CitizenLab on CBC’s Search Engine

The Guardian reported that today China expelled foreign journalists from Tibet to try and stop the flow of information about the violent crackdown on Tibetan protesters. The Editor of the Guardian wrote to the Chinese Ambassador to the UK:

“I am writing to express my deep concern over the apparent blocking by Chinese authorities of international news websites, including that of the Guardian,,” he wrote. “As you will be aware, the blackout has coincided with media coverage of the recent unrest in Tibet, forcing the conclusion that this is an act of deliberate and wholly unacceptable censorship.”

Google News and YouTube are also blocked right now.

According to CBC’s Search Engine the CBC is also unavailable in China now. Ron Diebert, Professor and Director of CitizenLab at the U of T was interviewed on CBC’s Search Engine (16:19 to 22:13) about Psiphon, an open source software project that allows people in countries where the internet is not censored to act as a proxy for people in countries where the internet is censored to access uncensored content. Diebert describes how Psiphon differs from other software:

What we wanted to do is bury this technique in two ways. First we encrypted the channel, so from a perspective from anyone monitoring the traffic it looks for all intents and purposes it looks like a banking transaction. Which happens in a country like China millions of times a day. Also, we wanted to bury it in a non-technological way, through social networks of trust you need to be careful, you need to know who you are connecting to outside

Subscribe to Search Engine through Itunes here. Also, check out my previous post on CitizenLab.

conversation with Susie Bright and Steve Harsin

Check out a fantastic conversation between sex-positive writer and activist Susie Bright and librarian and rare book dealer Steve Harsin. Also, check out Steve’s site on censorship. They discuss the ethics of librarianship, the children’s book about the dog who got a snake bite on his scrotum (Higher Power of Lucky), Spike Lee’s movie She’s Gotta Have It, bodice ripper romance novels and Madonna’s Sex.

Susie Bright makes a comment about how smelly patrons are more of an issue to her than accessing sex information is. This classist comment almost ruined the interview for me. I like what Sanford Berman said in his article Classism in the Stacks :

Why, instead of declaiming against lost parking space and people coming into the library without first stopping at the spa, hairdresser, manicurist, and couture clothing boutique-people perhaps coming with bags and maybe kids, people who may not have anyplace else to go (in Minneapolis, for instance, shelters are only allowed to open overnight), people who possibly don’t look, smell, or “behave” like us, like folks with money, like solid middle-class persons, but who nonetheless pay taxes and even work (though not earing enough to afford housing) people who need the library not solely for sanctuary, but also for job searching, education, entertainment reading and emailing-why aren’t poverty, homelessness and hunger the primary objects of our wrath, our discomfort?