Center for American Progress

Provide Financial Support for “Hacktivists” in China
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Provide Financial Support for “Hacktivists” in China

Just as the United States supported efforts during the Cold War to break down the Iron Curtain’s control of information flow, principally through use of radio and short-wave, so it should support those private “entrepreneurs” who are trying to open electronic information channels for the average Chinese.

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Internet users in China can often find ways to crack the government’s “firewall”—proxy servers and virtual private networks allow average citizens with basic understanding of the Internet and technology to access information that would be openly available if they were searching from other countries, like the United States or France—but many are not aware of these options or lack either the skill or the patience to utilize them. The United States could fund campaigns to propagate information and tools that facilitate the Chinese people’s access to information that would be publicly available in other countries.

Moreover, skilled “hacktivists” in the United States and elsewhere are constantly inventing software and tactics to make it easier for ordinary Chinese to beat the system. Just as the United States supported efforts during the Cold War to break down the Iron Curtain’s control of information flow, principally through use of radio and short-wave, so it should support those private “entrepreneurs” who are trying to open electronic information channels for the average Chinese, mindful of the dangers that such tools can be employed for nefarious purposes as well.

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