The List Of Internet Censoring Countries The MPAA Thinks Provide A Good Example For The US

from the um,-really? dept

As we continue the fight over SOPA and PROTECT IP (PIPA), the MPAA and the politicians supporting these bills are ratcheting up the ridiculousness. You may recall that we recently highlighted the absolutely ridiculous paper by Daniel Castro for the shill shop ITIF, supposedly responding to SOPA/PIPA critics, but really showing just how weak and ridiculous the arguments on the pro-censorship side are. One of the points Castro raises is that DNS filtering “works.” How does he know? Because, he points out, thirteen countries already do DNS filtering and research from Harvard suggests not too many people try to get around the filters.

Of course, Castro doesn’t happen to name those thirteen countries, so you have to go digging for them, which is how you come up with the following list:

  • China
  • Iran
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Armenia
  • Ethiopia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen
  • Bahrain
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Syria
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam

Yes, it’s a sort of a who’s who of the most repressive regimes on the planet. I think the only reason North Korea didn’t make the list is because no one has internet access there. So this raises two key points. Perhaps the reason the filtering has worked in those countries, and not too many people try to get around the filters, is because they know if they’re caught, they might get locked up or killed.

But, more to the point: is this really the list of countries that Lamar Smith, Patrick Leahy, the MPAA and Daniel Castro think that the US ought to go about emulating? Really?

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Comments on “The List Of Internet Censoring Countries The MPAA Thinks Provide A Good Example For The US”

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142 Comments
average_joe (profile) says:

But, more to the point: is this really the list of countries that Lamar Smith, Patrick Leahy, the MPAA and Daniel Castro think that the US ought to go about emulating? Really?

Comparing the United States and its enforcement of intellectual property rights on the internet to those countries that practice actual censorship, i.e., governmental blocking of speech because of the message being conveyed, is idiotic. You obviously have no shame, Mike. Nonetheless, shame on you for continuing with the over-the-top rhetorical nonsense.

average_ioe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If AJ took the time to read more than the last line and glance at the list of countries then he wouldn’t get to post first.

thirteen countries already do DNS filtering

Is what the text was about, “governmental blocking of speech” is what you inferred when you read the list, as you should have. And that you make the link in your head immediately and comment on it is more telling than any propaganda Mike may be putting forth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

How exactly is it idiotic? Do you really don’t think it’s possible that laws like SOPA could be abused to suppress normally protected speech?

It is idiotic. SOPA only addresses foreign sites. US law allows remedies against domestic sites already. The absurd notion that the US will engage in political censorship is beyond idiotic. The tools are there already. But aren’t being used. Those countries listed above are using blocking to stifle political speech. Castro’s point is that the same set of tools can be used to stop infringing. Just like a gun can be used to hunt deer or kill people. The tool is not inherently good or bad, only its usage. Nice try linking the bills to dictatorships. But no one buys it, and everyone realizes it another act of futile desperation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

des?per?ate
   [des-per-it, -prit
adjective
1. reckless or dangerous because of despair or urgency: a desperate killer.
2. having an urgent need, desire, etc.: desperate for attention.
3. leaving little or no hope; very serious or dangerous: a desperate illness.
4. extremely bad; intolerable or shocking: clothes in desperate taste.
5. extreme or excessive.

Yes, those opposing SOPA are desperate. We wish to avoid reckless, dangerous, extremely bad, intolerable, excessive legislation.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The bill links itself to dictatorships, evens it’s supporters bring the link up, don’t blame Mike for it.

The tools they have in place now are indeed already being used, and if they get China’s stronger censorship tools, they will be used too. They will use them in any way that they want, since they have control of them. You’re right, a gun by itself isn’t evil. That doesn’t mean we need the mafiaa and their stooge government reps pointing them at us.

Loki says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The absurd notion that the US will engage in political censorship is beyond idiotic. The tools are there already. But aren’t being used.

You must not pay a lot of attention to the outside world. They are used all the time. Some of those abuses have get posted to Youtube all the time. Some of them have even been written about on this site.

Those countries listed above are using blocking to stifle political speech. Castro’s point is that the same set of tools can be used to stop infringing. Just like a gun can be used to hunt deer or kill people.

The tools only “work” because of the very real fear of possible torture or death. Without that fear, those tools would be effectively useless.

Just like a gun can be used to hunt deer or kill people. The tool is not inherently good or bad, only its usage.

