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How will china's internet censorship affect neo's future?

The Great Firewall of China has always been porous, allowing an easy flow of information from the outside world and into the hands of those who possessed the simple technological tools to digitally tunnel through it.

Now Beijing is preparing to create a much harder barrier against unapproved information, calling on state-owned telecommunications providers to stamp out the virtual private networks, or VPNs, that everyone from scientists to dissidents and amateur musicians use to access foreign content.

It's a move that would give China's Communist Party leadership an even greater chokehold on information.

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China has mandated that personal access to VPNs be stamped out nationwide by next February, according to a Bloomberg report.

Read more: In China, homeowners anxiously wait for government to give them land rights

VPN software masks an Internet connection in a way that allows a user to browse websites as if their computer or smartphone is situated overseas.

Few of the details on the coming ban are clear; it appears it will apply to individuals rather than businesses.

Even that would mark a major change.

"If the authorities really move to neuter all VPNs, it will also mean that they have to cut off China from the global Internet," said Charlie Smith, the pseudonym used by the co-founder of GreatFire.org, which monitors and works to defeat Chinese Internet censorship.

"The long-term effects will be devastating," he added.

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"A climate of fear exists inside China and even Chinese outside of China are increasingly wary of speaking their minds. By denying access to VPNs, the authorities are also effectively preventing Chinese from dis...

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