back to article Russia, China vow to kill off VPNs, Tor browser

Russia and China are banning the use of virtual private networks, as their governments assert ever greater control over what citizens can see online. In Russia, the State Duma – the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (legislature) – unanimously adopted the first reading of new legislation that would ban the use of …

  1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Coming soon to the UK...

    ... all this same shit.

    1. Only me!
      Facepalm

      Re: Coming soon to the UK...

      It is really important that we protect our citizens.......nice to see the next UK and USA laws are been written by Russia and China.....three cheers for our glorious leaders!

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Coming soon to the UK...

      Replace UK with US and you'll find we're all headed down that path to the cesspool.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Coming soon to the UK...

      Too late - if you read the fine print of various agencies Blighty already effectively has this shit

      1. Tom 64
        Pint

        Re: Coming soon to the UK...

        Prime Minister Corbyn will sort all this nonsense out. ;)

        1. Velv Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Coming soon to the UK...

          "Prime Minister Corbyn will sort all this nonsense out. ;)"

          HA HA HA HA HA HA

          If you think any of the major parties are going to disassemble anything that's already in place then you're seriously delusional. Can I just remind you of Labour's National Identity Card...

          1. Afernie

            Re: Coming soon to the UK...

            ""Prime Minister Corbyn will sort all this nonsense out. ;)"

            HA HA HA HA HA HA

            If you think any of the major parties are going to disassemble anything that's already in place then you're seriously delusional. Can I just remind you of Labour's National Identity Card..."

            Actually, whatever his other faults may be, Corbyn opposed ID cards, saying they "will not solve crime, fraud or terrorism":

            https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10133/jeremy_corbyn/islington_north/divisions?policy=1051

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Coming soon to the UK...

          "Prime Minister Corbyn"

          He lost. You are Diane Abbott and can't count and I claim my £5...

      2. phuzz Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Coming soon to the UK...

        "if you read the fine print of various agencies Blighty already effectively has this shit"

        Apart from the bit about having to get a license for my VPN to my job, which is literally what both those pieces of legislation are about.

        I'm pretty sure I missed Tor being banned as well, but hey, now that you've informed us all AC, we can stop bothering to fight any new legislation the government might come up with and just lie back I suppose eh?

        (There is of course part of the GSM spec allowing messages to be sent to all users on a tower already, so that bit is indeed with us in blighty.)

    4. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Gee, what a surprise

      "Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?" - Joseph Stalin

    5. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Coming soon to the UK...

      How exactly are they going to block VPNs? SSL and IPSEC would be indistinguishable from other encrypted traffic. And if they try to bock servers, they will just loose a large game of whack-a-mole...

      1. Nol

        Re: Coming soon to the UK...

        Err... probably the way they already do it in Xinjiang province.

        They detect that you are using a VPN - they cut off your phone and associated internet account until you visit the police to request that it is switched back on.

        - simples....

        http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/china-cuts-phone-service-xinjiang-citizens-using-whatsapp-vpns-1530266

        https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/24/business/international/china-cuts-mobile-service-of-xinjiang-residents-evading-internet-filters.html?mcubz=1

  2. Mark 110

    I was wondering . . .

    I was wondering when this was coming. I wondering in terms of UK Anti Terrorism policy. Given that blocking encryption is impossible the next obvious step is to to mandate restrictions on packets on whom the identity of the sender/receiver is hidden from the authorities. I think that's technically possible given my knowledge of how the internet and ISPs work (please correct me?).

    I imagine thats how things will go here once someone teaches the Amber Rudds of this world they are never going to be able to break crypto but can (legislate that the ISPs must) block anonymous networks.

    1. collinsl

      Re: I was wondering . . .

      > mandate restrictions on packets on whom the identity of the sender/receiver is hidden from the authorities. I think that's technically possible given my knowledge of how the internet and ISPs work (please correct me?).

