2003-04-28 – Chinese/Japanese censorship

Strange really. The Great Firewall of China is probably on the top ten list of things that people have heard about as issues on the internet. The Chinese government has for years had thousands of people vetting exactly which websites and people those inside the firewall are allowed to see and email. Many people have decried it, and many have developed work-arounds and hacks, and even DoS attacks (DOS attack – installing v.8 onto an otherwise functional PC and ensuring Windows isn’t there to help it!) to try to take the system down.

Recently I read about an interesting development in Japan, where pretty much even Yakuza has access to a gun, but rarely needs it, since only the police (and whatever army they have) are there as armed opposition, and the big criminals also help run the companies and the government. Since all guns are banned, and they have hundreds of laws to \”stop\” it, I was amused to hear that they are passing another law, to ban sales via the internet! Yes, a banned item, tightly controlled and enforced customs regulations, the officially best police force in the world, etc. and they are wasting the paper of many trees to specifically ban trading them over the internet! Can anyone see that working? Or, indeed, making any difference at all?

I can see a simple way around it, though. Japan has the highest number of WAP-style phones, and photo messaging has taken off in a big way, so surely there is no point in posting your wares on-line at all! Simply phone the vendor, and ask, then have him send you a photo-phone snap of the article you wish to procure. This will be with you in moments, then you send a text to confirm what you just discussed, and to meet at 9pm. How on earth could anyone tell what was being traded without having a human look at the picture? And you no longer have the danger of Google finding your dubious site and letting the world know what you are up to!

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