Once little more than a glorified porn filter, China's 'Great Firewall' has evolved into the most sophisticated system of online censorship in the world. Even as the Chinese internet grows and online businesses thrive, speech is controlled, dissent quashed, and any attempts to organize outside the official Communist Party are quickly stamped out. Some are able to bypass the wall using VPNs, but this creates further a further divide between an intellectual class and the population at large, as those without the resources or digital knowhow are left in the dark. And there are hints that President Xi Jinping will soon fill in these leaks in the wall.
As censorship, distortion, and fake news gain traction around the world, James Griffiths takes a look inside the Great Firewall and explores just how far it has spread. He looks at how internet giants like Google and Facebook are bowing to pressure and agreeing to compromise internet freedoms in pursuit of the burgeoning Chinese market. Griffiths also shows how the spread of Chinese influence around the globe is tied to an increasing worldwide crackdown in online freedom. One of China's most insidious exports are its censorship techniques, and its Firewall is an inspiration for aspiring autocrats the world over.
Griffiths pushes back on the longstanding excuse that the internet is too big to be contained and makes the case that censorship tools are becoming more sophisticated at the very same time that users are becoming more complacent. His book is a caution to anyone who believes in a free and open internet and call to action for a radical new vision of online liberty.