      Fortunately that is not entirely correct - the ISP may well keep logs of who your household is by recording which IP address your internet connection has been allocated, but they can't trace where it goes on your internal network, so if you live in a student house for example it could have been from any one of the 8 residents.

      They also aren't required to log who the other end is, and under the rules of IP address registration the other end may or may not be recorded.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: I was wondering . . .

        "... they can't trace where it goes on your internal network, so if you live in a student house for example it could have been from any one of the 8 residents".

        That's OK. I am sure there is plenty of room in Belmarsh.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: I was wondering . . .

        Why not? Most people use ISP-provided routers.

        1. kmac499

          Re: I was wondering . . .

          I think IPv6 will 'fix' this, As I understand it with an infinity of addresses NAT could be athing of the past.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Alexander Bortnikov, gave an hour-long talk to Duma deputies in a closed meeting, in which he said how important it was that the law was passed and passed quickly. "

    A bit like a Conservative 1922 backbench committee meeting then, only possibly with more Po-210 and fewer knives.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "A bit like a Conservative 1922 backbench committee"

      I think Conservative frontbenchers sometimes count the 1922 committee as terrorists. They don't have to spy on them, however; they'll find out what the committee's thinking pretty quickly.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Will The UK Follow Their Lead ???

      Not going to happen in the "western" world. Way too many large companies depend on VPN for things very important to their operations. I highly doubt western companies would allow "their" government to implement such VPN bans.

      1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

        @imanidiot

        imanidiot: "I want to use a VPN"

        Gubmint: "Certainly Sir, just download the forms from the dot gov website, fill them in stating why you need a VPN and return the forms (by post) with your cheque for 10,000 UKP"

        imanidiot: "Ten thousand pounds! That's ridiculous!11!!!!"

        Gubmint: "It's to cover our costs, just pass the cost onto your consumers, it's a level playing field, your competitors have to do the same."

      2. Eugene Crosser

        Re: Will The UK Follow Their Lead ???

        > I highly doubt western companies would allow "their" government to implement such VPN bans.

        Note that that rules are designed to not harm businesses, western or Russian: they can implement censorship and then it is OK to use the VPN.

        Still seems pretty difficult (read: impossible) to enforce such a rule as long as VPN servers can be hosted at big cloud providers' infrastructure.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Will The UK Follow Their Lead ???

        Does the Chinese government realise there are such things as VPNs which carry server to server connections?

        You can't just rip them out.

  5. J.Smith

    A rare instance where Russia-bashing is actually warranted.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Dunno about rare...Putin and his cronies are a pretty nasty bunch, prone to invading neighbouring countries and stuff like that.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        @me

        Wow - 5 down votes (so far) - didn't realise we had so many Petrogradian Putin puppets on El Reg!

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Simple explanation

          Russia has not "invaded" any country since 1991. (Before that it was part of the USSR, which was a completely different kettle of fish).

          To anticipate your probable thoughts:

          1. Georgia. The Georgians attacked two small disputed areas with mainly Russian populations. The Russians responded quickly, defeated the Georgians and their allies, threw them right back, then returned inside Russia just as fast as they had come.

          http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/new-report-on-russia-georgia-war-eu-investigators-debunk-saakashvili-s-lies-a-652512.html

          2. Ukraine. Already explained in previous threads, but briefly there was a violent revolution which imposed an illegal junta in Kiev (Poroshenko has publicly admitted as much). The junta has been attacking its own citizens in Donbas for three years, killing over 10,000 of them, but has been unable to break their resistance. Russia may have given them aid, but no Russian troops have invaded Ukraine. If they had, they would have taken over control of Kiev within a day or two.

          3. Crimea. Probably Crimea has always been legally part of Russia, as it was not included when Ukrainian politicians declared UDI from the USSR in 1991. In any case, 90% of the population voted to rejoin Russia.

          http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/02/08/how-ukraine-annexed-crimea-frank-conversation-with-nikki-haley.html

          http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/03/28/so-who-annexed-crimea-peninsular-then.html

          4. Baltics. No case to answer. Russia has neither invaded nor threatened to invade any of them.

          5. Syria. Russia is legally present in Syria, at the formal request of the legitimate government (which is recognised by the UN and all the nations of the world including the USA and Israel). The USA and its allies are illegally present in Syria, but that's another story.

