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Censorship China Government

China's Web Surveillance System Employs More Than 2 Million 63

Reader dryriver recommends a BBC report on the immense scale of the web-monitoring system in place in China. An excerpt: "More than two million people in China are employed by the government to monitor web activity, state media say, providing a rare glimpse into how the state tries to control the internet. The Beijing News says the monitors, described as internet 'opinion analysts,' are on state and commercial payrolls. China's hundreds of millions of web users increasingly use microblogs to criticise the state or vent anger. Recent research suggested Chinese censors actively target social media. The report by the Beijing News said that these monitors were not required to delete postings. They are "strictly to gather and analyse public opinions on microblog sites and compile reports for decision-makers", it said. It also added details about how some of these monitors work. Tang Xiaotao has been working as a monitor for less than six months, the report says, without revealing where he works. 'He sits in front of a PC every day, and opening up an application, he types in key words which are specified by clients. He then monitors negative opinions related to the clients, and gathers (them) and compiles reports and sends them to the clients,' it says. The reports says the software used in the office is even more advanced and supported by thousands of servers. It also monitors websites outside China."
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China's Web Surveillance System Employs More Than 2 Million

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The easiest way to create jobs is by increasing red tape.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The easiest way to create jobs is to hire everyone to spy on their neighbors.

    • The easiest way to create jobs is by increasing red tape.

      This is a variant of the broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org]. Government "make work" schemes tend to shift labor and resources from other areas of the economy rather than generating net new jobs.

      • It depends on how public works are paid for and what is going on in the rest of the economy at the time. Consider the situation of too little cash is in the real economy, and too much cash is in the "casino" economy of the FIRE sector (much of it rich people gambling with teach other in zero-sum games). I would say that is the case today -- there is lots of money floating around but it could be all stuffed into mattresses for the effect it is having on our economy. In that case, a government printing money

  • Better watch out. Before you know it USA is no longer number one. [newstalk.ie]

    • by gmuslera ( 3436 )

      What about 5 millons [salon.com], if you count private sector and not top security clearance? And of those 2 millons with top security clearance, half a millon are from the private sector. No matter what numbers have China, US ones are far bigger, and with less population.

      And, of course, is not that most international internet traffic passes through China, nor most internationally used internet companies are based on that country and have to follow their laws giving all the information of their customers.

  • 2+2=5 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by iamwhoiamtoday ( 1177507 ) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @10:31AM (#45044029)

    The Ministry Of Truth employs many members of The Party.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When did words become so frightening that we need to be watched 24/7, lest we say something dangerous?

  • by Lennie ( 16154 ) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @10:33AM (#45044047)

    Supposedly it was approximately 854,000 people in 2010:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/38304293/ns/us_news-security/t/report-firms-agencies-involved-war-terror/ [nbcnews.com]

    • That's the number of people with Top Secret clearance, some times necessary to merely work on some governments projects. It's not really a meaningful number at all (it certainly doesn't has anything to do with "people employed to monitor web traffic").

  • Way to go, China (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fusselwurm ( 1033286 ) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @10:45AM (#45044117) Homepage

    Only? 2M informants is no more than 0.2% of the population.

    Compare that to the East German Stasi [wikipedia.org], who had ~0.5% full time on their payrolls (about 100k of 16M ppl), plus ~3% of unpaid whisperers...

    • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @12:26PM (#45044863)

      Keep in mind that the number given for China is only the people that monitor web traffic. It doesn't include the secret police and their many informers. I doubt that overall China is less organized in that regard than East Germany was.

      It is also worth noting that China has far more brutality in its past than East Germany. The People's Republic of China managed to kill about 65,000,000 [harvard.edu] of its own citizens. There are even instances of cannibalism as a demonstration or test of party loyalty - "eating the rich," so to speak.

      East Germany's communist government is no longer in power. That same Chinese government is still in power, engages in massive espionage by spy and computer against many nations, is aiming nuclear missiles at the US, is building a fleet of aircraft carriers, claiming the territory of its neighbors, and many people say it will be the main power of the next century. Pleasant dreams.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Technology has improved, one person can now monitor far more communications than they did back in the Stasi days.

  • China transparency (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrahamJ ( 241784 ) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @10:49AM (#45044143)
    It's somewhat disturbing that China is more forthcoming about its domestic spying than the US. At least they admit that they do it.
    • Nobody is going to stop the Chinese government from that spying so they lose nothing by it. The Chinese Communist Party is firmly in control. Also note that they are only admitting to what they do internally, just for micro-blogging, not the rest of the web. If you are somehow thinking that the Chinese government is more virtuous than the US government, you are very far off base. Very far.

      • by GrahamJ ( 241784 )
        Quite the reverse - that China is more transparent about *anything* is an indictment of the US given how opaque their government tends to be.
    • Why would China reveal this information? It's not because they want to be kind. You have to ask yourself, what are they getting from it?
    • by ahabswhale ( 1189519 ) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @05:10PM (#45046945)

      lol, they aren't doing this to be open and forthright. They are doing this to let the population know that they are monitoring everything they do on the internet. It's just a slick way to oppress dissent.

      • You might be right. So we have China being open about spying to prevent dissent and we have the US hiding spying to avoid dissent. Maybe some government should try, you know, not spying. It's odd that not doing things people dissent against doesn't seem to occur to those in power.
        • I'm not aware of any country that does not employ spies. It's an essential government function; a necessary evil.

  • by Provocateur ( 133110 ) <shediedNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday October 05, 2013 @10:58AM (#45044213) Homepage

    I don't know; just sayin'

    • This is the Chinese government spying on its own people for the purposes of political repression, which has been the case there from the beginning. In fact the Communist Chinese government has quite of history of brutal repression. If you are "just sayin" anything other than that you are saying something stupid.

  • I reckon there are a lot of people looking for "objectionable" pages and censoring them, wonder if these are counted. I wouldn't expect it to be a large fraction of 2 M though, unless it happens on a more local level than for all of China.

    Unrelated, but what's this talk about "clients"? do they do it for paying customers too?

  •   With all this information about "Monitoring" I know the NSA needs more people to "Monitor" the internets.

      I need to look into that USAjob.gov website and look for specifics like "Reading Slashdot, Reddit, 9gag all day long for entry level government salary" I would totally rock that in a suit and tie.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @11:48AM (#45044601)

    this great part is that the majority of software that is used for censorship is developed right here in the US. the truth is that it's raw capitalism that is helping oppress the chinese people which completely subverts the freedom of others that we so greatly cherish.

    moral, ethical or even legal behavior with any foresight is not in the nature of true capitalism and yet we continue to allow these practices to continue. in true capitalism, snakes would continually eat their own tails with no thought of the repercussions if it made a buck. at the end, we get things like the massive economic collapse because banks "didn't see it coming".

    i dont like the government messing with my affairs but there are sometimes when we need to prevent both our and others' destruction and oppression with some regulation. if there is a customer that wants a product to do evil, there will be some corporation willing to support them if it's profitable.

  • I wonder what percentage of the US population works in things related to the NSA spying program.

  • The witch hunt continues.
  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday October 05, 2013 @01:52PM (#45045579)

    "these monitors were not required to delete postings. They are "strictly to gather and analyse public opinions on microblog sites and compile reports for decision-makers"

    They are meta-moderators, if somebody's karma goes to bad, the brute squad is sent automatically without their doing.

  • Really puts into perspective the number of people there are in China.....that's the population of Chicago, just doing one job. Holy smokes.....
  • ... even in that area, China generates more jobs than the US ... I wonder how many of those jobs have been outsourced by the NSA ... ;)

  • Right out of 1984

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll