China Ramps Up Online Censorship Efforts As US Congress Gives Them Perfect Cover

from the this-is-what-we're-allowing dept

As the US seeks to set up its own "Great Firewall" by copying Chinese censorship techniques in the twin bills SOPA and PROTECT IP (PIPA), it appears that China is doing exactly as you would expect when you give a government the tools to censor the internet: it keeps ramping up the censorship. Specifically, it's requiring anyone who uses the local equivalents of Twitter, like Sina Weibo, to register with their real names, which then have to be verified by the government. Then, they're banning the posting of anything the government deems to be "harmful information."

Now, I know that every time we compare SOPA/PIPA to the Great Firewall, the defenders of those bills twist themselves into contortions to explain why it's totally different because US censorship is about "intellectual property" and Chinese censorship is about "political repression." Yeah. Ok. But if you look at what China says, of course they don't say it's about political repression -- they say it's about "harmful information." Kinda like SOPA/PIPA's focus on "rogue sites," right? It's all in how you define it, but the fact is that they're both forms of censorship, and when you open the door to that in the US, you don't want to see where it ends.

And, of course, the State Department -- despite all its rhetoric about "Internet Freedom" -- can't do a damn thing, because the second they say anything to the Chinese, the Chinese point to SOPA/PIPA and say: "Look, you consider copyright infringement to be harmful to the US. We consider people disrespecting our leaders as harmful to China. What's the difference?" And, honestly, the State Department has no credible response. This is why we've been hearing from multiple sources that many people within the State Department are quite upset about SOPA/PIPA. Not only do they undermine online security, but they undermine a multi-year effort to push for more internet freedom abroad.

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  1. identicon
    A. Nnoyed, 20 Dec 2011 @ 8:09pm

    Lawmakers willing to destroy constitution on behalf of special interests.

    Lawmakers do not have a clue. They are willing to destroy the constitution on behalf of special interests. Using losses caused by theft of copyrighted material is a scapegoat for poor performance in the marketplace. This is a continuation of the whining about home taping destroying the copyright holders business in the 1980's.

    How can one steal copyrighted material when it is available free through other channels. The valuable newly released material is always available free, books and movies at the local library and songs at the local top 40 FM Station. The only holders of copyrighted material that are actually making a killing are those selling out of print CD's and Books on ebay or Amazon.com. I found one CD I have in my collection offered on Amazon for around $200.00. I am sure I have more.

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