          1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Re: Simple explanation

            @ArchTech

            1. Georgia. The Georgians attacked two small disputed areas with mainly Russian populations.

            1939: Germany attacks one small area (the Sudetenland) with mainly German populations.

            2. Ukraine - no Russian troops in Ukraine. Yeah, right. Explain that to the families of the passengers on MH17, and the families of the Russian troops killed in Ukraine.

            3. Oh please! Crimea was de-facto and de-jure part of the Ukraine. Forget what it had 'always' been. If countries have territorial disputes they negotiate, they don't invade. Should England invade Calais, Burgundy and Ireland because they had 'always' been English?

            4. The Baltics. you omitted 'yet'.

            1. Archtech Silver badge

              Re: Simple explanation

              Your reference to the Sudetenland is inexplicable. Surely you know that the German invasion of Czechoslovakia was almost exactly the opposite of the Russian operation in Georgia? The Germans came and stayed until they were thrown out by the USSR and partisans in 1944-5. They conquered Czechoslovakia and occupied it for six years (apart from the section given to Hungary). The Russians were in and out within a week. Moreover, you have (rather amusingly) compared the Georgian attacks with those of Nazi Germany, revealing your appreciation that the Georgians, like the Nazis, were the aggressors.

              Did you read the article I cited, describing how the EU inquiry determined that the trouble was entirely the fault of Georgia?

              MH17 has nothing to do with it. It was certainly not destroyed by Russia or Russians. Most likely it was shot down by the Kiev forces, either as part of a false flag operation or - most likely - through sheer incompetence. Some Russians may have been killed defending Donbas, just as some British and Americans were killed defending the Spanish government in the Spanish Civil War.

              I do not accept your legal standing to tell us that "Crimea was de-facto and de-jure part of the Ukraine". Indeed, until 1991 there was never, throughout history, such a nation as "Ukraine". (The word actually means "border", just like "Mark" in German). You claim that "if countries have territorial disputes they negotiate, they don't invade". So why did the new state of Ukraine (of dubious legality) annexe Crimea in 1991, without consulting its citizens or even its political representatives?

              Incidentally, can you tell us how many countries the USA and the UK have invaded - with extreme violence and the infliction of millions of deaths - since 1991? Here's a clue: more than a dozen.

              "The Baltics. you omitted 'yet'". Oh, so now you are telling us what the future holds? Of course, that game can always be drawn out. If Russia has not invaded the Baltics by the year 2200, you could still say "you omitted 'yet'".

              1. imanidiot Silver badge

                Re: Simple explanation

                MH17 has nothing to do with it. It was certainly not destroyed by Russia or Russians. Most likely it was shot down by the Kiev forces, either as part of a false flag operation or - most likely - through sheer incompetence.

                Is that why a Russian BUK system belonging to a Russian army unit (Buk 332 from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (military unit 32406)) was photographed and seen moving through the area the missile was fired from and then seen being hauled away minus one missile towards Russia the night after the plane came down? Was it actually operated by Russian army personel? Who knows, maybe it was Ukrainian separatists/rebels/terrorists* supported by Russia. But BUK 332 was provably in Russia weeks before the downing of MH-17 and was provably in Russia again soon after (and still is). All evidence currently available points to it being the ONLY operational BUK in the area, points to being moved there by Ukrainian separatists/rebels/terrorists* from the Donetsk region (Russia) the day before, and points to it being moved in a panic back to Russia right after the it became clear they shot down a passenger plane instead of a the military jet they thought it was. There are pictures of the smoketrail pinpointing the launch site to be in a field on top of a hill in separatists/rebels/terrorists* controlled territory. There are phone calls recorded where clear references are being made to orders coming from Moscow. There is evidence the Ukrainian BUK systems in the area had all been disabled already to prevent them being captured operational by the separatists/rebels/terrorists* . No other Ukrainian "government" (if one can call it that at the time) BUK systems are known to have been in the area at the time. THERE IS VERY CLEAR EVIDENCE RUSSIA WAS INVOLVED!

