Just a heads up that on my weekly tech policy podcast, Surprisingly Free Conversations, we’ve just posted an interview with Ethan Zuckerman of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He recently published an excellent blog post on the limits to internet censorship circumvention technologies, and that’s the topic of our discussion. Ethan writes,
So here’s a provocation: We can’t circumvent our way around internet censorship.
I don’t mean that internet censorship circumvention systems don’t work. They do – our research tested several popular circumvention tools in censored nations and discovered that most can retrieve blocked content from behind the Chinese firewall or a similar system. (There are problems with privacy, data leakage, the rendering of certain types of content, and particularly with usability and performance, but the systems can circumvent censorship.) What I mean is this – we couldn’t afford to scale today’s existing circumvention tools to “liberate” all of China’s internet users even if they all wanted to be liberated.