StrongVPN Launches New Servers

In a continued effort to improve services for all users, StrongVPN has launched new servers in San Francisco, California and Toronto, Canada. The recent Freedom on the Net Report has prompted StrongVPN to make these improvements to improve options for users who need additional protection online.

Freedom House ranked China third after Iran and Cuba on an assessment of Internet restrictions. Their latest Freedom on the Net report tracked the global trends in political freedom and indicated several points that make China rank so high. China’s many Internet companies are regularly given lists of restricted keywords that they use to block blog posts and other content. Chinese ISPs must comply with these restrictions or suffer government crackdowns. An approximated 100,000 people are employed around the clock by the state and private companies to monitor Internet activities and blocks in China.

What Chinese Censorship is Really Like

China’s censorship of the public’s Internet access is a little more elusive than most of us think. The idea behind the blocks is a carry-over from the government crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Internet censorship revolves around the government’s strict control over their idea of social stability, public organization and threats to the political party in power. Citizens can talk about corruption if it’s in relation to some government officials, but they may never speak against the senior leadership. Any call to organize protests or demonstrations is immediately deleted. Preventing online co-ordination of real-world political activity is the main goal of China’s Internet censorship. In severe cases, Internet access is completely cut off for months at a time after protests.

China is using a carrot and stick approach, allowing people to use the Internet for social and commercial activities but completely denying any leeway when it comes to political activism. China has a blog site where people can raise their voices on issues of government accountability and corruption, food safety and air pollution. But they do not allow any comments on the bigger issues, calming the public with a false sense of protest freedoms. Other countries who have made moves to restrict their citizens’ Internet access are following China’s example. The only hope that people in these countries have of campaigning for political change is to use VPN service to free their Internet. Political activism is very dangerous, so the protection that VPN services provide is a necessary part.

Chinese Internet is censored in two major ways. One is the much publicized Great Firewall. This is the system that China put in place in the 1990s that limits Chinese residents’ access to foreign websites. The other is called the Golden Shield. This is the domestic surveillance system that started in 1998 by the Ministry of Public Security. Apart from these two major systems, other government departments and government administrations have separate monitoring systems as well. Under surveillance at all times, it is very difficult for the Chinese people to function normally on the Internet without unblocking and anonymizing tools like VPNs.

Chinese censorship began with a list of foreign human-rights organization websites, Voice of America, and foreign newspapers that were blocked. In the decade since this first attempt at Internet censorship, China’s Internet filters have become much more advanced. Chinese Internet monitors now have the ability to selectively block individual pages within foreign websites. Content results for searches related to specific terms can also be blocked, including instant messages containing those terms. So for example, people in China can use Google, but users who search for banned keywords are temporarily blocked.

The censorship in China is not only about blocking content that the government finds objectionable, however. The government has used their control over the Internet to promote the government. They have employed a special group since 2005 called the 50 Cent Party to post pro-government messages and steer online conversations away from sensitive topics.


StrongVPN Opens Servers to Increase Access to Free Internet

In response to the increasing censorship of the Internet in many countries, StrongVPN announced the launch of a new PPTP/L2TP/SSTP server in San Francisco, California in the first week of August. A week later, they launched two new servers in Toronto, Canada, one OpenVPN server and one PPTP/L2TP/SSTP server. StrongVPN is dedicated to providing Internet users with the tools to keep their Internet open and free. For more information on StrongVPN and their VPN features, please access the details from this page.

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