Deciphering Chinese Censorship: Introducing CensorScout and the Weibo Censorship Dashboard

17 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2018

See all articles by Jeffrey Shen

Jeffrey Shen

Phillips Academy Andover

Robert Miles McCain

Phillips Academy Andover

Date Written: October 14, 2018

Abstract

We present CensorScout and the Weibo Censorship Dashboard, two pilot applications that make several steps toward increased transparency into censorship on Weibo and provide valuable — albeit limited — information regarding the state of Chinese Internet censorship. In doing so, we also introduce an open-source system that bypasses Weibo’s stringent authentication and authorization requirements and allows the collection of Weibo data en masse. We begin this paper by outlining the history of censorship in China both before and after the introduction of the Internet. Drawing from our own research and that of others, we then present an overview of censorship on Weibo and explain how to circumvent many of its anti-transparency measures at a technical level.

Keywords: China, Censorship, Weibo, Transparency, Internet, Open-Source

Suggested Citation

Shen, Jeffrey and McCain, Robert Miles, Deciphering Chinese Censorship: Introducing CensorScout and the Weibo Censorship Dashboard (October 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3266193 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3266193

Jeffrey Shen

Phillips Academy Andover ( email )

180 Main Street
Andover, MA 01810
United States

Robert Miles McCain (Contact Author)

Phillips Academy Andover ( email )

180 Main Street
Andover, MA 01810
United States

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