Chinese censorship of internet 'unacceptable': EU

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by LETHALFORCE, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Chinese censorship of internet 'unacceptable': EU

    Chinese censorship of internet 'unacceptable': EU

    The EU accused China of "unacceptable" Internet censorship Friday, as Brussels rejected Beijing's claim that an internet filter due to be introduced is instead aimed at blocking pornography.

    "The aim of this internet filter, contrary to what Chinese authorities contend, is clearly to censor internet and limit freedom of expression," the European Commission said in a statement.

    "We therefore urge China to postpone the implementation of this mandate and request that a meeting is organised at technical level to better understand what is at stake," it added.

    The matter will be raised at "information society" talks hosted by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in Beijing on July 9, the statement said.

    China plans to include the filtering software with all PCs sold there from July 1.

    Beijing says the Chinese-made Green Dam software will filter out pornography, ensuring that more young people can use the Internet in the nation with the world's largest online population.

    China has also said that users can choose whether to load the software -- called Green Dam Youth Escort -- onto their computers or not.

    However, overseas and domestic Internet users have viewed the new software rule as an attempt by China to filter sensitive websites.

    "Blocking or filtering certain Internet contents is absolutely unacceptable to the EU," the commission said.

    On Wednesday the United States said China may be violating World Trade Organization obligations by its actions.

    The Chinese designers of the software last week said they were trying to fix security glitches in the programme.

    Researchers at the University of Michigan, who examined the software, had said earlier it contained serious security vulnerabilities that could allow outside parties to take control of computers running it via remote access.

    It also added that the software's text filter blocked words that included obscenities and phrases considered politically sensitive to China's ruling Communist Party.

    The European Commission, the EU's executive arm stressed that "freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of our democratic societies...

    "Media pluralism, freedom of expression and press freedom are underlying elements of European democracy."

    The row over the Chinese software comes as technology takes an emblematic role in the protests in Iran, where critics of the clerical regime have turned to microblogging site Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites to mobilize.

    The commission statement went on to say that "China's insistence that the Green Dam filter be installed in new computers proves once again that censorship takes place in this country."

    And it underlined that "China cannot compete with other powers of the world only at the economic level without paying attention to freedom of expression."
     
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  3. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    All barking no biting. No point in verbal diarrhea if you don't take action on the ground. If it is unacceptable to EU. Chinese will say shove-off.
     
  4. SammyCheung

    SammyCheung Guest

    Shove off, EU.

    If China just wanted to censor the internet, it could. It doesn't need a new software to do that. The software is intended to crack down on spam.
     
  5. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Exactly. If its unacceptable to EU, then the question that everyone must ask EU is: what is EU going to do about that? will it be bringing any pressure on China to not resort to such tactics?

    If the answer is yes, then "BRAVO".
    If the answer is no, then "SHOVE OFF".
     
  6. MMuthu

    MMuthu Regular Member

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    Ban all sites to Chinese....... They should have no access to sites which is hosted outside China.
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China postpones controversial Web filter - Yahoo! Finance



    China postpones controversial Web filter
    China delays controversial Internet filter after protests by Washington,

    BEIJING (AP) -- China postponed a plan to require personal computer makers to supply Internet-filtering software Tuesday, retreating in the face of protests by Washington and Web surfers hours before it was due to take effect.


    Manufacturers would have been required to include filtering software known as Green Dam with every computer produced for sale in China starting Wednesday.

    The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said the plan would be delayed in part because manufacturers had trouble meeting the deadline. It gave no indication whether it might be revived later.

    The postponement was a rare reversal by the communist government, which seemingly gave in to the combined pressure of angry Chinese Web users, Washington and computer makers. The controversy reflected the tussle between the ruling party and an increasingly informed, vocal public and industries that provide jobs and taxes that are crucial to the government's rule.

    Top U.S. trade officials had protested the plan and the haste with which it was announced as a possible trade barrier. Industry groups warned that the software might cause security problems. Free-speech advocates attacked the plan as censorship.

    American diplomats met earlier with Chinese officials to express concern about the plan.

    "I think the cost of the move from trade friction and generally a public relations black eye was becoming pretty clear to the government," said Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China Ltd., a Beijing research firm.

    The postponement "gets them out of the scrutiny of the international media and business," Clark said.

    Chinese authorities said Green Dam is needed to shield children from violent and obscene material online. But analysts who have reviewed the program say it also contains code to filter out material the government considers politically objectionable.

