stories filed under: "bureaucracy"
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Apr 15th 2008 7:49am
When WiFi was first becoming popular a few years back, there were occasional stories about countries that hadn't opened up the spectrum necessary for WiFi and how problematic that was for getting WiFi adopted. However, it looks like some bureaucrats in Russia may be taking the whole concept to a new level. Apparently, Russia's equivalent of the FCC, the Russian Mass Media, Communications and Cultural Protection Service (or Rossvyazokhrankultura) have announced that any device that uses WiFi indoors anywhere needs to be registered with the government. Even worse, the registration is per user with a non-transferable license. So every user of every WiFi device will need a separate registration. As Glenn Fleishman notes in the link above: "Setting up a home Wi-Fi network or a hotspot would require what sounds like vast amounts of paperwork, akin to putting [up] a cell tower." I'm sure that will increase adoption. From the sound of it, though, some are questioning whether the group even has the authority to make such a mandate. In the meantime, if you're in Russia and using WiFi, apparently you may want to get ready to sign some paperwork.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 12th 2007 9:41am
from the tuttle-tuttle-buttle-tuttle dept
It's no secret that the process for censoring the internet in China involves a huge bureaucracy of people. Earlier reports had it at 30,000, though we've seen some reports that put it at 40,000 (yes, internet censorship is apparently a growth business in China). So, perhaps it should come as no surprise that there's quite a bit of bureaucracy behind Chinese internet censorship. Apparently a disgruntled censor leaked out the details behind the bureaucracy. Apparently, there are three agencies responsible for different aspects of online censorship: the Internet Propaganda Administrative Bureau, the Bureau of Information and Public Opinion, and the Internet Bureau. There's also the Beijing Internet Information Administrative Bureau to handle all the internet firms located in Beijing. It's all very organized. The Propaganda Agency is in charge of licensing news agencies -- but the licenses aren't to report news or do any, you know, reporting. The licenses are to report propaganda provided by the government. The Public Opinion group basically watches over what public opinion is saying and lets Party leaders know about it, so that a response can quickly be generated. The Internet Bureau, then, is where the real censorship takes place. As for the Beijing Internet organization, it meets with the big internet firms and tells them what news stories will be allowed or not allowed that week. There are a few other organizations involved as well, but the whole thing looks quite organized in trying to snuff out anything it doesn't like online. Of course, that doesn't mean it's particularly effective, but that's an entirely different story.
by Timothy Lee
Fri, Sep 7th 2007 10:49am
from the how's-that-working-in-France? dept
We've written in the past about the French boondoggle of a plan to create a government-subsidized search engine to compete with Google. Marc Andreessen points out that Japan is the latest country to try to compete with Google using government subsidies. Apparently, a consortium of large Japanese companies will divide up the task of developing a Google-killer, with the whole project overseen by government bureaucrats. Somehow, it's unlikely that Google is worried. One thing that did catch our eye, though, is that as we've discussed before, Japan's overly-restrictive copyright laws seem to be holding back innovation. According to the Financial Times, copyright law doesn't permit companies to hold copies of others' websites on their servers. That makes it awfully hard to build a functional search engine. Perhaps instead of spending money building a government-subsidized search engine, the Japanese government should focus on making its copyright policies more hospitable to high-tech innovation.