Kindle’s Unofficial Chinese Utility

Amazon Kindle 3

One of the more interesting bits of news that has come around lately in terms of Kindle information is the recently discovered ability of imported Kindles in China to bypass the “Great Firewall” of government censorship on the internet.  While Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) does not officially ship to China, there is an emerging market for the Kindle specifically for this purpose, as what may be the only handheld device to date that can get around restrictions places on such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter without difficulty.

Up until now, tech-savvy internet users in China were able to get around these government imposed restrictions through a bit of effort and some creative use of proxy services, but never before has it been this easy.  There is some speculation, of course, that it will not last.  It is entirely possible that the fact that there is no legal means by which to acquire a Kindle in China at the moment meant that nobody ever felt the need to bother with singling them out. For the moment, however, creative entrepreneurs managing to sneak them into the country are getting as much as $950+ for the eReaders.

While this certainly isn’t anything but a fun bit of info for the majority of users, it is always nice to hear that censorship is being lightened, however accidentally. Clearly we won’t be hearing any press releases about this being a new Amazon selling point, nor have I seen any clear explanations so far as to why the Kindle can do this when other similar devices cannot, but for the moment it’s even more of a boon to some readers than ever before.

5 thoughts on “Kindle’s Unofficial Chinese Utility

  1. I suspect that all internet traffic from Kindle routed thru Amazon’s server in US before it reaches the actual site. If so, it works like a private VPN connection to Amazon by using local telcom’s roaming service. China Great FireWall cannot sniff the packets inside the VPN connection.

    Here is my observation: When I use Kindle3 to login facebook in Asia, Facebook thinks that I am logging in from US, which is far away from my usual login place. Facebook asks me for confirmation.

    However, it is a bit difficult to do more investigations due to the limited function in experimental browser.

  2. The reason the Kindle can bypass the Chinese firewalls, is because the traffic originating on the Kindle gets routed through Amazon’s servers, acting sort of like a proxy. When browsing the web, the Kindle gets a IP address. And because Amazon is not blocked in China, this is the reason the Chinese are able to access the forbidden pages using the Kindle.

    Great site! Keep up the good work.

  3. It is more than “a fun bit of info,” it makes me proud that a gizmo I enjoy is helping further individual liberty and subverting government control around the world.

  4. As a Chinese,I should say that I was shocked when I found that I can access to FB via kindle in Mainland

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