Willfully ignoring that some people actually use guns to kill people. Every tool ever invented has been abused by someone. Every law ever crafted has been abused by someone. So when people point out the numerous ways this bill might be abused, or misinterpreted, and we hear “nobody would ever do that” pardon the rest of us if we don’t believe them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“The absurd notion that the US will engage in political censorship is beyond idiotic.”

Says you. Me, I say that we can gauge what corporations will do with this power by looking at what they’ve done when given too much power in the past. And what they’ve done in the past is remarkably consistent: they’ve abused it for their financial gain. It’s hardly idiotic to expect such behavior this time around too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, AC, when given the chance to amend the bill to specifically say that only foreign sites were to be affected, Rep Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said that the intent is that foreign sites were going to be affected and they didn’t need further clarification. So if the bill doesn’t specifically say it, how easy will it be for it to start coming after domestic users? Just as easy as it is to use the Patriot Act, which is to say, a lot.

ricebowl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

In what way is Mike being shameful? It appears that some senators, and chief executives, believe that DNS filtering is possible/achievable because of implementation of the same by repressive regimes.

This is true, regardless of the impetus behind that filtering by those regimes.

I, personally, would not want my elected representatives aligning my country with such regimes, rather that they should set a higher standard for us, we should aim to be the best (for a given value of ‘best’), rather than look to the morass for the sake of easy fund-raising, and the potential for a future job as lobbyist.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:


Comparing the United States and its enforcement of intellectual property rights on the internet to those countries that practice actual censorship, i.e., governmental blocking of speech because of the message being conveyed,

Clearly intellectual property enforcement overlaps political censorship – as numerous abuses of the DMCA (most recently by UMG wrt Megaupload – but also on many occasions by the so called “Church” of Scientology) have demonstrated.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And you are quite cute if you think that giving our government the ability to censor material at the request of someone will not be abused in any way, shape, or form. You must think the NDAA was a great idea too. I sincerely hope you are not the “average joe”, because you represent the people that are ignorantly letting our freedom die at the hands of money.

pho3nixf1re (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually, there is nothing over-the-top about it. Creating a government controlled system of ‘censoring’ anything, legal or not, puts it at their fingertips. All that would be stopping them is their self-control, which is proven to be less than reliable lately. It’s best if we don’t touch this with a proverbial 10-foot pole, the potential for current, more or less future, abuse is very real and very threatening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“You obviously have no shame, Mike. Nonetheless, shame on you for continuing with the over-the-top rhetorical nonsense.”

Agreed. Mike, you have reached a point where not only are you trying to hard, but you are actually starting to hurt your cause.

Even a simple minded person can understand that SOPA doesn’t make the US repressive like China. Why you even try to go there is beyond me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What rights exactly are being “stolen”? Your right to pirate? your rights to their work? Your rights to not pay for anything?

Sorry, I missed something – what rights are being taken away? Don’t say “free speech” because trafficking in pirated and counterfeit goods isn’t protected speech, sorry!

ricebowl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

One would presume that the right to free speech on a platform to which another, unrelated user, has posted potentially infringing materials (since innocence must be proven, ‘fair use’ seems to be disregarded, until proven).

So…free speech on any platform not owned by the person speaking (since all other platforms, that allow user-submission, may well be blocked because of the scope of action allowed by SOPA and PIPA) is being ‘stolen,’ or, rather, denied.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Your free speech is not protected without limits. When it is used by someone else as a sort of “human shield” for their illegal activities, it will sadly sometimes get taken out when the law steps in. My advice is to use platforms that you feel comfortable in, preferably your own.

There is no legal assurance of free speech at all times, in all places, on all privately owned “platforms”. Sorry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes. I also know that the courts have long ruled that some protected speech may be hurt in the process of stopping illegal or unprotected speech.

I am a big believer in the idea that you should know where you are posting, where you are hanging out, and not to hang out in an “internet crack house” and expect not to get hassled by the law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

But under SOPA, you’ll have to judge more than whether a site is one that in used for infringing purposes. You’ll also have to make sure the site isn’t one that a competitor wants to shut down, because regardless of whether a site is used for infringement or not, the law will certainly be used by companies to shut down sites they don’t like.

yeah says:

Re: Re: Re:

he acts like we put send the military to arrest our people and hold them indefinately without trial.

oh wait.

well at least we dont try to charge people with treason for doing things like stopping massacres in far east villiges like that one helicopter pilo-

no we tried to do that too…

hey! we never put civil rights leaders in-

no….

well our politicians have never accepted a-

……

thats what people think when you open your bribed out the ### mouth.

the artist dont support you.

the people dont support you.

you are an un american shill that loves the hell out of repressive regimes and you even suck at hiding that.

why dont you and below adverage joe go help them? and while your at it take the entire damn political system with you.

i remember when people used to get hanged for doing things like this…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Comparing the United States and its enforcement of intellectual property rights on the internet to those countries that practice actual censorship, i.e., governmental blocking of speech because of the message being conveyed, is idiotic. You obviously have no shame, Mike. Nonetheless, shame on you for continuing with the over-the-top rhetorical nonsense.”

