The Privacy BlogThoughts on privacy, security, and other stuff.

Mar/12

29

Interesting study of message deletion censorship

This article from Threatpost discusses a study out of CMU of Chinese censorship of their home grown social networking websites.

Now that they are blocking most of the western social media sites entirely, the focus of censorship is internal. Obviously blocking the internal sites as well would defeat the purpose, so they are selectively deleting posts instead. This study looks at the rate at which posts with sensitive key words are removed from the services.

It clearly shows how censorship can be taken to the next level when the censor controls the websites as well as the network.

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3 comments

  • Garrison · May 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Lance,

    This is a great article, you are right about censorship being taken to the next level.

    Do you find this censorship in China an invasion of privacy? They are monitoring everything that they do online whether its research or social networking. This article makes me question whether or not they monitor what news gets to the public or if they can hide important foreign affairs completely? It seems that they are already erasing material with names of political activists and other threats to the Communist Party.

    I am currently in a Computer Ethics class at Guilford College and our most recent unit is on Privacy in digital media. We have discussed privacy on the internet and I am just curious of your input.
    Thank you,
    Garrison

  • Author comment by lance · May 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I would absolutely say they are violating their citizens privacy. Activity is monitored. Selected websites are redirected to similar Chinese sites. Certain search terms and websites are blocked entirely.

    All of those activities are logged and could be used against the Internet user.

    The government there also goes to great lengths to prevent or block the use of tools, like Anonymizer, which could be used to restore privacy.

  • Garrison · May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I agree. I think it is absurd to even try to contain a portion of the internet from users. It must cost a good amount of money to be able to maintain monitoring, and for what? To try to stop political activists from spreading?

    It makes me wonder if the people of China are oblivious to it or they just don’t do anything about it (or can’t for that matter). It doesn’t necessarily harm anyone but it is essentially a Big Brother watching your every move.

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