China Doesn’t Like Hot Males

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.

3 Responses

  1. On your email issue… I have a redundancy. It won’t help with the moral question, and may result in more people being able to hand over your emails… but at least you’ll always be able to read them.

    My website is hosted by Dreamhost, who allow email forwarding to multiple addresses. So I forward my emails to a Gmail account but don’t read them there, just on my web domain. Therefore if my website gets blocked, which is extremely unlikely, I can always hop over to Gmail (unlikely they are both blocked at the same time). A trusty friend overseas can always help by relaying a message too. Gmail allows email forwarding, so that could work in reverse too: read at Gmail but forward somewhere else. Don’t know about Hotmail’s options, never used it.

    Tor is a great program, but not _completely_ anomymous. Privoxy helps, but that is not _completely_ anonymous either. As for completely anonymous internets, I’m unwilling to use something like fr33n3t (replace the three with e) on moral grounds that it hosts material which I have no access to and is likely to draw an adverse selection of people interested in such material.

    Alex

  2. In terms of all things web, i think the best advice is to assume that NOTHING you send, surf, or read is completely anonymous. At some point in “the process” somebody can and/or will have access to your data.

    Derek

    P.S. How’s the jogging/water drinking goin?

  3. Yeah… basically, I’m not James Bond. I don’t really care if people read my shit (as shown by posting the intimate details of my rather boring life on here)… but I also don’t like the idea of more and more financial stuff being online, and put directly into the control of said masters of puppets.

    Tor and privoxy is the best solution I’ve come up with thus far. I don’t generally use it to be “annonymous”, but rather just as a way to have undisrupted access to the internet – these days, just to check my e-mail (as Hotmail is again blocked).

    My mom sent me a link to a Toronto Star article about a new technology being developed that seems pretty interesting.

    As for the jogging/water drinking… the jogging has been put on hold. After listening to the advice of a friend who is a trained health teacher, I’m going to take things a bit slower than I had initially wanted to. I’m going to develop good eating/drinking habits first and get moderate exercise (walks at night, etc.) then I’m going to work in the jogging thing. Hopefully doing it this way will not give a shock to my system and cause me to relapse and give up on the whole thing.

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