Feeds

China challenged to take down ALL of AWS and Google

Greatfire.org leaps great firewall by mirroring Reuters in AWS and Google

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Non-profit anti-censorship body GreatFire.org has created a mirrored site that allows users in China to view the recently blocked Reuters site, in a move which could take down thousands of websites in the PRC if the authorities decide to play hardball.

Reuters China and the local language version of the Wall Street Journal were blocked by the Great Firewall last week in another sign of the Communist Party’s increasingly tough stance on censorship.

However, perpetual thorn-in-the-side of Beijing, GreatFire.org, has now mirrored the Reuters site using Amazon Web Services, therefore allowing users to view it without the need for circumvention tools like VPNs which it said can require “technical savvy” to set up.

It used the same technique to mirror its FreeWeibo.com site which helps micro-bloggers recover censored weibo posts, co-founder Charlie Smith wrote in a blog post.

That mirrored site, for the record, uses both AWS and Google.

Blocking the relevant domains, Smith continued, would create a significant backlash of the kind seen when the authorities blocked Github:

With our new mirror sites, the GFW cannot block FreeWeibo.com any longer without causing significant collateral damage which would also cause significant economic fallout in China.

Our mirror sites are unique because rather than using our own domains, we use a subpath of Amazon and Google’s domains which support HTTPS access. This means that GFW cannot block our mirror websites without blocking the domain of Amazon or Google entirely, namely “s3.amazonaws.com” and “commondatastorage.googleapis.com”.

The idea here, as Open Internet Tools Project concluded in a recent report, to make “crucial business activity inseparable from internet freedom”.

In this way, China faces a choice: take down Amazon and Google domains and the thousands of Chinese sites that rely on them, put pressure on the web giants to block GreatFire.org’s mirrored sites willingly, or do nothing.

As long as we’re just talking about a handful of mirrored sites here it’s unlikely that Beijing will go for the nuclear option, but as always it’s a numbers game. If site mirroring becomes a popular method of bypassing the Great Firewall, and if netizens in greater numbers flock to such sites, AWS and Google may find themselves both on the wrong side of an uncompromising line in the sand. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.