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China Tightens Internet Restrictions 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-while-standing-on-one-foot dept.
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).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      iOS's "walled garden"

      In Soviet Union they called it gulag.

      • iGulag (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by AliasMarlowe (1042386)

        iOS's "walled garden"

        In Soviet Union they called it gulag.

        Steve would probably insist on "iGulag".
        It's a catchy, memorable, and descriptive term. Who could possibly object to it?

    • but in the USA they can't block religion sites.

      Also in a authorized software only system to days app stores have to much censorship to pass constitutional muster and anti trun laws may force there to be more then one app store.

      Also the adult market is to big be to locked out of a app store so we may need to have a adult app / movie / media store as well that is on all systems even ios and windows phones / metro.

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

      China orders children to visit their elderly parents: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-20860264 [bbc.co.uk]

      Those basement stairs can really be a killer climb . . .

      • Elder abuse and neglect would be especially shocking in a culture which values and honours old people.

        The suggested solution is typically heavy handed, but the problem is very real.

    • That's ok, internet freedom can join the long list of other things that are going away, like privacy.

    • 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.

      Where do you think all those mom-and-pop dialup ISPs got their feeds that they distributed via their modem banks?

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)
      It's easy to see the states going down the path you mention as a worst case scenario, but the ISP consolidation is capitalism at work, there was a slashdot article about it a while back...

      And Britian has always had a very snoopy government, so there's no surprise there, no idea why Australia cares besides the ISPs over there wanting to make more $ through politics somehow. China though has a very different culture and government, I don't think the west or europe would ever look to China as a model for a
    • by bhagwad (1426855)

      And people wanted countries like China to have a say in the UN about how the Internet is regulated.

      Lol.

    • by kuleiana (629890)
      This already happens now, it’s just not “legal”—we need to stand up and demand that our access to information not be limited, and create alternative connective tissue to prevent others from blocking access to our own information, while they simultaneously share and record our most private data! In some ways, we are already more totalitarian than their government is. We need to fix this situation because we created it collectively with the assistance of some very shady characters. In
  • by Anonymous Coward

    And they have ways of dealing with addicts over there http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/controversial-surgery-for-addiction-burns-away-brains-pleasure-center/ [time.com]

    While meanwhile in the west people are enslaved by Google and Facebook...

  • 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?

    • I've heard that an hour after you post to FB, you feel like you want to post again.

      is that actually true?

    • by Nyder (754090)

      ... Now think about the "mom test" (would you add your mom to your "friends" list?),..

      Thanks for reminding me my mom is dead.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday December 28, 2012 @12:58PM (#42411617)

      Is that what most people want?

      Most people do not care. They just want to get their entertainment -- sports, celebrity gossip, "news," gossip about their friends and family, etc. If they are required to use their real names, they will do so. If their communications is being monitored, they will not care, because they only really cared about getting their entertainment in the first place. People only care about censorship when it directly affects them; tell people that Japanese comic books are censored in the United States, by law, and they will say, "So what? I do not read those anyway, those are disgusting and stupid and I bet there is something wrong with that guy who was arrested for possessing them." Americans think nothing of the fact that their police carry military weapons or that we arrest and imprison more people each year than China (nor do they stop to think about the fact that most "convicted felons" were never actually convicted by a jury, or that we do not have enough courts in this country to give that many people a jury trial).

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday December 28, 2012 @11:12AM (#42410961) Homepage Journal
    Not so different from what Facebook [zerohedge.com] do, or in general what Google [google.com] reports that is forced to do, ordered by the ones actually in power (mostly the ones reported here [google.com])
    • Five root comments so far, and not one of them has anything to do with the topic at hand - mostly they talk about "we are the same if not worse". Off-topicism is really a drag, who wants to go over this exact same territory AGAIN
      • by gmuslera (3436)

        Wrong and right are subjective evaluations. Before jumping into the "That is wrong" waters, be aware that you could be considering right, or at least normal, something very similar. This is the core behind all those (mine included) root comments.

        Now, if we forget that in US do basically that with their citizens, and tries very hard to push it to all the world (in fact, still have some laws that protect their own citizens, but care less than nothing about the rights of the rest of the world people), yes, i

  • No VPN's are bad for businesses use that need them for security.

    If you where a IT guy at a big businesses would you want working who take businesses trips to china to be doing work over the china internet system where china can just copy all your private data?

