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Friday, September 28, 2007

DIT Alleges Skype Redirects Users in China to Censorware Version

BUSINESS WIRE, September 24, 2007-

CARY, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– DIT (Dynamic Internet Technology Inc) alleges discovery of Skype’s cooperation with internet censorship in China, which DIT believes is an effort to stop the spread of DIT’s popular anti-censorship tool.

Skype (http://www.skype.com), an instant messaging, voice chat and file downloading tool, is very popular in China. On September 13, 2007, DIT established its presence on Skype, so users in China can talk to DIT over Skype to get DynaWeb url and download its popular censorship-busting software, Freegate.

DIT alleges that, on the morning of September 23, the company started to receive reports from concerned users in China that now when they try to download the Skype software, Skype’s website redirects them to Skype’s Chinese partner’s site, http://skype.tom.com, which doles out a modified Chinese version, instead of Skype’s official version as before.

DIT feels that such a version of Skype from a Chinese website is questionable, as some hidden capabilities can be built-in to censor Skype’s usage. In January, 2006, Business Week reported that “TOM and Skype now filter phrases such as “Falun Gong” and “Dalai Lama.” According to DIT, internet freedom activists in China have been warning people about the possibility that Tom.com’s versions have or will have more trojan capability to monitor and report users’ activities to Chinese government.

DIT has confirmed this redirection. DIT believes this move by Skype is the result of Chinese government’s pressure, targeting to curb Freegate’s wildfire-speed adoption in China.

Freegate is part of DynaWeb technologies. DynaWeb enable users to evade Internet censorship and to visit websites that are otherwise blocked. DynaWeb was first launched in March, 2002. It is developed and maintained by volunteers and personal contributions, and has enjoyed great popularity among users in China and Iran, despite Internet restrictions by the governments in these countries.

- Original report from BUSINESS WIRE

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