VPNReviewz Reports That The Great Firewall Of China May Have Just Got Thicker And Taller: Suggestions From The Experts

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For years internet users in China have used VPN technology to skirt the highly restrictive censorship. And it was speculated that the communist government may be experimenting with new technologies to restrict even that. VPNReviewz reports that "upgrades" made to their system are blocking not just "dissidents and illegal content," but legitimate businesses from access, too.

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I have lived in Beijing since 2005, and these have been the most draconian few days of internet restrictions I have experienced.

It’s no real secret that Chinese internet denizens have only limited access to the internet. Social websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Western news sources being among the most commonly blocked sites. It’s also no great secret, that the “Great Firewall,” as the filters are called by many, can be skirted by using internet technologies, like encrypted proxies and VPN connections. But, VPNReviewz CEO Michael Maxstead says, that the Chinese government may have been experimenting with new technologies to enable the Communist government to detect and block these types of connections.

Maxstead says, “It was a only speculation, until recently. Now, there are reports of a few major VPN services, like StrongVPN, being blocked.” There are at least three companies reporting some kind of blockage, and the government has acknowledged that they upgraded the firewall, but the Communist government also assert that the VPN companies are operating outside of their law. In spite of the restrictive access, ABC News reports that the Chinese Ambassador to Britain told the BBC that, “In fact, the Chinese are very much open in terms of the Internet.” He added that China has more internet users than any other country. It has been estimated that around 600 million internet users are Chinese nationals.

But people wanting to “Tweet,” or “like” things aren’t the only ones being blocked. The BBC reports seems to verify the reports coming from the Voice of America that many businesses are being hurt by the bolstered "Great Firewall." Many businesses use the VPN protocols to protect their business transactions, from hackers, rivals, and even government intrusions. VoA interviewed the Chief Editor of the tech monitoring website, “The Next Web,” and he claimed that interruptions in the VPN protocols extend to the corporate services. According to the VPNReviewz CEO, “Many companies will be hurt by this, because their policies restrict the transmission of data of any kind without the advent of an encrypted connection.”

While the new Chinese government may be flexing their technological muscle, VPN services are scrambling to get workarounds. BBC reports that service providers have started scrambling for solutions to the blocks. Some VPN providers are already publishing quick-fix solutions StrongVPN has published a few possible solutions, but in the end, their page suggests, “If the below modifications do not fix your issue, there are other adjustments.” They also say that the user should become familiar with the process of modifying the protocols, and “experiment on your own.” Adding that mods to the protocols, MTUs, and ports, could help resolve the issue, though they are saying that TCP adjustments seem to hold more success than other mods have up until now.

“If this is just a way of showing who’s in charge,” VPNReviewz CEO said, “the added blocking measures aren’t going to help China in their quest to gain ever more businesses to headquarter in Beijing.” BBC reports that it had been hoped that with the recent change in power in China that reforms would loosen the restrictions that existed, rather than tighten the noose. One expert, Bill Bishop, recently commented on DealBook that the Chinese grip on the internet tightening hasn’t been encouraging to the rest of the world. He said, “I have lived in Beijing since 2005, and these have been the most draconian few days of internet restrictions I have experienced.”

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