Newsletter: The Great Firewall Of China & Volkswagen’s Electric Messiah

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Despise the enemy strategically, but take him seriously tactically.” ~ Mao Zedong

CHINA TAKES DOWN MULTIPLE VPN FOR TOTAL INTERNET CONTROL

THE STORY

China’s ‘Great Firewall’ becomes even stronger as private networks are forcefully shut down by authorities.

WHAT IS THE GREAT FIREWALL OF CHINA?

For those who might not know, The Great Firewall of China refers to a large scale censorship program for strict control on internet use in mainland China. These series of actions involves regulation of varied content and filtering out several keywords that prevent users from accessing various websites and services. This ban on certain websites and keywords includes popular social media platform Facebook, Google.com and related services, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and many more.

HOW USERS ACCESSED BLOCKED SITES?

Despite these regulatory measures, Virtual Private Networks or VPN became a safe haven for users who wanted to access any content blocked by the Great Firewall. Unfortunately, Chinese government takes control real seriously and have started taking down several VPN services to plug every loophole in their defenses. As these private networks continue to disappear, it becomes clear that Communist Party of China (CPC) wants their netizens to fully comply to their rules.

ANY OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THE BAN?

Surprisingly, CPC haven’t made any official announcements for a nationwide ban on private networks. This crackdown only became evident when Green, a popular VPN provider ceased operations and explained the reason in a letter to its customers. Here’s what the letter says –

“Dear respected Green customers,

We have received notice from the higher authorities. We regret to inform you that Green will cease our service on July 1st, 2017. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

We will start processing our users’ refund request after service stopped (the amount will be calculated based on the remaining days in your plan). If you need a refund, please make sure to submit your refund request by August 31, 2017. We won’t be able to process any refund request submitted after that date. Since the workload of processing the requests, information verification and money transfer would be huge, we won’t be able to set an exact date for the refund. We plan to process the refund soon after August 31, please wait patiently.

Your praise and affirmation have encouraged us to last as long as we have. We will always be grateful for this. In the future, the Green team will transform the business. We look forward to meeting you again.”

Just like Green, several other VPN service providers were sent similar notices, with their apps disappearing from online stores.


TARNISHED BY ‘DIESELGATE’, VOLKSWAGEN GOLF FINDS REDEMPTION IN ELECTRIC ENERGY

THE STORY

Volkswagen Golf returns to the market. Now powered by electric drive-train.

WHAT IS ‘DIESELGATE’?

If you like reading about cars, there’s no way you don’t know about the infamous Dieselgate scandal that rocked the European automotive industry late 2015. It involved German carmaker Volkswagen who admitted manipulation in emission tests for diesel engines. This not only resulted in a huge customer backlash, but took a major impact on Volkswagen’s sales in European and North American markets. Of all the models under question, the 5-door hatchback Volkswagen Golf suffered the worst.

WHAT CHANGED NOW?

Since it was Golf that suffered the worst in the scandal, it was natural that Volkswagen gave it a chance at redemption. Therefore, they’ve released an all-electric model named as e-Golf 2017. While they’ve maintained a familiar hatchback look, the powertrain is completely new and churns out an 134 HP, despite of being electric.

These specs are certainly impressive even when compared to the 115 HP gas-powered model. Nevertheless, e-Golf’s top speed is limited to 85 miles per hour for safety reasons. With these enhancements and price tag that isn’t as exorbitant, Volkswagen e-Golf sounds like a sure winner for the Germans. Sales will tell!

Akshay Peter

Akshay Luke Peters is a writer and blogger for Systweak Software. He likes to write about off-beat topics and technological awareness. He is also part musician who likes to explore the future of technology in entertainment and popular media.

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