Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The PRC vs. Pictures

Just a quick note here: apparently the Chinese government has stepped up its campaign against the photography-sharing site Flickr. While the bandwidth is throttled, and until recently accessing flickr required using a special anti-censorship plug-in to Firefox, it was basically fully usable. Now, however, photographs more than three or four months old are blocked - and not just blocked, but hard-blocked, where even my normal anonymous proxy (and really it's sad that I can use the term "my normal anonymous proxy") Anonymouse, can't view the pictures. Despite the failings, I still recommend Anonymouse, which has a convenient Firefox Plug-In.

While it's not as convenient as Anonymouse, the only real alternative I'm aware of is Tor, which does a better job of getting around the firewall. It allows one to have a look at flickr, or even to check out, say, Wikipedia's Falun Gong page.

One can go to their site and then enter the desired website into the boxes on the bottom right of the page. There's also a Firefox Plug-In that adds a bar to Firefox, with an address box - anonymous browsing is done within this second address box.

Hopefully this flickr censorship won't last forever - a lot of web 2.0 censorship seems to come and go within a week. Regardless, Tor is a very useful tool for accessing websites the government blocks, for whatever reason.

1 comment:

sarapci said...

Dear Jeff,

I found your blog while I was looking thru pictures of Shanghai to be used in my blog.

I wanted to drop a line and tell you that I had a good time reading it and I will provide a link to it from my Shanghai post.