Sunday, March 16, 2008

China Blocks YouTube

So the story on BoingBoing today is huge. I had heard the news through the Facebook RSS grapevine and an old high school classmate's status feed.

China has blocked YouTube due to religious issues or what not and generally being the big bully, turning a cold shoulder against Tibet and YouTube lovers in China are also suffering.

Not such a smart move right before the Beijing Olympics creeping up in August.

1 comment:

Andrew Galbraith said...

I think what most people agree is that it's surprising China didn't block YouTube earlier. The government really doesn't like this sort of user-generated content, especially when it's located on servers outside of the government's control. Blogspot is another example — it's been blocked in China for a long time.

For me, the blocking of YouTube pushed me to invest in a VPN from WiTopia. Now, I have totally unblocked access to everything. That includes even the BBC, which has long been the gold standard for site-blockings: most web-based proxies let you get to sites like Wikipedia and Blogspot, but the BBC remained off-limits.

As for China's blocking policy, I'm worried that it will do two things:

1) It will create a class system on the internet, separating people who have the money to buy VPNs in foreign countries, or the technical know-how to get around blocks with web proxies and programs, from the poor and less technically inclined. Already, many foreign companies operating in China use VPNs so their data can get into and out of China with minimal fuss.

2) It will make finding anything the government doesn't want you to look at so frustrating that people will just not bother. Before I got the VPN, for instance, I had given up on the BBC. While it had information that I really wanted to read, it was just too much of a pain to access. I'm not worried about people not being able to get to information so much as them giving up looking for that information.