New Version of GreatFire.org

We are very pleased to unveil a new version of GreatFire.org today. Here are some things we've been working on in an effort to improve the web site and to bring transparency to online censorship in China. 

Real Time Testing 

You can now test whether any URL is blocked or restricted in China in real time. Just enter any website in the main search field on the top of this page and click Test Now. Or, when browsing a report on a particular URL, you can request to have it retested immediately by clicking Test Now on its page. This is the first time that real-time monitoring of key words in China has ever been publicly available. Other web sites share information about key words which may have been blocked in the past but which are now unblocked (or vice versa). Our real-time service will allow visitors to the site to monitor blocked key words in relation to breaking news stories in China. Visitors will also gain insight into anomalies that sometimes occur with the Great Firewall including the ability to see if blocked sites like Facebook and Twitter happen to be open in China for short periods of time. 

Percentages 

We now report blocks and restrictions as percentages over the last 30 days. For example, if a URL has been tested 10 times in the last 30 days, and as a result of those tests the connection was reset 5 times and the download speed was slower than 5 kbps 2 times, our report would state that the web site is 50% blocked (5 /10) and 20% otherwise restricted (2 / 10). This means that our reports will be more reliable by providing more information about how exactly these sites are being blocked or throttled. There are frequent glitches in the Great Firewall and the previous version of our website reported only on the latest status of a web site, which could give distorted impressions. 

To qualify as a Website Blocked By The Great Firewall of China or a Search Blocked By The Great Firewall of China a URL has to have been blocked at least 50% in the last 30 days. 

Types of Censorship 

Rather than just reporting a URL as blocked, we now use algorithms to try to deduce the technical type of censorship that is occurring. Current categories are Connection Reset, DNS Poisoning, Redirected To China, Self-Censorship, Throttling and Timed Out. For any given URL, you can click on the days in the calendar to view details on how the URL was determined to be blocked or restricted. More info in our new FAQ

Baidu Self-Censorship 

Last but not least, we now also track Baidu Self-Censorship. We do this by checking for the existence of a self-censorship admission message shown on Baidu for certain sensitive keywords. Please try it out and let us know what you think on info at greatfire dot org or by commenting on this site. Historically, information which appeared about the Great Firewall has focused on what web sites are blocked to users in China, Frequently, this information focused on either popular web sites (like Facebook and Twitter) or on organizations which China has deemed to be detrimental to the people of China. For the first time, we are providing insight into what information is blocked on the biggest search engine in China. Internet users in China for the most part are aware of the fact that large web sites like Facebook are blocked. Our new feature now gives users in China a view on what Chinese keywords are being blocked on Baidu.

We have many more features to add, and you can help us in this process. Please add comments on any page with suggestions on what we can do better or problems we need to fix. Let's work together to bring transparency to online censorship in China.

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Thu, Nov 24, 2016

Facebook: Please, not like this

Facebook is considering launching a censorship tool that would enable the world’s biggest social network to “enter” the China market. Sadly, nobody will be surprised by anything that Mark Zuckerberg decides to do in order to enter the China market. With such low expectations, Facebook is poised to usurp Apple as China’s favorite foreign intelligence gathering partner. If the company launches in China using this strategy they will also successfully erase any bargaining power that other media organizations may hold with the Chinese authorities.

Tue, Jul 05, 2016

GreatFire.org now testing VPN speed and stability in China

There is a commonly held belief in China that if you have a VPN that works then you should keep quiet about it. In terms of freedom of access to information, the problem with this approach is that access to knowledge suddenly is a secret. Today we are launching a project that we hope will destroy that model.

Our newest website, Circumvention Central (CC), aims to provide real-time information and data about circumvention solutions that work in China. Since 2011, we have been collecting data about blocked websites in China and now we will add data about the effectiveness of VPNs and other circumvention tools.

We are launching CC with four main objectives in mind.

Our first objective is to help to grow the number of Chinese who circumvent censorship restrictions in China. By sharing our information and data about these tools, we hope to show a wider audience which circumvention tools are working.

Our second objective is to improve the circumvention experience for users in China by bringing transparency to tool performance. We will measure these tools on speed (how quickly popular websites are loaded) and on stability (the extent to which popular websites load successfully).

Sat, May 07, 2016

The New York Times vs. The Chinese Authorities

Could the New York Times be setting the best path forward for news organizations in China?

Thu, Feb 18, 2016

From the desk of Lu Wei: Apple, encryption and China

Lu Wei, Director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, offers some friendly help to FBI Director James Comey.

Thu, Sep 24, 2015

Apple blocked CNNIC CA months after MITM attacks

In March of this year, Google found unauthorized digital certificates for several Google domains. The root certificate authority for these domains was the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). CNNIC was controlled by the Chinese government through the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and is now under the management of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). CNNIC was recognized by all major browsers as a trusted Certificate Authority. If CNNIC signs a fake certificate used in a man-in-the-middle attack, no browser will warn of any unusual activity unless the certificate is pinned.

After Google found these unauthorized certificates, both Google and Firefox revoked its trust in CNNIC a few days later, a development we at GreatFire.org have adovacting for since 2013. Apple and Microsoft on the other hand, did not revoke their trust in CNNIC, nor did they make any announcements regarding the security compromise.

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Comments

New design is great, i love it. Hope it will help people to know greatfire ! (i've made a site about vpn services in the world: http://www.best-vpn-provider.com )

Best article I've seen so far in this topic!

GreatFire is clearly leading the way in the cat-and-mouse game to escape great firewall of China censorship.

Just one word : PKG, Please Keep Going!!!

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