China blocks thousands of Edgecast websites

Internet censorship in China is hardly new, as the Great Firewall of China (GFW) notoriously makes mainland China one of the most censored countries in the world (hell, even BestVPN is censored in China!)

In a move that anti-GFW website considers an attack on its ‘collateral freedom’ mirror sites, China over the last few days blocked all EdgeCast subdomains using DNS poisoning.

Edgecast (now owned by US telecoms firm Verizon), is one of the world’s largest Content Delivery Networks (CDN), and hosts thousands of websites based in China. believes the attack is targeted at its ‘collateral freedom’ websites, which are deliberately hosted on Edgecast because,

‘[] gamble[d] that the Chinese authorities will not block access to global CDNs because they understand the value of China being integrated with the global internet.

This belief that the Chinese authorities would not interfere with such a big and important CDN as Edgecast was bolstered by the fact that Verizon’s board of directors ‘include senior executives from companies that have made significant investments in China including Royal Dutch Shell, Proctor & Gamble and Deere & Company.’

Thousands of non-controversial websites have found themselves blocked, including:

  • Drupal – which hosts the backend framework used by many businesses (including many in China)
  • Sony Mobile (both the international website and the Chinese site)
  • Gravatar
  • DeviantArt
  • The Atlantic

It seems the situation is improving (Edgecast has removed its Network Status alert), but many websites are still finding themselves the subject of uncalled for censorship,

We have been hearing from our CDN and Monitoring partners throughout the industry and our own customers that more sites, CDNs and networks are being filtered or blocked by the Great Firewall of China. This week we’ve seen the filtering escalate with an increasing number of popular web properties impacted and even one of our many domains being partially blocked… with no rhyme or reason as to why.

At Verizon EdgeCast we have put policies in place to help our customers mitigate the effects of this most recent filtering but expect this to be an ongoing issue for our customers seeking to reach Chinese users (users in China). For any customers who are seeing their delivery impacted, please log in to your EdgeCast portal. Here you will find instructions on your portal home page on how to best mitigate filtering or blocking.

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

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