According to Wikipedia Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. The legal issues are similar to offline censorship. One difference is that national borders are more permeable online: residents of a country that bans certain information can find it on websites hosted outside the country. A government can try to prevent its citizens from viewing these even if it has no control over the websites themselves. Countries that exercise this kind of censorship include Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam
Most recently in July 2009, social networking site Facebook was banned in China. After microblogging service Twitter was already inaccessible during the last few days, Facebook now seems to be the latest victim of Chinas moves related to the recent incidents in its north western province. The recent bans and the blocking of Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and even hickups with Google products and MSN are a major pain for companies and individuals working in China. Previous blocks of Western Web 2.0 services that were banned in China were sometimes only temporary but this time we are afraid the block will be permanent.
How to still access and unblock Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and other blocked websites from China:
The only reliable way to access blocked websites like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and many more is by using a professional VPN service (SSL not PPTP). We have tested several commercial VPN solutions and found WiTopia Personal VPN (http://www.witopia.net) the best deal. Their .99 / year personalVPNa,¢ – SSL (openVPN) has the best performance and is more reliable than the PPTP version, as PPTP is commonly blocked in China. We are even expecting that PPTP will be entirely disabled soon and only available again after individual companies specifically register for it. If you want to get connected to the rest of the world again its the only way – go for it!
Comparison of private VPN solutions to access and unblock Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and many other websites from China:
Other options apart from WiTopia include Strong VPN with the USD 75/year Lite PPTP product or SmallVPN.
Finally even if you are based in a Country not actively engaged in Internet censorship such as the United States you should consider using a personal VPN service: You dont want your ISP or network owner to be able to monitor or control your online activities.
Often there is no evil intent, but there have been many cases, even in the United States, where individual privacy and access to the free Internet have been blatantly and willfully disregarded. You want to hide your IP address so you can protect your identity and location.