Wednesday, March 07, 2007

China unblocked

Hey - it must be at least semi automatic.

Earlier today I noticed that this blog was blocked by Chinese firewalls. For a month or so I'd been seeing a build-up of readers from China - who are very welcome indeed - and this had abruptly ended, so I tested the availability via Great Wall of China and I was indeed blocked.

As an afterthought, I added some boilerplate pro-communist rhetoric, aided by my midget-flinging friend, and lo and behold, the block was raised. As at the time of writing I am accessible from within China and this was brought to my notice by a small number of hits from that wonderful country (I dream of visiting China, incidentally, and wish it wasn't a dictatorship. Whoops...).

What does that mean? Any human reader would have noticed that the added bullshit was just that - bullshit - and ignored it. The system is at least semi-automatic. That was my guess, because there are a lot of websites out there.

So now we have a tool for getting past the Chinese firewalls, very similar to that used by spammers who include increasingly sophisticated ballast text to get past bayesian filters. Ta da!

UPDATE: Mao great leader lifelong revolution glorious people's workers ownership community.

UPDATE2: This actually calls for some pedantry. It means that the Chinese firewalls are probably using spiders and heuristic testing of text found on sites. The "probably" comes from the fact that the great wall website may not be perfect (it says so itself). Nonetheless, I went from maybe 20 Chinese hits a day - not a lot, I admit, but with 80% uniques from different cities (assuming the GeoIP stuff for China is accurate) - to zero for three days, to a dozen in the past hour. So it's worth bearing in mind.

No comments: