Haha… of all the sleazy titles to drive traffic to your site…
But yeah, so this last week I’ve been on holiday. It’s the Labour Holiday in China, and as such the people who do the least labour (the rich) get a truckload of time off, while the people who do the most (the poor – and Maggie) get none off. Ah, the logic of this ‘People’s Republic’.
Anyway, I’ve had the whole week off and pretty much have done nadda with it. I’ve gone out a handful of times, but while many people went travelling, I sat in front of my computer working on my new Web site (details soon, I promise).
Something I’ve noticed from these days getting a monitor tan, is the lack of use of Hotmail. Thankfully I could access it this morning, but for the rest of the week it’s been completely unavailable to me without the use of Great Firewall of China breaker Tor. I can’t figure it out, the blockage was sporatic. Not everyone in China couldn’t access it, just a select group. Even here in Dalian there were those that could and those that couldn’t.
Essentially Tor redirects the packets of information you send and receive from web sites through various other servers around the world, so that way neither the site you are visiting nor your ISP (aka. gatekeeper of your connection) know who you are. It’s completely anonymous. This is extremely useful, not as one might assume, so that I can visit the site of groups that the government here deems unfit for my eyes (any ╒a└uиgΘиg sites, the ‘president’ of Taiwan’s homepage, and of course any Chinese-print newspapers not written in Mainland China) but simply so I can visit wikipedia and most recently so I could check my e-mail.
Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but I’ve also noticed that not all my e-mails are coming through. I always get e-mail updates if someone replies to a post on this site, however only about 50% of the notification have reached me. The others have, well, slipped through the holes in the Net.
After reading up on it a little (and I do mean a little, so pardon errors in thought here), but I’m really considering changing e-mail hosts. The more I read the more I realize how the three big Web-based mail companies (MSN’s Hotmail, YahooMail, and Google’s Gmail) are in bed with people who don’t share my interests, but have a share of interest in my information (and yours for that matter). Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Manufacturing Consent, but I get a little ansy knowing how easy it is for them to filter, view, or even just stop what I feel is my right to communication with the outside world.
From Google filtering search results in China, to Yahoo outright helping the PRC arrest dissidents, it all just makes me wonder if we are sitting a little too comfortable thinking that these companies (who have $$ and power as their goals, not public trust or solid ethics) have our interests at heart. We just trust that there’s not some tech. at Microsoft reading our e-mails. Or that they don’t have filtering software in place to search for keywords that them, or someone their in partnership with, deems flaggable.
There are alternatives, Web-based e-mail like Hushmail offers a encrypted e-mail service. But again, it still puts all the trust in a company, that though now small, if one day makes it big, might also play the slight of hand trick with a similar ‘Don’t Be Evil’ corporate motto.
I guess what it boils down to is this – Bill, er. Mr. Gates: if I promise to only write nice letters and stuff to my mom, touting the amazing beauty and unending kindness of China and Chinese culture, can I have access to my e-mail? Please?
What these companies need to ask themselves is what phrase is more appealing:
“Hu Will Love You” or
“Who Will Love You?”
History is the judge, but a Benz is a Benz.