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. icon
    Machin Shin (profile), 23 Jan 2012 @ 7:21am


    Really I think the problem is that power in general is like heroin for politicians. They always want more and more power. SOPA just was on of the ways they saw they could increase that power. Now that there was massive resistance to that bill they will put it away for now and instead look for more power somewhere else. Don't worry though, they will come back to trying to take power over the internet soon enough.

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