China has begun reinforcing its infamous firewall with new tech designed to prevent encrypted communication.
To prevent the more enterprising citizens of China from exploiting holes in the country's firewall through the use of virtual private networks and circumventors, the Chinese government is using new technology to block encryption, according to The Guardian.
The publication reports that both consumers and businesses are being hit by the new Internet barrier, which is able to "learn, discover and block" encrypted channels provided by VPN companies. According to one company that has a customer base in the Asian country, one of the largest telecom providers in the area, China Unicorn, is now automatically killing connections to the Internet when a virtual private network is detected.
For Chinese residents, this could mean that access to Western reading material and Web sites, including social networks, could become even harder to access. By using Blockedinchina.net, you can see which sites are currently inaccessible through standard Internet access -- and this includes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube -- which may contain content that goes against China's policies or ethos.
Companies that run a VPN business that reaches out to a Chinese audience must register with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, according to The Global Times. In addition, only Chinese companies and Sino-foreign joint ventures are allowed to apply to begin a VPN business in China, possibly due to registration regulations which keep the "Great Firewall of China" operating properly.
The alleged VPN-detection and blocking technology will not only hit audiences that want to access social networks, but will also affect businesses. One executive at a multinational tech firm in China told the publication:
You can't block all VPNs without blocking businesses, including Chinese businesses. China wants businesses to put regional headquarters in China. It has these economic and business goals that are reliant on modern business infrastructure.