China Censorship Round Up

China announced it will begin monitoring payments made through mobile phones:

This new initiative by police to monitor mobile payment platforms is part of a broader government crackdown on the dissemination of pornographic, gambling, and anti-government content over mobile phone and internet networks. Last week, Chinese authorities announced the shutdown of 5,098 [sic, it was 598] websites found to be providing pornographic video chat services.

While porn is touted as the primary target it is quite clear that “anti-government content” will be targetted as well. As I conveyed to Red Herring this monitoring is cause for concern.

Rebecca MacKinnon has a great post reporting that Microsoft’s MSN Spaces is now removing Chinese language blogs that contain politically sensitive terms. Not only are users unable to create posts that contain certain keywords in the title through technical means, entire blogs are now being shutdown. And, as Rebecca reminds, this is being done by Microsoft, not China.

My ONI colleague Derek Bambauer discusses the role of American technology and censorship in Chin and other represive countries in this months edition of Legal Affairs. Derek makes three reccomendations:

  • export licenses from the U.S. government should be required for all dual-use items and denied when companies know or should know that the items will be used to violate human rights
  • criminal penalties should apply to a seller of dual-use goods who makes it easier for the buyer to use them for illicit purposes
  • shareholders, directors, and executives should take responsibility for ensuring that a company minimizes the risk of its dual-use products being used to violate human rights

In the News:

One comment.

  1. microsoft vs anti…

    As noted here earlier, MSN has taken down Michael Anti’s blog. Rebecca McKinnon, in a now widely linked post, has a more detailed look at what Microsoft and other blog-service providers are doing in China.: Microsoft’s MSN Spaces continues…

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