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.