Security has long been a worry for China. They have had to put up their metaphorical and actual shields in order to defend themselves from Mongolian hordes and insurgencies in the southwest border regions. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has converted this into a virtual firewall, nevertheless, in recent years in order to monitor and isolate its own. No other known intelligence and surveillance operation in the world comes close to the scope and technological advancement of China’s social monitoring programme, known as the Great Firewall (GFW).
Numerous CCP personnel and “contractors” keep a close eye on social media, email, and other forms of communication to spot prospective rebels. They have built a “firewall” that covers more ground than just searching the internet. By combining technological and legislative measures, they eliminate any content that might even slightly influence Chinese citizens’ opinions.
The CCP asserts that the state’s inherent freedom to rule whenever it pleases within its borders gives the state the power to deny the people access to free internet service. The Information Office of the State Council claims that this is a component of the state’s protection in accordance with Chinese sovereignty. The document posted online reads as follows:
“China should be respected and protected. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China and foreign citizens, legal persons and other organizations within Chinese territory have the right and freedom to use the Internet; at the same time, they must obey the laws and regulations of China and conscientiously protect Internet security.”
All incoming internet traffic from any external Internet Service Provider (ISP) is legally required to go via the state-owned ChinaNet. Links to external websites or other external content that offers external news or website contents are not permitted in this content. Some restrictions on this content, including those listed below, cannot be in violation of certain laws.
Making false statements or twisting the truth, dispersing rumours, upsetting social order, or harming the standing of government agencies are all prohibited.
They have employed technological means in addition to the regulatory structure in place to limit the use of online resources. By redirecting the website’s digital “name” to provide an erroneous result, Domain Name Server (DNS) spoofing prevents users from accessing websites.
All of these actions work together to build a digital ecosystem in which the CCP has complete control over all facets of online life. The user’s activities are also closely watched, recorded, and, if necessary, looked into. Inadequate or subpar activity, such as failing to log in frequently, is a warning sign in addition to suspicious activities being scrutinised.
China’s decades-long social surveillance effort is pretty commendable in a vacuum. It is unprecedented in the industrialised world for a government body to have such a firm hold over internet surveillance. Although there will always be people looking for weaknesses in this system, it is doubtful that the rate of growth of this huge firewall will slow down or be stopped in the near future. The sale of this technology to other dictatorial nations in Africa is even more troubling.