Beware the “Big Red Eye of the East”

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Last month I mentioned a point many IT experts have made about Chinese Internet censorship, that it’s not meant to block all banned content but remind web users that they are being monitored. Researchers from UC Davis and the University of New Mexico announced yesterday they are coming out with a report on that idea (via China Digital Times and the BBC). They say their work, which will be presented at a conference starting in late October, suggests that China’s online censorship is not so much a firewall as it is like a panopticon–a prison where all inmates can be seen but never know when they are being watched. On their blog they say China’s Great Firewall is “more like the Big Red Eye of the East.” Doesn’t sound quite as catchy.