by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 19th 2008 11:53am
Over the last few weeks, there's been a big scandal in Hong Kong concerning photos of certain celebrities caught in various states of undress and various "adult" activities. The police in Hong Kong have had some trouble dealing with this, apparently first claiming that anyone possessing these images was breaking the law and then bungling an investigation into who leaked the images. Now, to top that off, the Chinese government is "censuring" the popular search engine Baidu for allowing people to find these controversial images. It's not entirely clear how the government expects Baidu to simply know that these pictures are illegal and to stop people from finding them, but as we've seen, that's the method by which the Chinese government enforces its censorship -- not by explicitly stating what needs to be banned, but by telling search engines and ISPs that they'll get in trouble if they allow anything "bad" to get through. That leads to aggressively blocking anything that the ISPs or search engines feel might get them in trouble. Of course, to make that work, the government occasionally does need to publicly scold some of the firms for failing, even in doing the impossible, as that gives increased motivation for everyone else to just keep on blocking stuff.
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