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.