Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

U.S. Launches New Effort to Evade China’s Internet Firewalls

Don't Miss Out —
Follow us on:

May 11 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. State Department plans to spend $19 million to help dissidents bypass Iranian and Chinese Internet censorship, including distribution of new technology dubbed “slingshot” that circumvents firewalls in those countries.

Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, who heads the department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, made the announcement Tuesday in Washington, as U.S. criticism of China’s human rights record overshadowed high-level annual talks between the world’s two largest economies.

The new software uses algorithms to track what users in Iran and China seek to see and are blocked from accessing. Then it would “slingshot” it back around those countries’ firewalls, getting it onto blogs, web sites, or other venues, according to Posner.

“We’re going to be redirecting information back that the government has initially blocked,” Posner said in a telephone briefing.

He noted that China’s conduct on human rights has undergone a “pretty dramatic deterioration” recently. Lawyers, artists and activists have disappeared. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described China’s record on various freedoms as “deplorable” in an Atlantic magazine interview published yesterday.

When Clinton gave a February speech about Internet freedom, the words “Hillary Clinton” disappeared from the web in China, Posner said.

More recently, the words “Egypt” and “Jasmine” -- the nickname given to the revolutionary unrest sweeping the Middle East -- disappeared from Chinese web searches. Social networking sites such as Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google Inc. have been central in organizing protests in the region.

The $19 million represents the last of $30 million in funding the State Department was given in fiscal year 2010 for Internet-related projects. Posner said the $20 million that Congress allotted the department for the current fiscal year will be spent quickly.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Gaouette in Washington at ngaouette@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.