                *Strike through as applicable

                All this information is available. Just take a look at: https://www.bellingcat.com/tag/mh17/. They cite sources if possible and have plenty of photographic evidence. Russia might not have pulled the trigger, but they certainly provided an unstable weapon with a twitchy trigger to a group certain to use it.

                1. TheVogon Silver badge

                  Re: Simple explanation

                  "Was it actually operated by Russian army personel? Who knows, maybe it was Ukrainian separatists/rebels/terrorists*"

                  Extensive training and experienced crew members are required to operate such a BUK system. It's not something you can just pass to the locals and have them press a button...

          2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Simple explanation

            Russia has not "invaded" any country since 1991.

            Do you perform stand up as well? Tell us another one!

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Simple explanation

            "3. Crimea. Probably Crimea has always been legally part of Russia, as it was not included when Ukrainian politicians declared UDI from the USSR in 1991.

            Nope. Crimea is part of the Ukraine - as was previously acknowledged several times in international agreements by Russia. And it was included - as part of Ukraine. So it was an invasion and an illegal annexation.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    meanwhile in advanced Western democracies..

    we're heading in exactly the same direction. Because terrorists, and stuff.

    p.s. I wonder what bogeyman they'll find once encryption and vpn are made illegal, and yet, those pesky terrorists, keep terrorising the terrorised sheep...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: meanwhile in advanced Western democracies..

      Heading?

      We are already there. I suggest you give the IPA a careful reading.

    2. Aoyagi Aichou
      Trollface

      Re: meanwhile in advanced Western democracies..

      But terrorism won't change our ways of life!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fear

    Let's talk about fear.

    Fear has been about since time began, whether it's fear of getting eaten by a pack of wolves or turned into a newt by a witch.

    I usually look at these stories from the angle of a dystopian totalitarian world where were all slaves however I'm thinking of a different angle.

    I'll take our government as an example as were not far behind the Chinese or Russians on this.

    Rough numbers,

    Current Population: 65.14 Million

    Police: 124,066

    Army: 78,407

    London Riots 2011, A killing by the police sent large numbers into riot mode using social media and communications.

    I believe this accelerated the governments will to control the internet because as we see with "trending" stories all it takes is one story to tip enough people over the edge and it's chaos all round and when you look at the numbers I quoted if enough people get involved it's game over for society.

    So this leaves us with the Chinese and the Russians in that there will have been a meeting where it was discussed and leaving things as they are is not an option so expect this to hit us at some point. This I also believe is why the "terrorist" agenda is being used as a front to usurp our freedoms.

    Rather than try to be a better government or country that looks out for the interests of it's people the easier way is to censor the f*ck out of the one thing that can stop you exploiting them.

    Lovely planet really.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Fear

      "Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

      BTW, the relative or absolute number of police and army isn't a cause for concern as such - provided they are still on the right side and have to play by reasonable rules.

      Given the present political climate though, there seems to be trouble ahead at that end.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. IanTP
      Coat

      Re: Fear

      But Mostly Harmless....

      Mines the one with the Guide in the pocket.

    3. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Fear

      "Lovely planet really".

      I agree with your sentiment. However I think this expresses it rather more precisely:

      "Though every great prospect pleases/And only man is vile".

      https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Reginald_Heber

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

    When govs around the world start tightening the screws, it's time to resist by exercising our fundamental right to communicate unhindered. VPNs and dark nets are an ongoing struggle, but to bypass centralised control people need a Real Private Network. Wired and radio networks can be detected and intercepted, so it must use encrypted, high speed line-of-sight connections that can easily form into a large ad-hoc network.

