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VoIP Now Technically Illegal In China 181

Posted by timothy
from the hush-it's-just-wise-regulation dept.
ironfrost writes "A recent ruling by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has declared that VoIP services are illegal, except for the ones operated by state-owned telecom operators China Telecom and China Unicom. According to the article, 'the decision is expected to make Skype, UUCall and other similar services unavailable in China,' and is widely seen as a way to protect the traditional telecom operators' profits. Here's a more in-depth story in Chinese (Google Translate version)."
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VoIP Now Technically Illegal In China

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  • such as Twitter and other forms of social media, they will find a way around to be able to use it...
  • Wow... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Jawnn (445279)
    So even "the commies" are really just tools for the telecom industry.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pclminion (145572) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:07PM (#34713410)
      That's a very capitalistic way of viewing it... My first thought is that it makes it a lot easier for the Chinese government to be able to tap calls. It's easier to tap when you don't allow private infrastructure to exist.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:24PM (#34713596)

      So even "the commies" are really just tools for the telecom industry.

      I presume you are responding to this line in the summary:

      is widely seen as a way to protect the traditional telecom operators' profits.

      If you believe that bit, I have a bridge to sell you.

      The thing is the Chinese government would rather be seen as a tool than to lose control of the population.

      Although the encryption in Skype has allegedly been broken (some say the voice encryption portion is still intact) the ability to scan packetized voice (let alone encrypted packetized voice) in real time is probably simply beyond the resources available, especially with things like skype finding their own routes for traffic.

      Voip to carriers can at least be watched at the carrier's premises.

      This has nothing to do with profits. This is the same government that blocked almost every western news site on the event of a dissident receiving a Nobel prize last month.

      • I think an easy way to determine this is to find out if these laws will apply to free services as well. From the article it would seem that it does apply, but enforcement will show the truth. If they only go after pay services first, then later get around to free services, it's more likely profit driven. If instead we see a new rule in the Great Firewall which all-out blocks SIP then we know it's an attempt to regain oversight of their citizens.

        Personally I'm sure both play into the whole matter. The
        • by icebike (68054)

          If you follow the link to the original story it says

          The decision is expected to make Skype, UUCall and other similar services unavailable in China.

          Also as far as your claim:

          dissident blackhats will find a way to record govt communications, and expose to the world the corruption

          I haven't seen any sign of dissident black hats in china, let alone any recording government calls. These people tend to end up in re-education camps.

          • If you follow the link to the original story it says

            I don't get your point here. I was referencing free services like Ventrillo or the like.

            I haven't seen any sign of dissident black hats in china, let alone any recording government calls. These people tend to end up in re-education camps.

            I'm afraid you got me on that one. Those who don't comply are likely shunted into hard labor or unscrupulous gold farming rings.

    • by magarity (164372)

      So even "the commies" are really just tools for the telecom industry.

      Umm, the telecom industry in China is state owned, so your comment should read: So even the telecom industry is really just a tool for "the commies".

    • No actual commie has considered China (or Vietnam or Laos &c.) as a state working to build communism for decades.

      If you've got a stomach for reading over-the-top longwinded speeches, Enver Hoxha did a good job of explaining revisionism in the USSR, Yugoslavia, and China.

  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:05PM (#34713362) Homepage Journal
    Now that's a happy little situation right there. I'm glad the FCC just stated, flat-out, that telco operators wouldn't be able to pull that particular shenanigans with services like skype here.

    Though really, it's not all that surprising. China's gone for home-grown 'equivalents' of popular overseas services for quite some time--look at their 'facebook' and their 'google' workalikes, all doubtless with more than enough spyware built into 'em to keep an eye on dissidents.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Or so they can record and monitor all calls...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This.

      That the article states "and is widely seen as a way to protect the traditional telecom operators' profits" is laughable. This is about China's need to control the lives of their citizens, period.

      • I wouldn't be so sure: Skype, through its local joint venture "TOM-Skype", has been more than helpful(if not too competent) [nartv.org] in assisting the authorities with surveillance. The "TOM-Skype" client is bugged, so it has full access to users' messages before encryption or after decryption, making surveillance trivial regardless of whether or not Skype itself is cracked.

        Given the generally supine nature of the main competitor, it would, in fact, be wholly reasonable to suspect that this is a pro-incumbent move
  • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:09PM (#34713424)

    In Communist China,
    Competition regulates you!

    • by Stargoat (658863) *

      That's about it, too. Almost everything in China is illegal. It's illegal to own a butter knife. It's illegal to conduct most business transactions. It's certainly illegal to bribe, which is necessary to get anything done.

      But that is what happens in a country that has so many laws. No one respects any laws.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Considering what they're trying to accomplish it would probably be easier to make everything illegal that isn't specifically made legal.
      • by ross.w (87751)
        That's how it works. When pretty much everything is illegal, it's easy to find a pretext to arrest someone you don't like.
  • by hodet (620484)
    So what do people in China do for fun? According to the news they aren't allowed to do anything. Not meant as a flame, just wondering because we never hear anything good.
    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:30PM (#34713662) Journal

      >>>So what do people in China do for fun?

