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How to access Gmail and prepare digitally for China

Discussion in 'Networks & Internet Connectivity' started by UberTiger, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. UberTiger

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 1, 2008

    Posts: 2,514

    I have a friend who is visiting China in a few weeks for a month of work.

    Can anyone advice the best way to prepare his laptop and iPhone for use over there?

    I'm under the impression that Google services are blocked. What about Dropbox?

    I hear that some people use VPNs to get around it, but I believe they're illegal over there?

    He's conscious of playing by the rules and not using a VPN if it is illegal, as he's quite high profile in his industry and doesn't want to get into trouble.

    So what's the best way of continuing to access and send emails while away?

    I was thinking that we could potentially setup a Chinese email address and forward his mail to there while he's away?

    Any thoughts or suggestions on general digital prep for China would be appreciated.
     
  2. jsmoke

    Soldato

    Joined: Jun 17, 2012

    Posts: 5,572

  3. Thekwango

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Feb 5, 2009

    Posts: 8,730

    Location: northern Ireland

    surely his companies IT would be dealing with this for him? or is he a one man band contractor type?
     
  4. UberTiger

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 1, 2008

    Posts: 2,514

    He's a one man band contracted in for music events.

    I just checked it is seems QQ.com has internationalisation, except you need a Chinese number to register, and apparently you can only get them in person in China to prevent fraud.

    I suppose I could register a domain for him and setup a local email address that way perhaps. I'm not sure how to check if it would be blocked or not.
     
  5. UberTiger

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 1, 2008

    Posts: 2,514

    Hmm, apparently Hotmail works over there, can anyone confirm that?

    We could setup a disposable hotmail address for the trip if that works and just forward all his gmail to it while he's away.

    Roaming charges in China seem crazy after checking the O2 website. Maybe we should look into getting a Chinese sim card while over there too.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Caged

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 22,642

    You need to set up your stuff in a way that you can wipe it when you get back and before you connect it to any other services you use. I would strongly recommend removing everything non-essential from the devices, and disconnect them from any cloud services that contain confidential data.

    Get some charging cables for your phone that drop the data pins and only allow power through.
     
  7. WJA96

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 13, 2005

    Posts: 13,486

    Location: Norfolk, South Scotland

    Why not just register a legitimate domain for him and use that for the duration of his time in China? Then dereguster it when he comes back. Any g-mail can be forwarded to that.

    China is a very different place. Just forget any ideas about VPNs or anything clever. The Chinese embassy has very good information about working in China and the people that hired him should be looking after this sort of stuff for him.

    Personally, as Caged alluded to, I would buy a new laptop and phone and use them only for the China trip, then sell them either in China before returning or wipe them and sell them on return.
     
  8. jsmoke

    Soldato

    Joined: Jun 17, 2012

    Posts: 5,572

  9. UberTiger

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 1, 2008

    Posts: 2,514

    Yeah, I'm toying with the idea of either just registering a dedicated hotmail address and forwarding everything to that, as it seems Microsoft has permission to operate there. Then I wouldn't need to worry about server side issues of hosting my own domain's email, or as suggested, registering a domain for the trip and having a private email server that way.

    I guess the benefit of having a private server is that it would truly be private if the connection is over SSL? Whereas is Microsoft has permission I'm guessing the Chinese also have access to the contents of the mail boxes?

    There will be nothing super sensitive in the emails, it's just making sure comms can remain open for planning upcoming events after the Chinese trip and keep up with general admin.

    We'll wipe the Macbook and iPhone before going and turn off backups. Do you really think new devices would be necessary?
     
  10. the-evaluator

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 24, 2015

    Posts: 1,113

    Mostly I used mobile data when I was in China (September last year) as it cost £5/day for 500Mb on EE and everything worked.

    When I used the hotel wifi I used a VPN connection, I took a Raspberry Pi with me that connected to the hotel wifi, connected to my VPN and then broadcase my own wifi where everything was tunneled down the VPN. That worked quite well but on occasion the VPN wouldn't connect. When it worked it worked brilliantly.
     
  11. UberTiger

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 1, 2008

    Posts: 2,514

    Yeah, I looked into the O2 coverage again and it seems you can get can the normal minutes texts and data included for £5 a day, which is fine.
     
  12. the-evaluator

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 24, 2015

    Posts: 1,113

    Mobile coverage in China is amazing, I think I had a 4G signal pretty much everywhere including on the train journey from Beijing to Dandong.
     
  13. UberTiger

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 1, 2008

    Posts: 2,514

    Good to know, as long as the sites you're trying to access aren't blocked!
     
  14. the-evaluator

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 24, 2015

    Posts: 1,113

    If you're using a mobile network then nothing is blocked as the traffic is backhauled over to the UK and out of your mobile providers connection. Well, that's how it was for me with my EE and Vodafone mobiles.
     
  15. UberTiger

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 1, 2008

    Posts: 2,514

    So does that mean you can use your phone to access Gmail through the iOS mail app if on cellular? Or tether your laptop through your phone and get full internet access?
     
  16. the-evaluator

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 24, 2015

    Posts: 1,113

    I could definitely access Gmail through the iOS mail app when using 4G. No reason why a tethered laptop wouldn't have full internet access that I can think of but I didn't test as I didn't take my laptop with me, just my iPhone and iPad.
     
  17. WJA96

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 13, 2005

    Posts: 13,486

    Location: Norfolk, South Scotland

    I worked in a food factory for four months and stayed mainly in their “secure” compound. Their IT people were VERY strict and told me dozens of horror stories of foreigners being hacked by Chinese state security services just simply because they wanted to test themselves against non-Chinese security systems.