Net Censors Arrested In China For Taking Bribes To Delete Unflattering Posts As Well As The 'Harmful' Ones

from the gaming-the-system dept

Techdirt has run a number of stories about China's increasingly pervasive Net censorship, which operates both domestically and further afield. According to this story in Index on Censorship, China seems to think its system still needs bolstering:

The Chinese government has revealed it is expanding their censorship of the internet with a new training programme for the estimated two million "opinion monitors" Beijing organised last year.

...

Once trained, monitors will "supervise" the posting of social media messages, deleting those that are deemed harmful. Beijing claims to have deployed "advanced filtering technology" to identify problematic posts, and will need to "rapidly filter out false, harmful, incorrect, or even reactionary information," according to Xinhua.

Internet monitoring in China is an intensive process. Censored search terms are often placed on the list and then removed as a situation develops.
That fluid situation and the huge numbers of people involved mean that it's hard to monitor the monitors -- generally a problem with censorship. So it was probably inevitable that some Net censors would start taking advantage of their power to earn a little extra money:
Beijing police have detained at least 10 people, including employees at Baidu, the leading Chinese-language Internet search provider, over allegations of abusing their positions to delete online posts in return for money, the Beijing News reports.
The idea was simple, as the China News post quoted above explains:
staff searched for unfavorable posts about enterprises and government departments, then charged hundreds of yuan to delete the posts.

...

The posts covered a wide range of issues, including forced demolitions, pollution problems, extramarital affairs and bribery by officials, as well as product quality and companies in financial crises
Combined with the millions who will be censoring a changing list of forbidden topics, this will make it even harder for Chinese citizens to find out what's going on from the mainstream Internet sites. That might encourage users to explore less well-known services in an effort to avoid such massive censorship, causing the Chinese authorities to recruit even more "opinion monitors."

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 7th, 2014 @ 3:33am

    Throwing a few under the bus

    Given who they were being paid by, and what they were removing, I find it hard to believe that this is anything more than a PR stunt, a way for the Chinese government to say to the people 'See, the censorship is for your protection, any found abusing it will be punished harshly', all the while they set their own 'opinion monitors' to search out and remove opinions/posts they don't care for, whether the posts are aimed at them personally or the government as a whole.

     

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      Michael, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 5:25am

      Re: Throwing a few under the bus

      That seems like a bit of a paranoid conclusion to jump to. Historically, the Chinese government has been much more open about their censorship. Now, if this were the US, I could see your point.

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Apr 7th, 2014 @ 6:08am

        Re: Re: Throwing a few under the bus

        Isn't that exactly what their censoring was originally created for? Taking down things that are in opposition to the government's stance? It's still hypocrisy even if they're open about it.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 5:32am

    OMG - no way!
    Who could've predicted this would happen?
    It is simply mind boggling that human nature would corrupt such a pure endeavor ... LOL

     

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 7th, 2014 @ 5:54am

    I once said that people who apply for such jobs, wh think they can dictate what others can or cannot see and learn are sociopaths. This is just the logical development.

     

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    Tommy Gilley, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    China Censor

    I don't believe the US would've done this, and that's sad. Of course, we would've never know due to the NSL's.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 6:51am

    Who censors the censors?

     

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 8:06am

    Political Oxidation

    What was that saying about corruption, power and absoluteness?

    It appears that the infection starts at a low level, and grows exponentially with ascent. The underlings made the serious mistake of not passing appropriate shares upwards. Hence the smack-down.

    Absolutely!

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 7th, 2014 @ 8:48am

    A difference between China and the US

    If censors in the US got caught doing this, nobody would have gone to jail.

     

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    Annonimus, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 9:23am

    So how does a Chinese Snowden look like?

    I mean China has a similar kind of we can do no wrong culture on the topic of censorship as America does in its industrial espionage complex.

    So what happens when China gets a Snowden?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 10:05am

    What they need is opinion monitors to monitor the monitors and then more opinion monitors to monitor those ones , this could work to make China completely self sufficient giving every person in China a pay check for being the monitor of the monitor of the monitor.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 2:19pm

    The personification of mass conditioning, its been there along time, the difference now, the internet and their actions and reactions are making it extremely obvious, one day, karma will come knocking, it is the natural result of empires, they will fall, and probably try to take as many as they can with them, because their just nice like that

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2014 @ 4:18pm

    The government in the US must be jealous of the control the old men in China have over its population with regards to the internet.

     

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