    Is it feasible to develop a communications device that is visibly discrete, can be easily setup (or is signal-homing once directed approximately), can connect to multiple nodes, detects if a previously-established/trusted connection has been intercepted, and can present the link as an IP network?

    1. David Roberts Silver badge

      Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

      You hit problems with rural areas and also the number of hops between source and destination.

      Mesh network using radio or infra red are possible.

      Local communities might network up but getting out of country is a totally different ball game.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

        "You hit problems with rural areas and also the number of hops between source and destination."

        There'll be too busy fox hunting and badger baiting to care or notice.

    2. Keven E

      Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

      I once lived 100 meters away from my office (bad idea I know, but), and I always wanted to climb the service poles that traveled directly between the two places and tie on a line to run an office phone extension directly to my home (proof of bad idea I know, but). I often wondered how long it would take for either the cable co, electric co, or phone co to find it and break out the wire snips...

      1. StephenH

        Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

        A fellow in Kiama NSW did something similar, but it was 12km so he installed his own microwave link

        http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4400580/wollongong-man-builds-radio-network-to-get-nbn-access/

      2. Nifty

        Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

        I believe that the story about the phone box at Bletchley Park in WW2 being directly wired to a London exchange, so all calls would appear to originate in London, and people could be called back as if in Lomond, are true.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

          "I believe that the story about the phone box at Bletchley Park in WW2 being directly wired to a London exchange, so all calls would appear to originate in London, and people could be called back as if in Lomond, are true."

          I can believe it would be directly wired for the obvious reason - to make the task of preventing interception much more difficult and to avoid the risk of crossed lines. But in a day before caller identification, surely the "as if in London *[sic]" doesn't apply.

          *I assume you did mean London and not Lomond.

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

            But in a day before caller identification, surely the "as if in London *[sic]" doesn't apply.

            In the days before STD you dialled local numbers with local dialling codes that varied from place to place. Having a Bletchley phone directly connected to a London exchange would mean that people could be called back on a local London number. They would have to give that number, it would not, as you say, show up on any display. It would mean that someone could call, say, their parents and say "Dad, I'm in a call box, phone me back on ABC 1234". In that sense they could be called back "as if they were in London".

    3. Eugene Crosser

      Re: Resist with crowdfunded RPNs...

      >Is it feasible to develop a communications device that is visibly discrete, can be easily setup (or is signal-homing once directed approximately), can connect to multiple nodes, detects if a previously-established/trusted connection has been intercepted, and can present the link as an IP network?

      No.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The cause of the next world war

    I'll put money on a revolution happening because of this and a lot of people in governments getting lynched. You can only push people so far before something breaks. When the streets run with blood all this shite will be reversed.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: The cause of the next world war

      And then the nukes come down...

    2. Chris Daemon

      Re: The cause of the next world war

      The past 15+ years indicate that a revolt won't be happening. The people of China have the same type of oppressive regime, and so does Russia. Even the US with all its crooked congress in DC continues to "regulate" people's behavior/lives (both sides equally). The difference, IMO, is that western countries sell their despicable intent as beneficial to you/children/safety/etc. And in small portions, easy to swallow for the general public. There won't be a revolt. Either it's an astroturf movement, the momentum is short-lived, or it's plain ol' anarchistic behavior.

      And bloodshed is certainly not the answer here. It would be if the ruling class actually killed people for their ideology, race, etc. And, so far, they haven't tried that in modern, western society (forget edge cases).

      But suppose a revolt does happen. Assuming that everything will get magically better is "romatic" at best.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: The cause of the next world war

        The past 15+ years indicate that a revolt won't be happening. The people of China have the same type of oppressive regime,

        You are demonstrating the complete failure to understand Slavic (and Chinese) for that matter culture and upbringing. There will never be a revolt in China. A revolt in China happens only on the back of a foreign intervention, war or something else like that (Boxer uprising, Mao, etc). When China is self-governed it does not revolt regardless of how much the peasants are oppressed.

