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China Tightens Internet Restrictions 83

The NY Times reports China has once again stepped up its efforts to control the internet, passing a new set of rules by which internet users and ISPs must abide. In addition to requiring that users provide their real names to internet providers, the government says those providers are now more responsible for deleting or blocking posts that aren't agreeable to the Chinese authorities. Quoting: "The new regulations, issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, allow Internet users to continue to adopt pseudonyms for their online postings, but only if they first provide their real names to service providers, a measure that could chill some of the vibrant discourse on the country’s Twitter-like microblogs. The authorities periodically detain and even jail Internet users for politically sensitive comments, such as calls for a multiparty democracy or allegations of impropriety by local officials. In recent weeks, Internet users in China have exposed a series of sexual and financial scandals that have led to the resignations or dismissals of at least 10 local officials. International news media have also published a series of reports in recent months on the accumulation of wealth by the family members of China’s leaders, and some Web sites carrying such reports ... have been assiduously blocked, while Internet comments about them have been swiftly deleted. The regulations issued Friday build on a series of similar administrative guidelines and municipal rules issued over the past year. China’s mostly private Internet service providers have been slow to comply with them, fearing the reactions of their customers. The Standing Committee’s decision has much greater legal force, and puts far more pressure on Chinese Internet providers to comply more quickly and more comprehensively, Internet specialists said."
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China Tightens Internet Restrictions

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  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:46AM (#42410789)

    Countries like China, Iran, etc. may be leading the pack, but the trend for years now all over the world has been an increasingly locked-down internet.

    And it's getting easier and easier for governments to do too. Just think of how different things are today vs. the mid-late 90's in the U.S. Back then in the dial-up days, you had all kinds of local ISP's available. It would have been almost impossible for the U.S. government to really control the internet. Today, virtually all broadband internet access is controlled by a handful of major corporate conglomerates (Time Warner, Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-mobile probably control 90+% of all internet access in the country). Blacklisting sites, monitoring individual users, shutting down access by geographical location--it's all very easy for the U.S. government to do now (hell, they probably have it all automated and ready to go already, under the guise of national security of course). All it would take are a few laws slipping through.

    And, of course, those laws are already slipping through in plenty of non-oppressive democracies like Australia [wikipedia.org], Britain [wikipedia.org], etc.

    What China is doing today, the democratic world will be doing tomorrow.

    And if you *really* want to get creeped out, think about a possible time in the future when most consumer computers are locked down too (similar to iOS's "walled garden"), and only authorized software is allowed to be installed (and governments can make individual software applications disappear the same as they can websites).

  • Compare and contrast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plover ( 150551 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @11:00AM (#42410889) Homepage Journal

    As I read through these, I couldn't help but do some simple comparing between the Facebook TOS and Chinese laws. Real names, no posting of objectionable material; but then bannination is nothing like being jailed. Now think about the "mom test" (would you add your mom to your "friends" list?), or the general public.

    Is that what most people want?

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @11:09AM (#42410955) Journal

    ... net restrictions.

    Since Saudi Arabia is an ally to the USA - which gives it the right to implement any kind of net restriction without getting any condemnation from Uncle Sam.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"