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.
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:
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.
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.
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."
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