Chinese Lessons For SOPA/PIPA: The Great Firewall Of China Was Once A Way To Stop Infringement Too

from the well-look-at-that dept

There's an interesting LA Times article looking at the reaction in China to the recent SOPA/PIPA blackouts. While they (quite reasonably) point out that the level of censorship in China is much more extreme, one key point did catch my attention. Apparently, when the Great Firewall of China was first set up... Chinese officials defended it as a way to cut down on infringement:
Wen supports U.S. activists challenging the bills, saying it’s a slippery slope to lesser web access. He said China’s so-called Great Firewall, which blocks access to many foreign sites like Facebook and Twitter, was first billed as a strategy to stop piracy and pornography.

“Now it’s being abused and extended to thousands of websites,” he said.
The slippery slope to censorship starts with the insistence that the mechanism for censorship only has "the best intentions." But the reality is that once you have the infrastructure for censorship, it's only a matter of time until that censorship expands. It's just too powerful for those in control.

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  1. identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 23 Jan 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re: Finland

    Of course it did. That's one of theFour Horsemen of the Infocalypse. Very politically expedient; you can almost set your watch by the regular occurrences of these in reference to legislation that will achieve precisely zero in fighting any of them. See, for example, H.R. 1981: Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 which will not only do absolutely nothing to stop pornographers from exploiting children, but will have EXACTLY the opposite effect: it will make children far more vulnerable to them.

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