.org/blog/   

 The response? “Well … at least at the moment, anonymouse.org itself is blocked…..”