Then why doesn’t Castro list the countries he’s referring to, boy?
Because he doesn’t DARE!

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

> Comparing the United States and its
> enforcement of intellectual property rights
> on the internet to those countries that
> practice actual censorship is idiotic.

It isn’t Mike that’s making the comparison, genius. It’s Castro and his friends at the **AAs.

> You obviously have no shame, Mike.

You mean like the shame you should have for completely misconstruing the article and placing the blame for the comparison on someone who points it out rather than the person who actually made it?

average_joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It isn’t Mike that’s making the comparison, genius. It’s Castro and his friends at the **AAs.

The part of the article I quoted is Mike asking if we really want to be compared to those countries. I’m tying that statement in with Mike’s general position that this is censorship and we’re just like China. I wasn’t confusing Mike’s argument for Castro’s, but thanks for recognizing my “genius.”

You mean like the shame you should have for completely misconstruing the article and placing the blame for the comparison on someone who points it out rather than the person who actually made it?

The one misconstruing my post is you. Nice try though. Maybe you’re “get me” next time.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Nothing particulary rhetorical or nonsensical about it. DNS filtering based on a complaint only without due process IS censorship.
Kinda like when Boston banned Lady Chatterly’s Lover because it might, just might, mind you, offend someone. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, shits like a duck and drops feathers everywhere like a duck it must then be a duck no matter what else you want to call it.
Add to that the notion that not too many get around the filters, as we found from the demonstrations in Iran recently it doesn’t take many to get through or to get the message out or other ones in. Just because it’s not often does doesn’t mean that it isn’t done.
If it isn’t done, say, in China, then a large number of people in Shanghai must be psychic because they know far top much about things The Great Firewall of Chine filters out to be otherwise. Things business people in Shanghai need to know to do business but that bureaucrats in Beijing think might undermine the regime but the business people consider vital for their business. As long as they don’t act on that knowledge politically everyone is happy, particularly if they make tons of money which makes other bureaucrats in Beijing very, very happy.
(Before you ask yes, I’m suggesting that in China you buy bureaucrats to keep you and your business “safe” rather than the western model of buying influential politicians. It all comes out the same in the end.)
I hope you’re enjoying your time off from law school, AJ, and I definitely hope you write papers with better arguments in them than your posts here.

average_joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nothing particulary rhetorical or nonsensical about it. DNS filtering based on a complaint only without due process IS censorship.

Censorship is not a function of due process. It’s censorship whether there’s due process or not (under the broad definition of the word). Comparing this to China or North Korea is ridiculous because the kind of censorship that goes on there is different. Pretending for even one second that SOPA brings about that kind of censorship undermines the problems of actual censorship. It’s intentional, over-the-top rhetoric from Mike. Apparently he feels he can’t get his message across without sounding like a conspiracy theorist or a writer for the National Enquirer.

I hope you’re enjoying your time off from law school, AJ, and I definitely hope you write papers with better arguments in them than your posts here.

Snore.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Agreed. Censorship is not a function of due process. Due process denied can and often does lead to such nasty things as censorship.

When a private person can complain something is “infringing” without notice and notification and a web site is sjhut down and its funding cut off IS a denial of due process whether or not it’s dubiously legal because it’s in SOPA/PIPA.

And no, I’m not comparing the States to China or North Korea but you’ve fixated on that. The point of that comparison is to show you, and others, the fine, upstanding select company the United States will be in when it starts DNS filtering should these bills pass and become law.

It doesn’t undermine the problems of real censorship. Denial that something could lead to that result undermines it, mind you. Recent history illustrates that well enough (and to me recent is the last 300 years. say, from the beginning of the Enlightenment to the present).

And I’m glad I was able to help you on your way to your nap. At least it got a cogent response from you even if I strongly disagree on every point you raise.