    Chinese Web surfers ridiculed the software and circulated petitions online appealing to Beijing to scrap its order. They said Green Dam would block access to photos of animals and other innocuous subjects.

    News of the announcement spread in China quickly via Twitter and the Chinese mini-blogging site Fanfou.

    Wen Yunchao, a Chinese blogger who has been among the most vocal critics of Green Dam, said he did not believe the announcement marked an end to the plan.

    "They are using the word 'delay,' instead of saying they stopped the plan," Wen said. "I think that it's possible that at some point in the future the government could still enforce their policy and install software on personal computers that filters the information people are able to look at. So, I am calling this an intermediary victory."

    China's communist government encourages Internet use for education and business, and the country has the biggest population of Web users, with more than 298 million. But authorities try to block access to material deemed obscene or subversive and Beijing operates the world's most sweeping system of Internet filtering. The new software would raise those controls to a new level by putting the filter inside each PC.

    The government said Green Dam still would be used in schools and Internet cafes and free copies could be downloaded by parents.

    China is important to PC makers both as a major manufacturing site and a fast-growing market. It accounts for up to 80 percent of world production.

    Producers including Toshiba Corp. and Taiwan's Acer Inc. said they were ready to provide Green Dam on disk with PCs beginning Wednesday. But industry leaders Hewlett-Packard Inc. and Dell Inc. declined to discuss their plans, possibly waiting for a diplomatic settlement.

    Acer already has shipped some Green Dam disks with computers, said Meng Lei, a spokeswoman for the company in Beijing.

    "For now, we will go ahead with the original plan, which was to distribute the software," she said. "Moving forward, we will pay attention to future developments."

    The Green Dam initiative coincides with a tightening of government controls on Internet use.

    Last week, the Health Ministry ordered health-related Web sites that carry research on sexually oriented topics to allow access only to medical professionals.

    Also last week, the government issued new rules on "virtual currency" used by some game Web sites, saying it cannot be used to purchase real goods.

    Green Dam already is in use in Internet cafes in China and has been installed since the start of this year in PCs sold under a government program that subsidizes appliance sales in the countryside, according to manufacturers and news reports.

    "All the computers in this 'Appliances to the countryside' program had this installed or received it on disk," said Yi Juan, a spokeswoman for Great Wall Computer Ltd., a leading domestic PC manufacturer.

    Yi said she had no details on how many PCs were sold with the software or whether users reported problems. Asked whether customers knew PCs had Internet filters, she said she did not know whether they were informed, but said, "they should know."


    Associated Press Writer Alexa Olesen and Associated Press researcher Bonnie Cao in Beijing contributed to this report.


    Chinese give in
     
  8. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    LF, it is postponed but not cancelled. Take my word on this, they are going to implement this sooner than later when the close the gaps in the security of the software.
     
  9. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I find taxes unacceptable. But, will that go away?
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    you are right DD, this is what happens when you do trade with communist countries you can't turn them into open and free societies no matter how hard you try.
     
  11. Rage

    Rage DFI TEAM Stars and Ambassadors

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    Your damn right it does. Your "Golden Shield" project that consists of multiple proxy servers and standard firewalls at Internet Gateways and that is supposed to block content by preventing IP addresses from being routed through and systematically DNS-poisoning requested 'banned' websites has several glitches: information is able to pass through several routers or the entire system with such frequency that it has led any serious researcher to label it as a 'panopticon': an phantasm that encourages self-censorship through the illusion that you are being watched. Only with respect to journalists- typically foreign, what you call "licensed print providers" and Western news agencies, Internet content providers and search engines, banned organizations like the persecuted Falun Gong, sites related to the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan Independence movement, corporations, websites like Wikipedia in China or the LiveJournal that comment on social and political unrest, "internet activists" and individuals deemed 'suspicious' is the policy applied with any seriousness. The Chinese government wants to extend this to the average sino citizen as well, to monitor individual internet content via technical means and persecute "cyber-dissidents". Ergo, the whole campaign to modify coding problems in the 'Green Dam Youth Escort' software (UofM researches who analyzed the software last week found it to contain serious security vulnerabilities that made it susceptible to remote access).


    On a political plain however, delaying the implementation of the censoring following pressure from the EU is an excellent move. Not only does it remove the association of China with an ideological protagonist Iran at a time when Iran is going gung-ho silly about censoring political opposition, it gives the illusion of a 'back-down' on China' part as well - that China is willing to 'compromise' with the EU on an issue - even if the issue at hand is momentary and trivial.
     

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