Anti-censorship campaigners have found a novel way of scaling the Great Firewall of China: printing QR codes on bank notes which, when scanned, take people to a site where they can download software that bypasses the country's Internet access restrictions.
According to the Epoch Times, a woman called Mrs. Wu recently noticed something odd about the four one yuan notes in her change at a supermarket in Wuhan. The notes all had QR codes stamped in the top right hand corner, along with the words "Scan and download software to break the Internet firewall."
When the code is scanned with a mobile phone (as device all Chinese people, reportedly, have...particularly now that Apple has teamed up with China Mobile to flog iPhones in the PRC), it directs the user to an Amazon cloud link where software can be downloaded to bypass China's strict Internet censorship. According to the Epoch Times, the QR codes can be downloaded by anyone from a site owned by Dynamic Internet Technology, the firm behind the Freegate firewall-busting software.
The stamps encode a URL for Freegate, a firewall-busting service. The stamps are widely suspected to be the work of Falun Gong. Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline, outlawed in China, which has a history of putting messages on money. They've been accused in the past of Serin gas attacks and generally been targets of the Chinese government's PR machine. As a result,, they have a notable history of actively fighting China's censorship laws and activities.
BoingBoing.net reports that his isn't the first time that anti-corruption messages have been circulated through defaced currency: Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's fame runs the Stamp Stampede, which stamps messages condemning the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which opened the floodgates of unlimited, anonymous political campaign spending.