RealNews

China's Web surveillance slows access even as government promotes Internet use

China’s tens of millions of Internet users are suffering sharp slowdowns in access, which industry experts blame in part on heightened efforts by the communist government to police online content. Some say problems have worsened this week, suggesting Beijing is tightening surveillance during the annual meeting of China’s parliament. The slowdown highlights the clash between China’s efforts to reap the Internet’s benefits and communist zeal to control what its people read and hear. Authorities have invested both in spreading Web access nationwide and installing technology to scan Web sites and e-mail for content deemed subversive or obscene. Problems emerged in October after “packet-sniffer” software was installed that briefly holds each chunk of data to be screened. Beijing has built an online barrier around China, requiring traffic in and out to pass through just eight gateways — a step that heightens official control. Banned topics include human rights and the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual group. Full Story

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