If ACTA Gets Approved, Expect China To Use It As Justification For Censorship

from the just-watch-and-see... dept

While one of ACTA's biggest supporters, Rep. Howard Berman, is now pushing for laws to stop companies aiding in China's censorship, he might want to consider that a better plan would be to back down on ACTA. If ACTA passes, it seems quite likely that China would then use it as justification for its own "great firewall" censorship program. Already, we're seeing that China is looking to use plans for internet filters in Australia to its own advantage by comparing that system to its own -- and you can bet China would be thrilled to be able to use a US-backed concept to support its continued censorship.

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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: acta, censorship, china

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    crade (profile), 19 Mar 2010 @ 10:10am

    Careful what you wish for. The campaign contributers would likely be willing to sacrifice the U.S.'s views on censorship in order to get China to buy into ACTA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2010 @ 10:31am

    ACTA, the Anti-Consumer Trade Agreement being negotiated in secret for the benefit of the IP industries.

    IP, or Imaginary Privilege.

    Governments are for the people and by the people, right? And corporations are people? I guess this all makes sense then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 19 Mar 2010 @ 10:59am

    Dude that is brilliant !!!

    Totally brilliant! Unintended Consequences are a wonderful thing at times. IMHO this will lead to china ramping its censorship up to even higher levels. After all they will be allowed to by international agreement.

    The countries that are already going down the route of stifling free speech, censoring the internet, holding secondary parties liable for the actions of others, are going to have justification to expand. The consequences to people of Italy, Britain, France, Venuzeula, Iran, Australia, South Korea, etc are going to be extreme.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), 19 Mar 2010 @ 11:31am

    Re: Dude that is brilliant !!!

    People don't revolt until everything gets really bad... so, yeah--bring the pain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 19 Mar 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Dude that is brilliant !!!

    Actually what I am counting on is an escalation to criminal charges for downloading files and photocopying. This will cause a very fast major evolution in encryption, VPN's, and secure private communications. It will also lead to more people infringing more as they feel bullet proof and less likely to be caught.

    In the end it will basically make all internet censorship laws obsolete, and remove any governments ability to spy on individuals online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, 19 Mar 2010 @ 4:21pm

    either way china wont buy into ACTA

    and thre still going to filter and censor.

    @Hephaestus Britain solved this requiring people that use encryption to BUY a certification and that header will identify you. IT also gives authorities the ability TO DECRYPT.

    Anyone toughting as you do is just trying to get us all herded like cattle so you can slaughter itall.
    BETTER TO DIE NOW FIGHTING then wait and get beat over and over for it.

    VPNS you say, then the govt that controls them comes in drops spyware on your SSH keys that opens you up like a can a worms.

    OVH the french seedbox host was caught doing it
    there are other ways too.

    thats like putting a lock on your mail box. I CAN STILL SEE IT and if i have a key i can see whats inside.
    this van pulls up to the side fo the house start sniffing your data
    they go off and use the voltage hack on rsa encryption and....again...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    bikey, 20 Mar 2010 @ 1:57pm


    Censorship in China? Look home lads. Ever ask yourself why not one single US newspaper reported that the EU Parliament voted two weeks ago, 630 to 13, to essentially reject ACTA in its present secret form (i.e. it called for making provisions public and said it would not authorize the ratification of anything that was not already legal in the EU)? Not a single newspaper? That's not censorship, not at all. That's just catering to a moronic population who wouldn't be able to understand anyway (even if they knew what ACTA and/or the EU were). Why is it that any time we don't like something, but can't do anything about it, we turn to China and say that it would enable them to.... whatever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Any Mouse, 21 Mar 2010 @ 4:52am

    Re: ACTA

    Yes, because the US papers are so much worse than the EU's, right? The US is this big demon that everyone must look down upon. Look to your own homes, first. Let us worry about our's.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Cestin, 10 Jul 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Fight ACTA, join the Internet Freedom Movement. (IFM)

    IRC http://n0v4.com/irc.web.php?channel=antiactaplanning

    Site http://anti-acta.com/

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    leizi018 (profile), 6 Aug 2010 @ 11:20pm

    Polo Ralph Lauren

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Andrew Rodriguez, 7 Sep 2010 @ 8:01pm

    What is this world coming to?

    I think its going to get to the point where everything is going to be censored everywhere... internet, radio (even more than now), i think if they could they probably would censor books.... this world is crazy... people are better off moving to a small island where nothing is affected :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)


Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.