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« Blog Featured on SportsShooter.com | Main | Beijing, USA: The Changing Face of China »

July 31, 2008

CNN Report: Hotels To Monitor Internet Use

With a little over a week until Opening Ceremony, the spotlight on Beijing is shining brighter than ever. I’ve been cautious on the Web, only posting to this blog through a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection with an IP address in the States. Was it overkill? Apparently not. A CNN article recently confirmed my fears -- that without an encrypted connection, it’s very likely that someone could be watching my every move. According to U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, the government has ordered hotels to spy on their guests, subjecting them to “invasive intelligence gathering”. This report has not yet been independently confirmed.

If you’re traveling to China with sensitive information on your computer, it would be best not to connect your personal computer to the Internet at all. If that’s not an option, only surf the Web through a secure VPN connection. If you don’t have access to a corporate VPN, I’d suggest signing up for a personalVPN from WiTopia before you go to China. Another advantage of using a VPN to surf the Web -- the Great Firewall of China falls down in your own little bubble.


As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, access to this blog, among others, is blocked from within China. If you’re setting up a personal blog before your trip, consider using Blogger.com, which as of now is accessible from Beijing. If you wish to view our Beijing Blog from within China, you’ll need to connect using a VPN or through web-based proxy such as PHProxy. Note that while you can use proxy websites to visit other blocked pages as well, I’m only providing this information so you can access the content on our Beijing Blog. You may also wish to print out relevant posts before you leave for Beijing, so you have a hard copy with you at all times. You’ll find it difficult to make printouts in China, as hotel business centers will often only allow you to print from their own computers.


Thanks for the heads up, Eric and Kyle.


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I created a phproxy website. Check it out and let me know what you think at http://cantgetmy.info - China proxy. I hope that everyone in China can get to the sitees they want!


Very useful

Zach Honig

Aki -- I have yet to have any issues with my VPN... it works all day every day.

Teresa -- if you don't have access to a VPN, I suppose that would be the next best thing. I would avoid it though, unless you have no other choice.


how about free proxies with encryption?

Aki Korhonen

Even if not going to Beijing, the same hotel spying and firewalling can be found in other cities. I've experienced it in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Interestingly they adapt also, with a VPN connection working flawlessly for several days and then suddenly failing all attempts at establishing a connection. Par for a communist country.


I would think that anybody doing any type of thing over the internet would use software to secure their stuff, whether personal or business related. Good post!

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