Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, December 4, 1998 Published at 17:03 GMT


World: Asia-Pacific

Dissent on the Internet

In China, a man is on trial for distributing e-mail addresses

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall

The trial in China of a man accused of using the Internet to try to overthrow the government represents the latest attempt by states to try to control use of the medium.


[ image:  ]
Asian countries in particular have viewed the Internet as a threat to their national security, with its ability to organise protest movements by linking together dissidents at home and abroad.

A leading Internet campaigner once said that the worldwide network of computers interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

This is the problem for governments trying to control the spread of information they feel undermines them.

There are many ways of getting it out over the Internet. China has tried to control access to Websites outside the country by routing Internet access through government controlled computers in Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai.


[ image: The state is controlling access to information]
The state is controlling access to information
This way it can block access to sites it feels are subversive. But users can get around this by dialling an Internet service provider outside the country.

The current trial concerns E-mail, which is harder to control than Websites. It is not easily monitored, can be sent anonymously and in a coded format which can be next to impossible to crack.

A powerful form of E-mail is a posting made to a news group - a kind of electronic bulletin board.


[ image: India blamed Pakistan for hacking into the army's Kashmir pages]
India blamed Pakistan for hacking into the army's Kashmir pages
In September, the Malaysian authorities put on trial four people accused of causing unrest after messages were posted reporting possible riots.

Perhaps the cleverest and most effective way of showing dissent on the Internet is to break into official government Websites, as a new generation of political hackers are finding out.

In October, the Chinese authorities discovered that a site they had just launched defending their human rights record had been replaced by a hacker who put up a page denouncing it as propaganda and linking visitors to the Amnesty International Website.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

04 Dec 98 | Asia-Pacific
China's cyber trial closes

16 Oct 98 | South Asia
Indian army Website ambushed

25 Oct 98 | Monitoring
War of words on the Internet

23 Oct 98 | Sci/Tech
Net warfare over Kosovo





Internet Links


The Centre for Democracy and Technology

Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Censorship Archive


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Indonesia rules out Aceh independence

DiCaprio film trial begins

Millennium sect heads for the hills

Uzbekistan voices security concerns

From Business
Chinese imports boost US trade gap

ICRC visits twelve Burmese jails

Falintil guerillas challenge East Timor peackeepers

Malaysian candidates named

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Holbrooke to arrive in Indonesia

China warns US over Falun Gong

Thais hand back Cambodian antiques