      Sex?
      I hear those Chinese ladies are, to quote a song, "Ladies in the street but a freak in the bed." You just have to make sure not to get pregnant more than once. :-|

      Somebody else wrote:
      >>>And despite doing things like this constantly, China is still the darling of all the so-called "free trade" advocates.

      Kinda like Fascist Germany, Italy, and Spain were considered marvels by their contemporaries. They were the 1930s boom economies with private corporations under State control. A bit like China today.

      • Somebody else wrote:
        >>>And despite doing things like this constantly, China is still the darling of all the so-called "free trade" advocates.

        Of course, it's just like a Gilded Age America, today! (from a business standpoint at least)

        Did you know Coca-Cola set up an office in Somalia?

        • Of course, it's just like a Gilded Age America, today!

          You realize, of course, that America, today, is in a state of more unbalanced wealth distribution than the Gilded Age robber barons could even have dreamt of?

          Dan Aris

          • I haven't compared the numbers but it wouldn't surprise me one bit. At least the working conditions and pay are better for the average Joes.

      • One big reason why so many praised fascist and Nazi regimes back in the day - before they turned too violent - was because they were perceived as the only viable option to communism. A popular line of thinking was that the low classes, once they would discover that they are a supermajority with many common goals, would take over in any completely democratic society; whereas fascist authoritarianism would keep the "rabble" in line.

      • by ross.w (87751)
        Yeah, enjoy your AIDs.
  • The more they tighten the grip, the less productive they will be.

    Either the chinese find a way to soften their government, or they will never be the power they could be.

    • by icebike (68054)

      They will never soften this government. They will have to wait till they all die off of natural causes.
      In 30 years, it will be a different world in China.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Yes, but what way will it go?

        There is a large and dedicated movement of young Chinese, ultra nationalist, Han racial supremacists who are so radical and agressive that even the powers that be inside the CPC have had a hard time reigning them in.

        China will change, but I would not blindly assume it will be for the better.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        In thirty years it will be a different world everywhere. Thirty years ago there were no cell phones, no DVDs, computers were mostly consigned to business, CDs were brand new and damned expensive, there was no TSA or DHS, you could smoke a cigarette at your desk at work, affordable VHS was new, the Space Shuttle was brand new.

        And there was no way to predict any of the craziness that's happened in the last three decades.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          And there was no way to predict any of the craziness that's happened in the last three decades.

          Sure there was: you just had to look at the craziness that had happened in the previous three decades: growing corporate power, the military-industrial complex, the quagmire that was Vietnam, etc. The end of WWII is when things really started going bad in the USA, though the 20s with Prohibition and the growth of organized crime was pretty screwed-up too.

          Face it, the USA is really just a 3rd-world country that ba

  • And despite doing things like this constantly, China is still the darling of all the so-called "free trade" advocates.

    • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @04:12PM (#34714036)
      Because free trade isn't about free trade so much as it is a tool with which the rich can bludgeon the poor into working for less than their labor is worth.

      This is exactly the sort of situation that Marx was concerned by. The Bourgeoisie forcing the Proletariat to compete with each other to suppress wages so that the Bourgeoisie could have more money.
      • Wow! I never thought I'd see the day when a comment that is so "anti-capitalistic" get modded +5 on slashdot!

    • China is still the darling of all the so-called "free trade" advocates.
       
      Ok, can you provide some examples of free trade advocates who consider China their darling?

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:14PM (#34713492) Homepage Journal

    Our government and corporations stand idly by while China infiltrates our military, government and corporate networks, commits blatant acts of corporate espionage, places unfair regulations on foreign companies operations within their country and now pulls blatant protectionist laws to stifle competition.

    But nothing will be done because China is the largest emerging economy on the planet and no one can afford to pass up a piece of that pie.
    Back in the day the US and other nations would be slinging trade embargos left and right and playing hard ball. Today, we're so weak and poor we just bend over and take it.

    • by icebike (68054)

      Our government and corporations stand idly by while China infiltrates our military, government and corporate networks, commits blatant acts of corporate espionage,

      Our government and corporations stand idly by because we have not given them the China-like powers of control to prevent it.

      To totally control china you would have to BE like china, and you (yes, I mean YOU personally, l0ungeb0y) would be the first to complain if our government gained such power.

      There is nothing about this move that is in any way related to a protectionist stifling of competition. Its all about that level of control over its citizens that you seem to find lacking in western society.

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        Putting embargoes and tariffs on China doesn't require control over the citizens, it just requires balls. Right now, politicians are more concerned with keeping Walmart stocked with cheap "stuff".

