Russia And China Both Want To 'Protect Children'; Both Want To Do It By Increasing Censorship

from the what-about-protecting-rights? dept

As expected, Russia has passed a law that will allow Web sites to be blacklisted, ostensibly to “protect children”. According to this AFP report, the very vague “harmful information” category has been narrowed somewhat, but future threats remain:

Russian newspapers said Wednesday the final version has specified a previously broad term of “harmful information”, saying only child pornography, suicide how-to instructions and drugs propaganda can lead to website closure without a trial.

However, an expert on Russia’s security services, Andrei Soldatov, said the bill would lead to creation of a mechanism for blocking foreign sites for the first time by forcing Internet providers to install special equipment.

As the UK experience shows, once the technology is in place to block child pornography, say, the calls to deploy it for things like alleged copyright infringement become more insistent.

China, of course, already exercises pretty tight control over all forms of media, but it seems it wants to lock down online activity even more:

China’s broadcasting and Internet regulators have told Internet video providers that they must prescreen all programs before making them available, tightening state censorship of increasingly popular online drama series and mini-movies.

Prescreening all uploaded videos might seem a tall order, but it’s already going on with some services:

A woman working in the public relations office for Youku, China’s most popular online video provider, said Wednesday the new decree had little impact on the company because Youku already has hundreds of prescreeners who examine all content uploaded to the site.

You can probably guess what justification China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) is using for this move:

SARFT said this week in a statement on its website that the rule is in response to the rapid growth in online video programs, some of which it said contain vulgar content, excessive violence or pornography. It said the rule would protect younger people and promote high-quality online programs.

It’s so nice to know that governments everywhere are united by this desire to protect children; pity they seem equally united in not caring about the erosion of people’s rights through the ever-deepening censorship they apply as a result.

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Comments on “Russia And China Both Want To 'Protect Children'; Both Want To Do It By Increasing Censorship”

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19 Comments
Zakida Paul says:

The real scandal in all of this?

Is that these people who pretend to represent the people of their countries are using children to further their agenda. All I can say is please do not be brainwashed by their rhetoric because they do not give a damn about the children. Not as much as they care about controlling their citizens through controlling the Internet, at any rate.

Rikuo (profile) says:

If these videos are so evil that they must be pre-screened…what about the pre-screeners? What’s protecting them from the evilness in the videos? Are they somehow magically unaffected by the pornography, curse-words and other evilness?
If they’re unaffected…then it means the videos they watch aren’t as evil as they claim.
If they are affected…who would trust the word of someone whose mind has been warped?

Anonymous Coward says:

and where did they get the idea from of increasing internet censorship? the thick fucking US and UK governments! the very governments that condemn on the one hand any form of censorship, invasion of privacy and eroding of human rights and the governments that carry out these practices, whilst on the other hand actually take these practices to levels greater than the countries they condemn do atm! how friggin crazy is that? just to add more stupidity into the equation, they are going to further condemn the increases in censorship these countries are going to implement and the probable increase in citizen maltreatment, after having done so themselves already. which other supposed democratic countries spy on just about every movement of all citizens? the US! which country locks you up for password protecting your data, then condemns you for not protecting it? the UK! you cant get much more hypocritical than this!!

Wolfy says:

It’s probably already been said here, but Russia and China have been the only thing between Syria’s Assad and the World Court in the Hague.

They both want to preserve the “right” of governments to massacre or enslave their populations as they choose. Russia just passed extremely harsh new laws that will stifle accurate reporting and effective political opposition. They’ve also passed a law requiring anyone working for an NGO to register as an “agent of a foreign power”.

vegetaman says:

It's simple...

“The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

Also, there’s this whole misnomer about legislating morality because “just a little bit will protect us”… Something about the path to hell being paved with good intentions (though apparently near-sighted and foolish ones, at that)?

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