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The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Once little more than a glorified porn filter, China’s ‘Great Firewall’ has evolved into the most sophisticated system of online censorship in the world. Even as the Chinese internet grows and online businesses thrive, speech is controlled, dissent quashed, and any attempts to organise outside the official Communist Party are quickly stamped out. But the effects of the Gre ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 15th 2019 by Zed Books
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Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An essential and well-researched conversation starter about the future of the internet. The book provides a much-needed context to news headlines from both sides of the discussion. While the main subject of the book is the Chinese hyper-controlled model of the internet that Russia and other censorship loving countries are happily adopting, the author is also critical of the libertarian "information wants to be free" fantasy that feeds tech monopolies at the expense of our privacy. Not a comforta ...more
Horace Derwent
Feb 01, 2020 is currently reading it
on the night of march 16th 2016, at the very first second i registered in GR, i fucking knew that it would go on the trail of youtube, facebook, twitter, google, wiki, etc, in china

on the night of oct 14th 2018, xi achieved

commie motherfuckers!
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A distinctly uncomfortable read and rightfully so. China has become an influencing state to business entities around the globe in institutionalizing Internet filters. With corporations already tailoring our search results based on ad revenues, dissident voices and biases, our consumption to information is already filtered enough. But with China's way of operation, its not just tailoring information that's provided to the consumer but also identifying the consumer in both private and public place ...more
Jonathan Mayweather
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic, deep dive into the internet and human rights in China and how the government under Xi is trying to export their philosophy and technology across the world. Would recommend.
Осенью 2019-го российское медиапространство всколыхнули протесты против строительства мусорного полигона в Шиесе, отдаленном углу Архангельской области. Дабы не сеять паники, власти отрубили местное население от интернета и электричества. Из Москвы блокада выглядела дико, но прецеденты таких действий были, причем особым размахом отличается Китай, в 2009-м, например, оставивший из-за беспорядков без интернета, sms и междугородней телефонной связи 20 млн уйгур почти на год. Операция отключения дли ...more
Stephen Douglas Rowland
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A little disorganized and perhaps a bit too alarmist, but still extremely interesting.
Antonio Gallo
Chi ha paura di Internet? Due libri rispondono alla domanda. Questo da dietro la "muraglia" cinese ed un altro dallo "smartphone" indiano. Leggete il post sul mio blog

Sono in molti ad avere paura della Rete, altrimenti detta Internet, qualcosa di più di una semplice rete. Una “rete di reti”, ossia di un sistema di comunicazione tra reti e sistemi eterogenei, oltre che geograficamente distribuiti.

Se le cose stanno così, non può essere diverso che lo siano anche le reazioni
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
During my several trips to China, and currently living in China, I have always felt extreme frustration about the internet situation here. In South Korea, the internet is blazingly fast and all the apps on my phone work. In China, the "internet" seems to trickle and my entire phone (it's a Google powered Android) seems unresponsive. A VPN does breathe some life back into apps, but for many of them it is but a half-life. Seeing as my new job has brought me here, I sought to understand the history ...more
Scott Tennican
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book is scary but accurate and enlightening. It documents the history of the internet in China, the contemporaneous development of the most sophisticated system of online censorship and social control and, recently, the export of this system to Russia and other authoritarian governments. It is written by a journalist based in Hong Kong in an accessible, entertaining style. But, when it does reference technical details, it does so accurately. I know this because I happen to be the netwo ...more
Collin Lysford
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't let the title fool you - this is more of a general history of internet censorship than a China-specific book. Of course, China features heavily as by far the greatest innovators in internet censorship, but this will take you all around the world as it steps through internet history. And the result is an extremely informative book! I knew vaguely that the Internet was founded with a techno-libertarian bent and centralized control has increased in recent years, but this goes way beyond that ...more
Juno Ng
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book discussed how strict censorship has been widely adopted by authoritarian governments to oppress and destroy civil society. The Internet we have today is very different from what it used to look like 10 years ago before the rise of tech giants. On one hand, leaving the Internet totally free and unregulated would invite tech giants who have only the interest of the their investors in mind to occupy and control this online world; on the other hand, going to the extreme of Chinese way to le ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-challenge
A somewhat biased view, although it offers many solid evidential materials. Most of the interpretations are obviously very "Republican", or out of a "presumption of guilt". I would say the truth is somewhere in between, as always. One of the examples is the partiality of Falun Gong. It's obviously a cult (and way worse than Scientology) if anyone has common sense.

It also brings back a lot of personal memories of early days using Google, how it was banned, and how we find ways to overcome the fi
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well-written, well-researched, entertaining and instructive, however it would benefit from a clearer structure. More fundamentally while the scope here is clearly Chinese censorship, the lack of discussion and/or awareness of the major issues affecting data privacy (and fake news among others) in Western countries makes many of the author's arguments sound hollow and/or biased.

Still a decent read.
Keith Wheeles
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding, thoughtful treatment of the tradeoffs inherent in information freedom vs. censorship. China leads the world in sophisticated censorship technology and practices, which they are exporting to authoritarian regimes. The book was written prior to the success of Tik Tok (which seems to me to be an outstanding move by China to infiltrate the US market in ways that - from a US point of view - are very concerning).
Cathal Donnellan
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
The book started off strong, explaining the early rationale for censorship from a Chinese perspective as well as offering multiple justifications that could help you understand both sides of the divide.

Where James Griffiths falls short is towards the end; he meandered into Russia and Africa, without offering any predictions about where he saw the likely breaking points in the great firewall and where he saw it going.
Carlos Salazar
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well written and researched, this book will guide you through the historic creation of the internet censorship in China and its evolution. It also touches upon the spread of this technology to other countries such as Russia and Uganda and leaves some notes on what to expect in the future. On a particular lense, it is a horror story.
Sebastian Song
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An essential read for all internet users. Know what's at stake for the future of the internet. The hypocrisy of the players and your role.

Singaporeans should read the text carefully for the haunting similarities we share with China.
Michael Brant
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a page turner. Despite being non-fiction. Made all more relevant by the fact that I read it in China, as I was constantly inconvenienced by the Great Firewall (stop trying to ruin my social like PRC - I need my Facebook).
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great cursory information written in a simple format. Communicates the relevant points in a manner that does not require the reader to possess much IT knowledge.
Zoltan Pogatsa
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
More a book about Chinese (and Russian) politics than about the Firewall itself, but a really informative read at that.
Bilal Seo
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i'm a web developer make sure to visit my website for web or app development
click here
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A history of the internet in China, and at the end how the model of internet governance is starting to go abroad.
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May 06, 2019
Katelyn Van
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Erwing Moncada
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