Matthew Brennan

Can the Chinese censors funnel almost all internet traffic through government-approved VPN‘s? Yes, says social media expert Matthew Brennan to the Beijinger. The often-heard assumption China cannot afford a fully controlled internet might be wrong, he says. Apple pulling the plug on VPN’s might only be the start.

The Beijinger:

“People who had the app before or people with the ability to switch and download from non-Chinese app store are not affected,” the anonymous proxy source says, before elaborating on a far more grave aspect: “Switching is a pain and only possible with foreign credit cards, which most Chinese won’t have. I mean, it is possible to change stores without a credit card, but that only goes for free apps. The apps that support our proxy are not free.”

Noted tech commentator Matthew Brennan went on to cite even broader concerns. While he has spoken to many experts who insist a complete block of VPNs is impossible – because plenty of talented programmers will always find ways to circumvent such hurdles – the authorities’ greater aggression can’t be dismissed outright.

“Their goal is to make it so it’s impossible to use non-government authorized VPNs,” Brennan says. “On a technical level, several people have told me that’s impossible. But I see it as this: All they really need to achieve is making it very troublesome for normal, non-technical people to use VPN services and they will effectively achieve their goal.”

More in the Beijinger. 

Matthew Brennan is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

Are you looking for more internet experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.


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