More on Witopia in China

By James Fallows

Over the years I've testified repeatedly about the virtues of a "virtual private network" VPN from Witopia.net as a way around China's Great Firewall. Last week I mentioned that Witopia, which has become very popular among foreigners in China, seems to have been "singled out" by the Chinese government for interference and blockage.

Bill Bullock, of Witopia, says this isn't true. For the record, his reply:

It isn't accurate to characterize that the Chinese government is singling us out or imply we are "outed to the authorities." We do business all over the world and it's the "PPTP VPN protocol" (nothing to do with us) that is commonly blocked in China, not WiTopia's PPTP VPN. It's a location to location thing. PPTP might be blocked at a coffee shop in New Jersey, yet work in a hotel in Beijing. We actually have many customers in China that prefer PPTP. But..PPTP being blocked, wherever it may be, has zero to do with us, except for fact we offer a PPTP VPN option to reach our network. I certainly do not wish people to think that we have let them down, because we have not. We are very upfront that PPTP is an entry-level type service and should not be relied upon in a censored country. That's why, since March 2005, we have had our SSL VPL available.

China is well aware of VPNs and we all use the same protocols. The differentiators between VPN providers are support, reliability, number of locations, price, if you trust them with your data, etc...but if our PPTP is blocked, everyone's will. Just wanted to clear that up before folks got wrong idea.

Now you know.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/06/more-on-witopia-in-china/57495/