    • by alvieboy (61292)

      I'd say: whose debt is that ?

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/02/chinas-debt-to-us-treasury-more-than-indicated/ [washingtontimes.com]

      You can't mess with China. Because if they want, they can ruin US Economy.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        That's a myth, doing so would ruin them worse than it would ruin us. We do still have the capability to produce our own food, water and energy. Well, excluding most of our oil needs.

        OTOH were they to do that they would majorly piss off most of the developed world.
    • by Stregano (1285764)
      Maybe if the US government was not so worried about making corporations happy and turning the USA into the CSA (corporate states of america), we would not have any of these problems
      • If that were the case, this problem would have had to have been solved before you or I were born. China crawling out of the post industrial era has been inevitable since that era began. This isn't something new, economist have been fretting over it since the 1920s. It was simply ignored for the longest time thanks to WW2 and some less than brilliant decisions before, after and during the Great Leap Forward.

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with competition.

      Any foreign business that wishes to compete in China in any space that remotely has to do with communications must tow the party line. This is about control of information, and not about control of profits.

      If Skype agreed tomorrow to create a separate network for China, with all of its hardware on Chinese soil, and Chinese operators able to perform real time intercepts and logging of communication going though Skype, you would see Skype become the #1 c

  • It is so wonderful to see them grow from Communism to Fascism in such a short preiod of time. .... It warms my heart.

    • by ClaraBow (212734)
      Very insightful! Best comment I've read in weeks!
    • Pretty much the only thing it takes to move from statist communism (i.e. any form of Marxism) to fascism is to allow private property - as that is the only major difference between the two. In that sense, China has been there a long time ago.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        There has never been a communist state in the history of the world. They all had at least 2 classes and in no case did the workers really control the means of production and the wealth that it generates.
        • Well, of course there wasn't ever a communist state, because communism is supposed to be a classless and stateless society. Colloquially, we call "communist" those states which declared building a communist society (going through an intermediate socialist stage) as their ultimate goal. In reality, of course, we really mean "Marxist socialist".

          Now as far as that goes... Soviet Russia in its early years was a workers' democracy - it was run by the councils, and those councils were democratically elected. So I

          • If only Lenin had lived longer or Trotsky beaten Stalin in the power grab.

            • Not really. Soviet workers' democracy was a classic example of an oppressive tyranny of the majority, brutally repressing the dissenting minorities. It was Lenin who created VChK, after all, and gave it power to crack down on political dissent - hence Red Terror. And Trotsky never disagreed on that, either. His problem wasn't with applying terror in general, but only with applying it against himself and his followers. So I'm not particularly fond of either guy.

              In the grand scheme of things, I'm not even sur

      • Pretty much the only thing it takes to move from statist communism (i.e. any form of Marxism) to fascism is to allow private property - as that is the only major difference between the two.

        What!? According to right-wingers, economic freedom breeds political freedom. That's one of the reasons why "globalism is a good thing (TM)". The Chinese must not be doing it right!

    • Only the names didn't change.
       

  • who said that monopolistic corporate greed and paranoid government spying on citizens had to be mutually exclusive?
  • No government is stupid enough to throw someone into jail just because he made some calls through some cheaper operator which was only recently declared illegal in some obscure announcement.
  • With no VoIP, will everyone have to play Chinese Whispers [wikipedia.org]?

  • widely seen as a way to protect the traditional telecom operators' profits

    either that or one of the Chinese ruling party had a bad experience on chatroulette.

  • Mussolini would be proud of how far China has come!

  • by Tanuki64 (989726) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @05:45PM (#34715038)
    Western countries are not better. Wait a few years and most of the internet restrictions will be implemented here, too. The excuses will be different and of course it will be a total different thing since were are the good by definition.
    • by koolfy (1213316) <koolfyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 30, 2010 @06:37PM (#34715706) Homepage Journal

      Wait a few years and most of the internet restrictions will be implemented here, too.

      I assume you don't live in the US or in France or in Germany or in Italy or in half of Europe.

      If you were, you'd know that it has begun a few years ago, and for some countries, we're getting really close.

      Just look at laquadrature.net 's articles about French HADOPI and LOPPSI laws, that go even further than China in internet control and censorship, in most western countries it's also illegal to use VoIP with a GPRS/EDGE/3G/whatever data connection, too bad if it's the one you use for your home's internet. (how they advertise you to do nowadays)

      The internet is in danger, everywhere. Open your eyes and you'll see that we're almost already fucked.

  • According to the article, "the decision is expected to make Skype, UUCall and other similar services unavailable in China", and is widely seen as a way to protect the traditional telecom operators' profits

    So how's that Communism thing working out for you guys? Are we beginning to figure out that all economic systems are eventually distorted and manipulated to serve the cause of greater government power?

  • The law only covers Phone-Phone and PC-Phone calls. PC-PC and Phone-PC is not affected or arguably a grey area at most.

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