After searching high and low and not finding a technical problem, Google earlier this week concluded the Chinese government must be tampering with Gmail. The Chinese have denied any wrongdoing, but nothing can be proven either way.
But soon this will all be different, if Google has its way. The tech giant has invested $1 million for researchers at Georgia Tech to come up with a way to detect internet ‘throttling’ and government censorship. The project is expected to take two years, with the possibility of further additional funding.
What it could mean is that internet users will be able to see whether service providers are giving them the service they are paying for, and whether the data sent and received are being tampered with in any way, including by the authorities. Similar tools could become available for smartphones and tablets as well, according to TechEye.
This sort of tool would be very useful in countries living under the threat of government censorship, but it could also be of use in more democratic nations. Telecoms operators have long been accused of ‘throttling’ broadband speeds so customers don’t get what they were promised when they signed up. This technology could ensure democracy on numerous levels, in other words.