China is now sponsoring advanced
research in how to track down what people do on the Internet, and who they are.
For over a decade, China has bought Internet security and analysis software
from Western firms. China uses all this stuff to monitor the use of the
Internet in China, and to deter Chinese from looking for anti-government
material, or engaging in anti-government activities. China is still a police
state, and the government does not want people reporting corruption, or even
crime or natural disasters. No anti-government discussions either. The
government wants to control the news, and unrestricted use of the Internet
makes it difficult to do that. Now China is reaping benefits from years of
subsidizing Internet security research by Chinese scientists and academics.
One of the new techniques revealed is software that
will search the Internet to identify who is looking for what, and when. China
is looking for "anti-government" behavior. China no longer cares if the
offenders are even Chinese. China is increasingly using its embassies to enlist
local Chinese citizens, or ethnic Chinese (especially if they have kin back in
the old country) to harass, or worse, those who are doing things the Chinese
government finds uncomfortable. The Chinese can also trace who took photos that
are posted on the net. Digital cameras all leave a unique electronic
"fingerprint" that can be identified and traced. China has no trouble getting
most camera manufacturers to cooperate, whether the camera is made in China or
Some of these police state tactics are raising
alarms in Western nations. But the Chinese don't care, and just deny
everything. So far, they are getting away with it.