    • by Jawnn (445279)
      Not sure what you are trying to say here. If I can be reasonably assured that my laptop hasn't been owned while I was going through customs (not at all a given), there are VPN solutions that will definitely secure my traffic between that laptop and home. If those solutions are blocked, then yeah, it's definitely not safe to transact anything sensitive.
    • I can confirm that OpenVPN was being blocked just a couple of weeks ago, while it used to work in the summer. Strangely, ssh connections were not being blocked. I did manage to get openvpn working, but the endpoint was on port 53/tcp. Using tcp for VPN traffic is sub-optimal, so this was not a good solution.

      The other odd thing was the websites being blocked included imdb. What subversive information is on imdb?

      • by sc0rpi0n (63816)

        Setting the OpenVPN link-mtu to 1100 seems to work around the UDP blocking. Not ideal, but better than TCP with the package loss you experience here.

  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Friday December 28, 2012 @12:03PM (#42411225)
    Cue up obligatory "But the USA is way worse!" postings from trolls who have never left their mother's basement and who have no idea what a *real* police state is.
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Cue up obligatory "But the USA is way worse!" postings from trolls who have never left their mother's basement and who have no idea what a *real* police state is.

      having left my mom's basement and venturing into the real world I find USA to not be way worse, but trying desperately to catch up with the "way worse" to be it's own sort of police state.

      Due to the recent school shooting, they have put a ton of restrictions on schools.
      TSA is there to make sure we don't forget that someone tried to light a sneaker on fire on a plane.
      Putting up advertisments for a legal business is a great way to show how "police state" we have become. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Bost [wikipedia.org]

      • Due to the recent school shooting, they have put a ton of restrictions on schools.

        Umm, maybe in a few places but mostly things are unchanged. I coach at a high school and there has been pretty much no change in any of the 50 or so high schools in our county since the recent shooting in New England. Some understandable discussions regarding what would be appropriate action but there hardly has been any knee jerk reaction in most places.

        TSA is there to make sure we don't forget that someone tried to light a sneaker on fire on a plane.

        The TSA is there because some crazy people flew airplanes into buildings. That's not to excuse some of the ridiculous behavior of the TSA but it is ther

        • by Nyder (754090)

          Due to the recent school shooting, they have put a ton of restrictions on schools.

          Umm, maybe in a few places but mostly things are unchanged. I coach at a high school and there has been pretty much no change in any of the 50 or so high schools in our county since the recent shooting in New England. Some understandable discussions regarding what would be appropriate action but there hardly has been any knee jerk reaction in most places.

          TSA is there to make sure we don't forget that someone tried to light a sneaker on fire on a plane.

          The TSA is there because some crazy people flew airplanes into buildings. That's not to excuse some of the ridiculous behavior of the TSA but it is there because we told our elected officials that a bunch of rent-a-cops weren't doing an adequate job of airport security before 9/11 which is arguably true. The TSA seems to be quite the overreaction but it is there because we collectively were afraid and our government did what we wanted them to do at the time.

          And there is a ton more that has happened in the last 10 years that has shown that we are heading towards a police state.

          A conveniently vague argument. If you really think the US is turning into a police state then why don't you move somewhere else?

          One of the biggest clues is we have Wars on things.

          Right, the War on Poverty [wikipedia.org] really is a sign that we are oppressed. Terrible thing that our government did trying to help people.

          The TSA hasn't stopped anything other then quick traveling since they have been started.

          Guess as more laws, like the wiretapping law, aren't going to convince you that we are heading to a police state. I bet you are one of those people who will justify everything up until they take you away.

          War on Poverty? Of all the wars, you pick one that is from 50's? Dude, wake the fuck up. We are talking current events, not shit from over 50 years ago.
          Oh, and by the way, how did the war on poverty turn out? Did

      • desperately to catch up with the "way worse" to be it's own sort of police state

        If that's true, why did the USA oppose the UN's attempt at 'internet governance?' You think they would be all over the opportunity to regulate the internet.

        http://www.zdnet.com/u-s-now-totally-unified-in-opposition-of-u-n-internet-governance-7000008382/ [zdnet.com]

        • by Nyder (754090)

          desperately to catch up with the "way worse" to be it's own sort of police state

          If that's true, why did the USA oppose the UN's attempt at 'internet governance?' You think they would be all over the opportunity to regulate the internet.

          http://www.zdnet.com/u-s-now-totally-unified-in-opposition-of-u-n-internet-governance-7000008382/ [zdnet.com]

          Let me get this correct. You are asking me on why the USA does NOT want the UN to be in charge of the internet? Seriously?

          The USA does NOT want to lose the power it has over the internet. The corporations that pay off our politicians do NOT want to have to start paying off the government in every country, so they want the USA to stay in charge.