        Russia (and slavic countries for that matter) are a different story. Their modus operandi is pressure buildup, buildup, buildup then blow a gasket. The pressure level before the gasket blows differs from country to country being nearly zero in Poland and nearly infinity in Bulgaria with Russia somewhere in-between. Once it blows, being a couple of parsecs away is highly advisable. There has to be a pressure building for it to blow though. No pressure buildup - no blow.

        So going back to both factors: both China and Russia are managing both external intervention and discontent quite well. We have invested tens billions in trying to destabilize and/or regime change Russia. We got a Regime Change - from alcoholic idiotocracy (Eltsin) to autocracy - Putin. They have now reached a point where they have countered most of our strategy and are preempting most of what we do. Their level of discontent is at historic low. Realistically there has not been a point in Russian history when the general population (and even the middle class) has been that well off. It has always been a country of 99.999% extreme poverty and 0.001% ludicrous riches. While the latter is still there (for a given value of there being equal to Knightsbridge and Chelsea) the 99.999% are no longer in extreme poverty so sorry, no pressure buildup - nothing to blow a gasket for decades (if not centuries). Bread and circuses are provided, 99.99% of population is content.

        We have not used anything like that resources on China in order not to kill the goose which lays golden cheap manufacturing, so they key factor which makes Chinese changes tick is not there. There is no internal pressure either as once again for the first time in Chinese history a significant portion of the population is well off.

        1. aberglas

          Revolt in China!

          Nonsense about there never being a revolt there. Taiping was home grown, as was Boxer and Sun. Heck, Mao's crusade was a revolt. Read your history, China has been nothing but revolts until recent times.

          However, Goulash communism requires the standard of living to rise every year so that people will put up with the government. China simply cannot keep growing at the astonishing rate it has for too much longer. There will be stagnation, and people will blame the government.

          This could lead to horrendous trouble. At the moment the Chinese government is fairly benign because there are no threats. But if there is a real demand for democracy, will they adopt it (probably in a Russian style) or stand firm and fight.

          Either way, it is very important to keep trouble makers on a tight leash. New AI technology for monitoring communications can help a lot with this.

          The real thing that the UK could learn from China is the way their bureaucracy controls and tames the internet. It is not too heavy handed, so most Chinese do not complain. Just enough where needed.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: The cause of the next world war

          "A revolt in China happens only on the back of a foreign intervention, war or something else like that (Boxer uprising, Mao, etc). When China is self-governed it does not revolt regardless of how much the peasants are oppressed".

          Erm, no. See the very long list here - many of which were against the government of the time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rebellions_in_China

      2. MrDamage

        Re: The cause of the next world war

        We in the west are at war with ourselves. The media arms of the various politcal parties have the "loony left" and "fundamentalist right" so busy insulting each other, they can't stop for long enough to closely look at the arseholes causing the angst.

        Once we can collectively pull our heads out of our arses, the "ruling elite" will be in for a world of hurt.

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: The cause of the next world war

      The cause of the next world war

      I'll put money on a revolution happening because of this and a lot of people in governments getting lynched. You can only push people so far before something breaks. When the streets run with blood all this shite will be reversed.

      As hinted at by MrDamage, if there is going to be a bloody revolt anywhere in the world its more likely to be in the western world. The Russian and Chinese populace currently has little reason to revolt against their governments, no matter how oppressed they get, most still remember the state of the country only 15 to 20 years ago. Western governments are however starting to push their luck with what their populace is willing to accept. Adding to that an influx of hard to integrate/incompatible cultures from Africa and the middle east into Europe and things are starting to strain.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: The cause of the next world war

        no matter how oppressed they get, most still remember the state of the country only 15 to 20 years ago.

        Bingo. It will take decades (if not centuries) for the generation memory to wear off. That memory is still there and compared to the majority does not see themselves as oppressed, dispossessed and disenfranchised. Just the opposite.

