Activists seek donations to help mainlanders bypass internet restrictions

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2012, 3:26am

Two activists were seeking almost HK$1 million to open a "cyber liberty centre" in Hong Kong, to help users circumvent internet restrictions on the mainland.

Yeung Yeung and Yang Kuang also said they were worried that Hong Kong police would monitor local internet activities in the future with their "cyber security centre", which would launch today.

Yeung said they wanted to make use of Hong Kong's special political conditions and relatively fast and liberal internet access to help mainlanders work around the so-called Great Firewall of China, which controls access to websites like Twitter and Facebook.

Yeung, an internet expert, said Hong Kong police had caused concern with their plan for a cyber security centre, which they said was needed to combat surging internet crime.

"We want to take this opportunity to develop something to allow mainlanders to break through the [internet restrictions] on the mainland while we also rally against the [Hong Kong] cyber security centre."

Yeung said he hoped his planned liberty centre would raise Hongkongers' awareness of internet freedom.

He said he wanted to develop a low-cost, high-speed network, based on the Tor network technology developed by the US navy. Initial costs and first-year operational costs would be at least HK$960,000.

Yeung expected some 20,000 mainland internet users could be served simultaneously by the service. He said if more Hong Kong people were willing to allow their computers to be a part of the network, helping relaying packages of data, it would be more difficult for mainland authorities to detect the IP addresses of its servers.

Activists feared Hong Kong police would intercept internet communications and constrain freedom of speech.

Police chief Andy Tsang Wai-hung had said they would only monitor the flow of information, not its content.