More Internet intrigue in China – Weirdness coming from censorship

Ok, I started to say, yet more Internet weirdness in China, because sometimes it really does feel a bit like taking a trip down the rabbit hole. Forbes has an interesting column on what may be another thrust (or parry, who can keep up?) in efforts to target Virtual Private Network subscriptions that create virtual tunnels around China’s online censors:

“In recent months, administrators of services with encrypted connections designed to allow users secure remote access say they’ve seen strange activity coming from China: When a user from within the country attempts to reach a server abroad, a string of seemingly random data hits the destination computer before he or she can connect, sometimes followed by that user’s communication being mysteriously dropped.

China’s internet service providers may be testing a new system that, rather than merely block IP addresses or certain Web pages, attempts to identify censorship circumvention tools by preceding a user’s connection to an encrypted service with a probe designed to reveal something about what sort of service the user is accessing.”

(The full story can be found by clicking here.)

It all sounds a bit obscure. But bear in mind that China is not only home to one of the world’s most sophisticated web censorship regimes, it is also the largest Internet market in the world. (More than 500 million users as of September, according to a report carried by the state Xinhua newswire.)

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