Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=399920
 
 

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Internet Filtering in China


Jonathan Zittrain


Harvard Law School and Kennedy School; Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Benjamin G. Edelman


Harvard University - HBS Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit


IEEE Internet Computing, March/April 2003

Abstract:     
The authors are collecting data on the methods, scope, and depth of selective barriers to Internet access through Chinese networks. Tests from May 2002 through November 2002 indicate at least four distinct and independently operable methods of Internet filtering, with a documentable leap in filtering sophistication beginning in September 2002. The authors document thousands of sites rendered inaccessible using the most common and longstanding filtering practice. These sites were found through connections to the Internet by telephone dial-up link and through proxy servers in China. Once so connected, the authors attempted to access approximately two hundred thousand web sites. The authors tracked 19,032 web sites that were inaccessible from China on multiple occasions while remaining accessible from the United States. Such sites contained information about news, politics, health, commerce, and entertainment. The authors conclude (1) that the Chinese government maintains an active interest in preventing users from viewing certain web content, both sexually explicit and non-sexually explicit; (2) that it has managed to configure overlapping nationwide systems to effectively - if at times irregularly - block such content from users who do not regularly seek to circumvent such blocking; and (3) that such blocking systems are becoming more refined even as they are likely more labor- and technology-intensive to maintain than cruder predecessors.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: Internet, China, cyberlaw, Asia, filtering, blocking, pornography, government

JEL Classification: C80, C93, H56, K42, O38

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: April 29, 2003  

Suggested Citation

Zittrain, Jonathan and Edelman, Benjamin G., Internet Filtering in China. IEEE Internet Computing, March/April 2003. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=399920 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.399920

Contact Information

Jonathan Zittrain (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School and Kennedy School ( email )
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Benjamin G. Edelman
Harvard University - HBS Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit ( email )
Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States
HOME PAGE: http://people.hbs.edu/bedelman
Feedback to SSRN


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