China’s Quiet Experiment Let Millions View Long-Banned Websites

High End Data Cables Feed Into Servers

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

In a quiet experiment of just two weeks, China provided millions of people access to long-forbidden foreign websites like YouTube and Instagram. The trial appears to signal the Communist government is moving toward giving the country’s citizens greater access to the global internet — while still attempting to control who sees what.

The Tuber browser-app, backed by government-linked 360 Security Technology Inc., appeared without fanfare late September and offered for the first time in years a way to view long-banned websites from Facebook Inc. to Google and the New York Times, albeit sanitized versions. Chinese users rejoiced in a newfound ability to directly peruse long-blocked content from a mobile browser without an illegal virtual private network or VPN.

The browser, carried on app stores run by Huawei Technologies Co. among others, suggests Beijing is testing ways to let its 904 million internet users into once-prohibited zones. While Tuber bore the hallmarks of state-style censorship and got pulled without explanation Saturday, it’s Beijing’s most significant experiment in years with greater internet freedoms.

State-sanctioned apps like Tuber offer a possible compromise — a controlled environment in which activity can be tracked and content screened, while allowing academics, corporations and citizens to exchange information. It addresses a complaint among corporations local and foreign that need to access everything from financial data to critical software tools from abroad.

“This latest development with Tuber is interesting because it could be seen as more openness,” said Fergus Ryan, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “But the way that it would actually work would mean that people who use it would be highly surveilled and the information that they are able to access via this platform is filtered by the censorship apparatus.”

Read more: Chinese App Helps Users Bypass

Why Can’t I Entry Sure Websites With Vista?

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New ASX website’s epic fail

The new Australian Securities Exchange website has made a chaotic debut – freezing, crashing and failing to show company announcements – prompting market watchers to vent spleen on social media.

The site has a sleeker look than the old one but has far less at-a-glance market data on its home page, with the standard ASX 200 prices list seemingly axed.

A company spokesman recommended users set up their own personal watchlist instead.

As the trading session opened, the bourse tweeted: “ASX announcements are currently not displaying on the ASX website. All company announcements are available to view via brokers and news agencies.”

“Huge fail for the @ASX,” @eadatt tweeted.

@SmallCapEagle labelled the new website “atrocious” and implored: “Kindly put the old one back.”

“The new website is a disaster! One can no longer easily see that there is a company announcement relevant to a particular security on their watchlist, there are no longer ‘sector comparisons’ on the page of a particular security, the feedback page or investors page won’t open …” @cnboston wrote.

Another user wrote: “Where is the multiple price search on the new website? Can anyone point me in the right direction? Help!”

Shareholder activist Stephen Mayne was also critical.

“The old ASX website had an archive of every listed company announcement back to 1998 – the new version launched over the weekend starts at 2016. Let’s hope they fix this – fast,” he wrote.

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Google Cloud kicks out Proud Boys websites

Proud Boys

Image: ZDNet

Proud Boys, a far-right neo-fascist extremist group, has been kicked off Google Cloud on Thursday, and the organization has had to move its official website and online store to a new web host.

Google’s decision came after intense lobbying from Color Of Change, one of the largest racial justice organizations in the US.

“Google’s recent actions to block the Proud Boys website and online store is a welcome response to persistent demands from Color Of Change and our allies,” said Color of Change President Rashad Robinson.

“Following years of pressure, the company successfully got a Google Cloud Services customer hosting the Proud Boys’ website to remove the violent hate group’s online pages. This progress is important, but now we call on Google’s peers to follow suit.”

But the Proud Boys websites haven’t been offline for long. The official site and online store were moved to a new web host on Thursday.

According to data from RiskIQ’s Passive Total platform, the group’s websites are now hosted by German web hosting provider 1&1 IONOS.

proudboys-ips.png

Image: ZDNet

A Google spokesperson did not return a request for comment seeking additional information on its move this week.

Google is just the latest tech company to wash its hands of the group.

Proud Boys have been a pariah among tech companies since the summer of 2018, when the group planned to organize a new Unite the Right rally in Washington, DC. A year prior, in June 2017, a woman was killed at the Unite the Right in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Twitter banned Proud Boys accounts in August 2018; followed by Facebook in October. PayPal also canceled Proud Boys accounts in February 2019.

The FBI designated Proud Boys as an extremist group due to their far-right agenda, inclination to use violence, and support for white supremacy.

Websites down at several Pa. agencies because of computer problems

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