If ACTA Gets Approved, Expect China To Use It As Justification For Censorship
from the just-watch-and-see... dept
In the past, China has justified its internet censorship by saying things along the lines of, "well, you in the US have laws against obscenity online, and what we're doing is passing laws against the type of content we feel does not belong online either." But something like ACTA could make the case much stronger for the Chinese. That's because ACTA and China's censorship have a lot in common, in that they're both plans that involve vague secondary liability aspects applied to ISPs. That is, China's Great Firewall works by the government telling ISPs that they might get in trouble if anyone says anything "bad" online, and are given just vague rules about how to stop the bad. Thus, the ISPs respond by being overly aggressive in their enforcement. Similarly, ACTA hints at vague secondary liability safe harbors needed for an ISP not to get blamed for copyright infringement -- and, as we've seen, when such vague rules were implemented in South Korea, service providers start getting overly aggressive in banning things as well.
So if Howard Berman really wants to crack down on Chinese censorship online, perhaps he shouldn't be working so hard towards giving them more justification for China's actions.