FON & China Both Block Flickr Images

At the end of last week it would seem that China decided to block access to Flickr images. The block is still in place, so most people in China remain unable to access any photos, including their own, hosted on Flickr’s servers. The rest of the world needs to tale note of this type of activity and respond appropriately. Perhaps China should simply be disconnected from the internet until they accept that it must be an all or nothing thing. Selective blocking should not be tolerated.

Then, over the weekend hotspot operator FON also, unintentionally we assume, blocked access to half of the images in Flickr (by breaking the DNS entry for one of the two image servers that Flickr uses to host photos).

Tonight it would seem that FON have once again broken access to half the images (the same half). The details of the break are different, but the end result is the same: farm2 is inaccessible from machines connected through the FON network (either the hotspot side, or the secure personal network that the Fonera boxes provide).

3 thoughts on “FON & China Both Block Flickr Images

  1. I don’t really agree that we can force China (or any country for that matter) to abide by our laws of free speech, freedom of information etc. any more than they’d expect us to abide by ours. In a Utopian world that I’m oh fond of envisaging everyone would abide by the same rules but of course we’re a long way from that.

    But, given that the Internet is built from a community of information providers I think it would be good if Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others who alway cry “we have to abide by their rules” just one day pulled the plug. Then lets see who would be crying… Unfortunately 1.3 billion Chinese consumers represent way too much revenue potential to these guys to start playing hardball with their government – as the Chinese have shown over and over again, they are wonderfully talented in out-playing the USA at such games.

    However there is no reason why individual content providers couldn’t chip in as they see fit, and also boycotting the Google’s, Yahoo’s and the like who refuse to hold China to the same standards we have ourselves. It worked for Barclay’s in South Africa… nothing like a few thousand gallons of pink paint slung over your buildings every few weekends. Of course such activities these days would get you labeled as an econo-terrorist and carted off to Gitmo before you could say “free internet for all!”

  2. I did of course mean to say “any more than they’d expect us to abide by theirs” although what I typed was quite entertaining – America abide by its own constitution? Good grief, what a concept!

  3. The beautiful thing about the internet is that it is not anything to do with the specific laws on free speech or freedom of information in one country. It can be looked on as a single product that comes with a license. Filtering content could be explicitly disallowed by that license. They can choose then whether they abide by the license that covers their use of the connection to the internet, or not use the product at all.

    Oh, and it is not just China that needs this kind of license!

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