China problem. First World Problems

I’m off to Wuxi, China for the rest of the week. I’m told that there’s nothing there and that we’ll be holed up in this resort like some corporate concentration camp. Hmm.

Eventhough I’m bringing a laptop, someone just reminded me the other night: You won’t be able to get onto your usual news sites; you won’t be able to visit blog sites; you won’t be able to get onto Facebook; you might or might not be able to check your email – so forget about internet-based entertainment after work.

Yeah. I forgot. It’s China y’all.

So in my absence, and my very likely inability to write about incredibly interesting things like hotel swimming pools and airplane food, here’s something to think about:


9 thoughts on “China problem. First World Problems

  1. I wouldn’t bring a laptop into China unless absolutely necessary (for work) even then I would bring a sanitzed laptop and probably totatlly scrubbed the laptop (or just isolated that laptop for east-Asian use only) upon my return given the stuff that goes on with the Chinese gov’t/intelligence in their espionage activities.

    Dora, it is notorious that the chinese gov’t will break into your room and copy your hard drive when you are out and about or gone to dinner/meetings…so have your electronics with you at all times and shield them from scanning devices…

    • WHAT?! You’re freaking me out! Really?! I’ve brought my work laptop, not my personal laptop. So I guess if they wanna steal stuff from my drive, it”ll all just be work stuff, so go ahead. Besides, there are people here from the company with much much more powerful information than I do, so ha, I don’t think I should be the one worrying! :)

      • that’s what they wanted to steal: company information and trade secrets (including contacts)
        and plant a keylogger that you take back home to your company and/or home network…

        their way is to gather all information however useful (or not), then sort and process later….

  2. Once, I couldn’t get the free WiFi to work on my laptop at a 5-star hotel in Guangzhou. I called IT and, instantly, I could see the guy remotely controlling my mouse from where-ever he was sitting. It was a bit unnerving. Also, when you first log on, you have to click “OK” on a page that says you won’t try to access any government-restricted sites. Who knows? Maybe the IT guy was just fixing the connection, but it was weird that someone could see everything on my computer.

    I can’t remember the last time I went to China unless it was somehow work related — even my Shanghai trip with my folks was tied to a work trip. I just don’t cross the border for fun. So I always have my laptop with me.

    I’ve never bothered scrubbing files — there’s nothing on there I wouldn’t publicly publish anyway. In fact, spies would probably be pretty bored. Look! Recipes and cat photos! Though it is creepy that there is no privacy.

    The funny thing is how most banned — or slowed, or limited — sites are second nature to those of us who used the normal, free Internet. I’m not going to bother looking up sensitive topics while in China — that’s just stupid. But how often have you mindlessly dropped by YouTube or Facebook? Blogger is sometimes blocked, as are Blogger-powered sites, even if they don’t have a Blogger / Blogspot URL. I remember trying to look up art reviews to research a story I was writing, and access seemed patchy, probably because some of the articles I needed were connected to blogs.

    When my (totally apolitical) Dad was in China, he tried logging onto Facebook to check up on my brother, who was travelling in the Middle East. He was baffled when it didn’t work.

    • Woah, that is FREAKY. You guys are making me very paranoid and self-conscious right now! People shouldn’t be able to control your mouse/desktop unless you give them permission (as in clicking something on your computer)! I would completely freak out!

      But like you say, I’m on a work laptop. So if they steal things from it, they’ll be stealing company info, not mine!

      I thought WordPress would be blocked, but looks like it’s not (touch wood). Or maybe they just wanna see what I have to say?! (And realise they’re totally spying on the wrong person…)

      • Dora and Joyce,

        the problem is not the files itself…the bigger problem is they plant extra stuff to suck packets and redirect it back home…trying to get into your company network (again to steal information, gain unauthorized access, ANY information useful or sale-able)

        that’s the reason you bring an isolated laptop in and reformating (or swap out) the hard drive upon return

        at the end of your day, it is your (and your company’s) data.

      • Dora, controlling your computer from afar is easy….if I want I could probably changed your password to your system without you noticing….(via remote desktop)

        in joyce’s case, I could transfer all her files to my computer if she doesn’t notices…

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