          If the USA handling of "pirate" websites being taken down, without court orders or do rights, does not convince you of this, then, I'm sorry you are you.

          I mean, a

    • Let me guess -- in a "real" police state, the police are soldiers, mass numbers of people are imprisoned without a fair trial, communications systems are built with government surveillance in mind, prisoners are a source of cheap labor, and the government uses propaganda to remind everyone that this is how life should be?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CALEA [wikipedia.org]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWAT [wikipedia.org]

      https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/go-to-trial-crash-the-justice-system.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]

      https://e [wikipedia.org]
      • by halivar (535827)

        Conveniently left off the list of comparisons: "Things that get you put into prison."

  • all large organizations are inherently corrupt, in that the "top" members stop caring about anything except amassing more power(wealth, influence, resources) for themselves

    anonymity is the only true defense the powerless have against the powerful, that is why the powerful are working so hard to eliminate this threat

    now is the time to create a distributed communication framework that can't be controlled by any government or corporation

    http://project-byzantium.org/
    https://www.torproject.org/
    https://freenetpro

  • Do the Chinese not know that putting a heavier weight on a pressure cooker increases the pressure? That the increased pressure increases the likelyhood of an explosion?
  • I think a balance is needed here:- A lack of censorship and full-blown "dictator-style" censorshop are as bad as each other. Pro internet freedom activists will argue it is up to parents to shield their children from the filth on the Internet. This is however practically impossible as children and teenagers are increasing in computer knowledge at a faster rate than the previous generation. A complete lack of censorship is all good until you discover it's your children viewing the pornography which helps s
    • A complete lack of censorship is all good until you discover it's your children viewing the pornography

      There was never a work of pornography more obscene than censorship.

      pornography which helps subconsciously shape their view of women and men in society.

      The idea that some people can forcefully prevent others from expressing themselves shapes their views too, and in much more dangerous ways.

      Plus, pornography only shapes our views of other people because of the grotesque tabus we have around 'sex', which ensure that porn is the kids' only source of information. Censoring just hides the problem, it doesn't fix it.

      Does it come as a suprise that the strongest anti-censorship activists are young people without children?

      Activists in general are young, and young people have less children. That says no

      • 1.) Linguistically you're first point may make sense but practically it does not. Censorship is not a form of pornography. 2.) I wouldn't call pronography a sound form of expression. Just look at the effects of it on our society. I hate to play the censorship card on this one but I am a realist - censoring people from material that is good for them is no different from preventing people from taking hard drugs such heroin. Or would you call injecting heroin an expression and that individual should contin
        • your*.
        • Linguistically you're first point may make sense but practically it does not. Censorship is not a form of pornography.

          Not only pornography can be obscene.

          I wouldn't call pronography a sound form of expression. Just look at the effects of it on our society.

          Political speech, the protected speech by definition, brought us Fascism, National Socialism, Maoism and all the other political ideologies with millions of deaths in their history. Pornography has nothing on them in terms of "effects on society".

          I hate to play the censorship card on this one but I am a realist - censoring people from material that is good for them is no different from preventing people from taking hard drugs such heroin.

          I agree. Thankfully, where I live we've decriminalized the consumption of all drugs, including heroin. And usage dropped.

          Grosteque tabus around sex is one extreme and it's complete openess devoid of censorship is another. Like I said we need an equilibrium here.

          Soviet propaganda is an extreme, the truth is another, do we need an equilibrium? Argument to moderation is

          • Equating pornography with censorship will take me some time to get my head around. Again, you seem to take the polar opposite here by saying that censoring pornography will cause extreme political ideaology to prevail and we will go through other Holocaust. Those who advocate censorship are not all Facists and Maoists - they just want their future generation to have a higher view of women and more respect for them. Read and reflect on reports on how young boys are watching extreme pornographic, and then ge
            • Again, you seem to take the polar opposite here by saying that censoring pornography will cause extreme political ideaology to prevail and we will go through other Holocaust.

              No, that's not what I said or meant.

              You argued that we should ban pornography due to its harmful nature to society.

              I'm saying that political speech has itself caused much more harm, therefore by your argument, it should be censored too.

              Those who advocate censorship are not all Facists and Maoists - they just want their future generation to have a higher view of women and more respect for them.

              Sure, and I don't doubt that.

              But the issue that renders censorship to be so dangerous is that there was never an implementation of it that wasn't abused by those who chose what was censored, either by incompetence or malice.
              Even in Australia, a democratic country by all accou

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