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It's harder to hide behind a fluffy image when you're collaborating with a government that rules by fear and takes active steps (via private companies) to control what you're allowed to see. By doing so they hope to be able to control what you think.
Evidently failed in your case :)
Must be doing some blocking here in the states too, as I have been completely unable to access google for about a week
That isn't normal. You should check your computer for adware and spyware. Some spyware blocks access to major sites like Google.
You could also try downloading JAP, a Java based anonymizer tool. You can make it look like you're in Europe quite easily.
I know you probably will do anything to get in a dig at google, or help people defeat their procedures, but before you give this kind of advice, has it occurred to you that the Chinese government may interpret the use of such tools as criminal?
here's my understanding of the current situation:
- The Chinese government does "something" to slow access to the main google.com site. They do not block it, but do something to make access slower. I don't know exactly what they do, as the article I read was non-technical. The article did mention that there are ways around this, but wasn't specific. They did mention that, currently, the vast majority (99%) of Chinese Google users access google.com, despite the slower access, rather than google.cn.
- For a brief period (last week?) the Chinese government did block access to google.com completely. There was some acknowledgement of this and that is was "a mistake" or some-such. (This is from another uncited article. Sorry if my recollection on this is incorrect.)
...before you give this kind of advice, has it occurred to you that the Chinese government may interpret the use of such tools as criminal?
I'm not his mother. If he is being sent to a .cn domain because of autodetect of his geographical location the software will mask this. There's documentation on the site covering what you've talked about. Making someone aware of a potentially useful piece of software (that's easy to uninstall) is perfectly reasonable. If you're asking me to think for him, why would I? I'm sure he's got a better grasp of what constitutes criminal behaviour in China than either of us.
I know you probably will do anything to get in a dig at google, or help people defeat their procedures...
I'm very flattered you think I can help people beat Google's "procedures", but the procedure in question is probably based on autodetect code - and it ain't rocket science. There are many anonymizer type products out there that help with this very problem, many of them open source with plenty of documentation so you know what you're up to.
And the issue in question is probably more to do with the Chinese govs "procedures" than Google's, after all, they're just doing what they're told by their communist masters. If the guy wants to use google.com and something is preventing him then I'm happy to offer advice. He's free to ignore it.