        Add to that the fact that when I lived there for a few years during the darkest days of the Gerontocracy, engaging in patriotic brainwashing was the domain of the schools. If you tried to shovel anything like the "you should be special because you are Russian" into your offspring brain in private the rest of the family would have stopped your vodka intake.

        The current generation of parents feels special because they still remember the horrors of the last years under the Gerontocracy and Eltsin Idiotocracy. They are grateful that they have emerged out of that and they brainwash their kids to an extent which you would not believe. When I am on a holiday on the Canaries or in Greece nowdays I switch tables if I end up next to a Russian family. My daughter understands enough of the language to start asking questions along the lines of "What is the bullsh*t they are being brainwashed with?" and I have to start answering pointed questions.

        It will take decades including many years of economic hardship and oppression (the proverbial Slavic "raise pressure until we blow a gasket") to counter that. Until then, if there will be any revolt it will not be there. It will be our own disenfranchised and dispossessed.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The cause of the next world war

      Not seeing any kind of revolution just yet. 4 missed meals, and we are underway. Things are too comfy in the west, even for the very poor. Beer, ciggies, ready meals and Match of the Day, and we are happy.

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: The cause of the next world war

        "Things are too comfy in the west, even for the very poor. Beer, ciggies, ready meals and Match of the Day, and we are happy."

        Bread & Circuses.

  10. retired_in_london

    As a 'Merican Liberal, I am proud of how well Russia and China can censor their people's speech and imprison and "re-eduate" their population.

    I hope one day, America can develop as strong a censorship and "re-education" system to silence those we don't like to hear from.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      sure you are...

      Until then, we'll have to settle for the orange one screaming "FAKE NEWS" at uncomfortable/uncooperative news outlets, and distracting everyone with the latest scandal or Twitstorm.

  11. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    https?

    Can the Chinese and Russian governments hack the detailed content of an HTTPS connection?

    'Cos if not, then what stops people getting e.g. an AWS a/c in Ireland with a nice name like fluffykittens.cn and using it to run a remote desktop? And a nice little fake site for any public visitors, of course. The logs say you're spending a lot of time looking at fluffy kittens - what could be wrong with that?

    1. MrBlack

      Re: https?

      RDP is unusable from china to ireland for browsing, been there tried that. Now an SSL VPN.. that may be of interest. Ni hao any port you want.

      1. jamesb2147

        Re: https?

        Been there, tried that as well.

        You have to be smarter than the machine learning algorithm. Read a detailed account of a guy who ran everything through an SSH session on non-default port with all packets receiving padding to be at least 1400 bytes. Each port worked for a day before the GFW caught on. Fortunately, 65534 ports is a lot of days before you're perma-blocked.

        Of course, my solution was to simply tether off my international SIM card for the little data I needed. That worked pretty well as long as I didn't use 100GB of data.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: https?

        someone out there just might have an HTTPS server that supports the proxy 'CONNECT' command...

        (especially on the dark net)

        fluffykittens - nice idea. It might actually happen.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: https?

        "RDP is unusable from china to ireland for browsing,"

        From China to say Singapore then.

  12. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Correction needed

    protecting the ruling only party

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Can the Chinese and Russian governments hack the detailed content of an HTTPS connection?"

    IIRC if you have the "cooperation" of the ISP then you can spoof a certificate for a MITM intercept. Companies can do that with their intranet firewalls?

    1. Nolveys Silver badge

      IIRC if you have the "cooperation" of the ISP then you can spoof a certificate for a MITM intercept.

      You'd need to either add a root cert to the machine running the browser or have control of a "legit" signing authority. Company intranet SSL stuff works via the add-a-cert-to-the-boxen method.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You'd need to either add a root cert to the machine running the browser or have control of a "legit" signing authority.

        Several countries in Africa and Asia tried that as a regulatory requirement + applicable firewalling.

        While in theory it may scale up to Russia/China size, I have some doubts about the technicalities of this being done in practice. At the end of the day, I suspect that they will go after VPN providers and such and leave corporate-to-corporate and in-corporate use to continue.

