China Centralizes The Great Firewall Into Single Censorship Body

from the well-how-about-that dept

There have been numerous articles about how the Great Firewall of China functions, and it's generally been done via a series of bureaucracies, combined with tens of thousands of government employees along with a bunch of "volunteers." The process also involves somewhat vague messages to ISPs about what sort of content is concerning to the government, leading those ISPs to block broadly to avoid liability. However, this structure is apparently a bit too chaotic, and Vic alerts us to the news that China is now centralizing its internet censorship apparatus. Apparently, part of the reason for this was that two of the separate agencies who helped manage the censorship campaign got into a disagreement over who had the right to regulate World of Warcraft. So, the Chinese response: build one big bureaucracy, called the State Internet Information Office, which will have broad powers to "direct, coordinate and supervise online content management and handle administrative approval of businesses related to online news reporting."

Among its listed duties? "To investigate and punish websites violating laws and regulations." Yeah, the Great Firewall is dead... long live the Great Firewall. It will be interesting to see if this leads to any noticeable changes, but some are already warning that with a centralized organization running this, there may be greater crackdowns and fewer loopholes going forward. Either way, it'll be worth watching to see how this new organization handles its online censorship duties.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    fogbugzd (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 11:33pm

    It's nice to see we are ahead of China on something. We have already centralized US censorship authority in ICE.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2011 @ 1:35am


    nah, they are leaps are bound ahead, they can knock off whole sections at once, we can only take out certain handfulls

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

  3. icon
    Ajax4Hire (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 5:31am

    The more you tighten your grip

    Princess Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers

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

  4. identicon
    vic williams, May 6th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Well, it's Walls. Plural


    Even the Great Wall is a set of walls. New and old. Everywhere you go in China walls set things apart. It's related to (see wikipedia) hukou, and Confucian 'control freakism'.

    The wall might start in the building you are living in, inside China. A security guy (who might also play with the doors to keep you out of your own place sometimes, if it's a common electronic door) will adjust things. And change them if a local company having a difficulty with you nudges him a bit. One implicitly asked for double payment in Guangzhou so I bypassed with a cell modem, which had it's own differing electronic walls - they often want to foist a Chinese homepage on you, and market and limit choices from it.

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

  5. icon
    Bin4ry.Ninj4 (profile), May 6th, 2011 @ 6:56am

    A Step Backwards

    This will be a major role in The Great Firewall's downfall. The fact that there were different agencies dedicated to keeping the firewall up and running made it twice as hard to take down and get past. Now that its going to managed by one agency all it will take will be one or two major leaks to enable more people to get through it. There's already many projects dedicated to getting around and breaking through the firewall, I wouldn't be surprised if they already have someone working on the inside waiting for the right moment. Then again an distributed DNS solution would make the firewall useless.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2011 @ 7:47am

    I say we burn the great firewall of China ;)

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2011 @ 7:48am


    (after all, you must fight fire with fire).

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

  8. identicon
    Liz, May 6th, 2011 @ 8:07am

    Cue Chinese Censorship Minister getting caught taking a bribe while watching porn in 3... 2... 1...

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

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