Now, at least we can have a discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

When a private person can complain something is “infringing” without notice and notification and a web site is sjhut down and its funding cut off IS a denial of due process whether or not it’s dubiously legal because it’s in SOPA/PIPA.

This statement is simply untrue. Only DOJ can “shut down” a site and that process requires notice (affording a hearing if site owner wishes) and conducted under existing US civil law procedures.

Suspension of payment services also requires a court order and provides another opportunity for a hearing before being invoked. Today, under current US law and the terms of service of every payment processor, a foreign or domestic website can be suspended over allegations of infringing or counterfeiting.

John, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

As the DOJ would be notifying a foreign hosted web site that would then have to appear in an American court would by any stretch of the imagination seen as an attempt by the United States to apply the law extra-territorially which is, at best invalid under intentional law and certainly one, if the shoe was on the other foot, the Untied States would correctly object to and loudly.

If I’m factually wrong on one item I apologize but only by a little. There is no valid process serving on any civil law complaints anywhere internationally that I’m aware of and only rarely in criminal cases. So to that extent I stand on the statement of no notification (valid and legal notification if you prefer) but I stand on that statement. United States civil or criminal courts have no jurisdiction outside of the United States, it’s territories and possessions. None. Zero.

As for the company the United States gets to keep in doing DNS filtering, well, you do get judged, rightly or wrongly by the company you keep. And it this case it’s not good company for a country founded on and still insistent on freedom and liberty in a large number of those it’s now keeping company with.

If you cant’ see the disconnect, I can’t help you.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“””Comparing this to China or North Korea is ridiculous because the kind of censorship that goes on there is different. Pretending for even one second that SOPA brings about that kind of censorship undermines the problems of actual censorship.”””

Pretending for even one second that, if either of these shitty laws pass, that they won’t be abused to censor websites that your lot claims over and over won’t be targeted makes you simply a liar. In my opinion you have sunk as low as you can go, and you no longer have anything reasonable to offer to a sane conversation.

Tony says:

Re: Re:

Idiotic? I think you are being way too harsh and should pay closer attention to history.

Remember the National Security letters. Remember the debacle when it was discovered that the FBI was using them when they had no justification to do so? Remember the warrantless wiretapping program (where AT&T gave the NSA unlimited access to internet traffic without judicial oversight) that went undiscovered until a whistle blower finally went to the media? More recently our government has begun to seize domains of alleged copyright violators and, in the process, has brought down hundreds of websites that have nothing to do with the alleged infringement. What about the music blog dajaz1.com? It was seized by ICE for over a year. Despite constant attempts to rectify the situation by the owner and his attorney they were never able to get an answer from the government, never went before a judge, never saw a warrant, never got a straight answer as to why the site was seized. A year later the government dropped the case and returned ownership of the site to the original owner with no explanation whatsoever. It never hosted any infringing materials.

My point is this: If you give them power they will abuse it. It doesn’t matter what it’s intended purpose, if you make it available it will be used and misused.

Anonymous Coward says:

China has been trying to get even more oppressive against the Internet lately, by considering a law forcing blogers to use their real names on the Internet, so that they can go after anyone who speaks against the government on the Internet. You see, China didn’t like all the criticism they got on the Internet for their poor reaction to a really bad high speed train crash a few months ago.

Also I believe that only the leaders and the really rich can afford Internet access & computers in North Korea.

crade (profile) says:

I can attest that it doesn’t work too well in Vietnam, I was just over there and facebook stopped working for me (not right away, but after a while being in vietnam) and I wasted time troubleshooting only to find that they were (probably) blocking it deliberately. I didn’t get any notification or anything, it just kinds stopped refreshing properly after a few days and some things worked and some didn’t. It sure wasn’t what I would point to as a success story in website blocking. Also, btw, their propoganda is way over the top there to the point of being comical.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: My question is

Because the real end game in all of this is control. The **AAs want the control they used to have over marketing and distribution in the pre-internet days, while some politicians like the idea of control over political speech and discourse. Dictatorships and other oppressive regimes are attractive to people who think like that. The question is whether you let them take control of your country.

Anonymous Coward says:

Even a simple minded person can understand that SOPA doesn’t make the US repressive like China.

Sopa enables it, that’s the problem. By extending the patriot act the government has already shown it won’t relinquish power if they get there hands on it and there are several cases where they use it in manners that were not intended by the bill.

