Well, at least as far as getting reasonably unrestricted access to the Internet is concerned it does. It had been widely reported that the Chinese authorities had backtracked on their promises to the IOC that reporters would get free and unrestricted access to the Internet during the games. This, no surprises here, turned into something into a media explosion of fury around the free world. It did not take long, with the opening ceremony looming, for the Chinese to backbacktrack, if you will allow such a concept. As our own Guy Clapperton reported last week, the Chinese opened up that Internet access for reporters.
Unfortunately, it remains far from being unrestricted even for authorised reporters. Still, it is a damn site better than your average Chinese citizen is allowed. Then there is the small matter of who is watching where you go online, and in China the chances of being monitored are pretty good I would imagine.
Unless, that is, you have a $30 gadget from Germany. The Freedom Stick is a USB dongle which comes preloaded with a host, no pun intended, of TOR Network software which acts like a stick of dynamite stuffed into the Great Firewall of China.
What it does, quite simply, is cloak the connection and route your traffic all over the place in order to fool anything trying to monitor your online activity. Stick it into an available USB slot, avoid getting caught by a secret policeman looking over your shoulder, and Robert is Mother's Brother.
It is, to be fair, something of a gimmick. Albeit a good one. I say this as it appears to be available only until the Olympics finish. Oh, and it produced by the infamous Chaos Computer Club in Germany.
If I was covering the Olympics from Beijing, I think I might be tempted...