        China will continue going after end-user use out of principle. Russia - not sure. Let's see exactly what they will end up having as a law and read it. A lot of their laws which western media keeps screaming about are neither what the media claims. They are also written in a much more technically literate manner than most of our lawmakers' creations.

  14. nilfs2
    Headmaster

    Wall teh internets!!

    That's gonna be Trump's next move, filthy foreigners, get off my lawn!!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it feasible to develop a communications device that is visibly discrete, can be easily setup ...

    If maintaining your communication's privacy requires unusual, custom-built equipment, it is a relatively simple task to outlaw such equipment. Sure some people will have the skills and resources to build it even if it is illegal - but their number is unlikely to be high enough to form an effective and pervasive communication network.

    The beauty of the internet communication model is that the network does not need to be, and most of the time isn't aware of the contents of your messages. The privacy and the secrecy is provided by the software, which is much easier to install and to conceal. Perhaps unsurprisingly, both "democratic" and "totalitarian" governments seem to treat this little bit of freedom as a threat, and seem to be intent to do away with it.

    It has all happened before. It will all happen again.

  16. Winkypop Silver badge

    Because

    Information is power.

    Power is love.

    Love is power.

    Apols to Mr Orwell.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reality vs Expectation

    Expectation:

    China put in regulation to ban VPN

    Citizen will no long have VPN

    Reality:

    The black market now sell VPN at 10x the price*

    International roaming data card now sell at 20x the price*

    *Caused by the corrupted nature of China citizen

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reality vs Expectation

      Oh? The article notes two VPN vendors had to shut down due to government pressure. Unlike in the West, China tends to be very overt about dealing with organizations it doesn't like. Not even Google is immune, if you'll recall. If they want to ban most encryption by mandating they be able to snoop every wire and all the airspace and simply block anything they can't interpret, not even stego's gonna last too long in such an environment.

  18. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    satellite intarwebs save the day!

    if there are enough satellites, and a few black market devices to access them...

    just sayin' they can't regulate what passes overhead or on the edge of the horizon

    1. danya02
      Mushroom

      Re: satellite intarwebs save the day!

      Sure they can't - that is, until somebody has the bright idea to shoot the sats with missiles.

      Granted, there aren't many missiles of this class, but it's a matter of manufacturing speed. Or how long it takes for somebody to figure out to use conventional missiles to shoot the receiver.

      And we could jettison all plausibility altogether by starting throwing tactical nukes everywhere. Not only will it destroy the receivers, but it could also reduce the number of people who want to circumvent the rules, since, as Tom Lehrer always reminds us, We Will All Go Together When We Go.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The British approach...

  20. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Sad to see that allegedly 'free' countries such as France and the UK are no better than . . .

    China or Russia.

    The good news is that they tried many strategies before and most failed. The Great Firewall of China is a joke to most school-aged children.

    I visited a friend in NanNing last year and immediately bumped in to The Wall. My friend's 11-year old son, with a derisory smirk on his face, had me connected with the free-er part of the world in less than two minutes.

  21. Prndll

    Outlaw VPN's??

    LMFAO

    Why not outlaw the "Z" key from the qwerty keyboard while your at it? I'm sure some insane politician can sir up some hooplah and manage to convince enough people that the letter Z is dangerous to all life on Earth.

  22. aberglas

    China govt Root Certificate

    Mandated on all devices. Just like corporates do in the west.

    Easy to intercept all HTTPS traffic. And if you do not trust that root then nothing works.

  23. Gis Bun

    Welcome to Vladimir Poutine's new Russia.

    He should be announcing his full dictatorship shortly.

    He already siphoned a reported few billion dollars from his people.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VPN for Browser

    I was reading an article on VPN for browser (https://www.purevpn.com/blog/vpn-for-browser/) but unfortunately, China has banned all the VPNs.

    I'm planning to visit China next week so how can I use my social network and other stuff while travelling to china?

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