If it can be abused, it will be abused. always.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No, it’s not a reason to loathe the United States. It’s reason to feel sad and apprehensive. When the country most responsible for our current notions of what democracy, freedom, liberty and free speech start to legislate to remove or reduce those values it won’t be long before we all lose it or worse.
No, this isn’t America’s first foray into real or probable censorship it is, outside of wartime, the first time it’s been supported by the highest offices in the States. Before it was just publisher and motion pictures and recordings that had to dance around certain things and discussions or a temporary aberration like the 1950’s witch hunts. (I do miss the train going into the tunnel at full steam at the climax of love scenes though! )
No, it’s a time for sadness and a time to express support for Americans opposed to this kind of erosion. Particularly when the other side of the discussion is carried by people acting on behalf of private commercial gain instead of the public good or by spreading needless fear and anxiety as what is happening now with the Patriot Act.
You don’t defend liberty by taking it away. No matter the excuse for doing so.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

First Scott Cleland and now George Ou.

This is starting to feel like old home week from the SCO vs Novell, IBM, Linux as a whole, and the rest of the planet where Ou, like Cleland, had awarded SCO a victory long before it died, well, just because what SCO said HAD to be true.

Technically Ou was as out to lunch there than he is in this this article. Ou, like those he accuses of being wrong is acting as much on faith as he does on technical reality.

Kinda like a loosely worded paragraph offered up an an amendment, for example, will have any practical value where DNSSEC is concerned. We know how well that works when we encounter the subspecies of bureaucrat called East Texas patent court judges. Keeping in mind that a bureaucracy’s only goal is to grow and expand itself.

Ou’s taking to task the very people who wrote DNS and DNSSEC would be amusing except that someone will actually take him seriously. FINALLY, they’ll say, a techie that agrees with us! Except that Ou’s opinions are for sale to the highest bidder if his track record is any indication.

Oh, and most people landing on at least some of these sites are “victims” is nice turn of events in all of this. Except, except that SOPA won’t slow the sales of counterfeit drugs any more than it will slow “infringement” of Hollywood’s mostly questionable products. And I say that more with sadness than any sort of smug happiness. Until drug prices come down to earth people will go looking for the best deal they can find and, if desperate enough, even unbelievable deals. What was fairly open will go underground, complete with code words and phrases and the whack a mole game will really start in earnest. Desperate people will still find those drugs, and desperate people will continue to die or be crippled by the effects of those fakes. But it’s not gonna stop it.
Just what part of that reality do you and other supporters of SOPA/PIPA not understand?
Oh, that now welfare case in a chronic care bed till s/he dies because s/he deserves it cause their a criminal?
That Hollywood will be back in a year of two wanting more, like any good addict, of a their legislation drug cause their earnings still don’t match what they THINK the earnings should be? (All while they continue to move heaven and earth NOT to pay the creative people they constantly say they’re representing?)

Just John (profile) says:

Doesn't work well in China

The ironic part is that they post about how well it works in these other countries.

The fact is, they do not even seem to know what they are talking about.

In China, talk to anyone who uses the computer in a regular basis to find a way to get around the Great Firewall of China.

We use VPNs, proxies, DNS redirects, and other enhancements.

Try this link to see about how they block. It is China’s most popular search engine, and it shows how China has blocked speech it doesn’t like (In this example, it is a search for “Tankman”, which is an illegal topic in China). Similar to the way the US government has attempted to block Wikileaks.

Now, try this link, which is a simple Google search on how to bypass the Great firewall of China. You will notice it is rather easy to do as you delve into it (But warning, if you get caught, you can get in trouble). Here is one of the better articles that goes to show the ultimate futility.

It just goes to show that all of this will ultimately fail. Lets face it, Castro is wrong. It does not work. Maybe our grandparents will not be able to get around it, but I guarantee your kids will.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Doesn't work well in China

Really? What, “wave a magic wand and it’ll diappear!”?

Yeah, right! That might work in Vegas, but the Internet knows. And it remembers. When Skynet finally DOES go live, the first thing it’ll do is kill those that understand how it works – it’ll leave the politicos and the ignorant for ruling over.

TPBGirl (user link) says:

Well Obama always wanted to have a Beerfest with Iran and Joe Biden just said this week that the Taliban is NOT our enemy, so if you listen to our ass backwards, anti-american politicians… the 13 countries listed above are a GREAT examples. lol

Seriously, MPAA has crap for evidence of any damn thing they claim. Its becoming so bad, you just want to reach out and slap the hell out of the idiot who comes up with there arguements, statistics, and studies.

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