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The Internet Censorship Your Rights Online

Censorship is Changing the Face of the Internet 281

Lucas123 writes "Amnesty International is warning that the Internet "could change beyond all recognition" because state-sponsored censorship has spread from a handful of countries to dozens of governments that apply mandated net filtering, and because companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have remained complicit, according to a BBC story. '"More and more governments are realising the utility of controlling what people see online and major internet companies, in an attempt to expand their markets, are colluding in these attempts,"' said Tim Hancock, Amnesty's campaign director."
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Censorship is Changing the Face of the Internet

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  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:44PM (#19419245) Journal
    Nothing to see here. Move along

    Is there *REALLY* nothing here, or has this been (gasp!) censored?
    • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:50PM (#19419289) Homepage Journal
      Oh, there will be a business model and an arms race, supplying tunnels and proxies to work around matters.
      And the states that are censoring will have the truth used upon them in the suppository fashion.
      • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:19AM (#19420283)

        Oh, there will be a business model and an arms race, supplying tunnels and proxies to work around matters.
        And the states that are censoring will have the truth used upon them in the suppository fashion.

        Exactly. Google, Yahoo! and MSN are not the entire internet. There are other search engines, other portals, other content providers. Even if all the major players kowtow to repressive governments in order to do business in those countries, there will still be billions of groups and individuals who aren't motivated by greed and/or fear.

        Keyword filtering can be defeated by SSL or by using alternate encodings (EG base64/rot13/etc content that gets transparently decoded via javascript on the client browser). DNS and IP level blocking can be defeated with proxies, remailers, IM bots, etc. People will always find a way around content blocks faster than those blocks can adapt.

        • Nobody with truly ingenius talent works for the govt, they are either hacks, show offs, or wannabee managers.

          Look at history, rebels always win in the end, the govts and their cronies always end up being hanged/burned alive eventually - even if it takes 60 years, they are relegated to the
          scum history pages and their name is as good as dirt and never used again. I see no one calling their sons Adolf for the next 1000 years.

          Yes it can all be outsourced, but thats a big risk.. since hackers/freedom fighters ca
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 )
            Look at history, rebels always win in the end

            Meet the Diggers, the Albigensians, the Luddites, the Branch Davidians, the Tupac Amaristus, the Paris Communards....
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            Look at history, rebels always win in the end,


            Damn straight, and may I say I'm glad I live in the Confederate States of America!

            Chris Mattern
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) *

          Google, Yahoo! and MSN are not the entire internet.

          Not yet, but if we're not careful, they will be.

          Further, you could also easily say that "AT&T and the handful of other major carriers are not the entire internet" but if we don't protect the neutrality of the net, they definitely will be.

          Point is, the internet isn't just going to stay the wooly, wide-open place it was 10 years ago. There's already a distinct chill in several precincts of the 'net. It sounds corny, but we have to be careful citizens of

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ozmanjusri ( 601766 )
        the states that are censoring will have the truth used upon them in the suppository fashion.

        Why would you think that?

        It hasn't been happening so far. http://www.projectcensored.org/newsflash/ap_bias.h tml [projectcensored.org]

        • Why would you think that?

          The people are sheep until you treat them as such. After so much sheep treatment, there will be rebellion. Which is why North Korea, to drop a name, is in such a precarious condition.
          Also, a broader look at history shows that, while you can have a dictatorial regime for a while, and it might even work really well, the transition of power to the next thug is always a mess. Barring foreign invasion, the difficult transfer of power is what tends to bring down authoritarian regime

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They did get Slashdot [slashdot.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Raven42rac ( 448205 ) *
      If you think about it, the internet is the real time editable news source straight out of 1984.
    • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @11:57PM (#19420115) Homepage
      Reliable news is delivered through 3 dominant means: radio/television, Internet, and print media. Print media is most easily blocked by authoritarian governments like those in Russia, Singapore, and China. Arresting the distributors or (in the case of Russia) subjecting them to tax audits is easy.

      However, blocking the Internet is very difficult. Anyone -- even a person with no technical knowledge -- can use a proxy server to bypass the blockage. Just pick a proxy server that anonymizes the user. Then, enter the URL of the "dangerous" site like, say, CNN [cnn.com]. The proxy server will fetch the content of the site.

      The only way for a brutal society like China to truly block the Internet is to sever the Chinese Internet from the rest of the global Internet.

      Also, blocking radio news is difficult since these days, almost anyone can buy a shortwave radio for under $50. A shortwave radio enables you to listen to Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe, etc.

      The above observations lead to the interesting conclusion that most Russian citizens can still access fair and balanced news by (1) accessing Western web sites like CNN and Fox News and (2) tuning into Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Statistics indicate that about 20% of Russians have regular access to the Internet. The other 80% could easily buy a shortwave radio. I recommend a Panasonic one.

      The main problem in Russia is not government control of the Russian radio and television stations. The main problem is that most Russians genuinely support Putin and his authoritarian polices.

      Similar comments apply to mainland China. Most Chinese who study at American universities support the occupation and brutalization of Tibetans. The Chinese in the USA know the truth (from CNN, Fox News, etc.) but reject it. They prefer Chinese nationalism.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Beetle B. ( 516615 )
        Yes, yes. I submit to your explanation. No doubt, CNN, Fox, VOA, RFA, RFE speak the unqualified truth. Woe to those who question such sources. After all, the US & Europe have a God given monopoly on the truth. And anyone who conflicts with those views must be evil.

        Seriously, how arrogant can a person get?
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by b0z0n3 ( 1086487 )
          Well... What is a lie when every man has his own truth?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by value_added ( 719364 )
          Yes, yes. I submit to your explanation. No doubt, CNN, Fox, VOA, RFA, RFE speak the unqualified truth. Woe to those who question such sources. After all, the US & Europe have a God given monopoly on the truth. And anyone who conflicts with those views must be evil.

          Small wonder, then, that Al Jazeera, among others, still doesn't have a US distributor.

          I'm not Arab so I doubt I'd be a regular viewer of Arab television, but it would be informative to hear what 50 million or so people who don't consume a reg
  • by ThisIsForReal ( 897233 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:45PM (#19419253) Homepage
    Yeah, according to the BBC report, censorship is spreading. According to my state-run newspaper, everything is just fine, and, wait a second, it says here I should just move right along.
    • according to the BBC report, censorship is spreading. According to my state-run newspaper, everything is just fine

      The easiest way to lay an issue to rest is to raise it the wrong way. The victims correct your mistakes, congratulate themselves and move along none the wiser.

    • by bentcd ( 690786 ) <bcd@pvv.org> on Thursday June 07, 2007 @04:42AM (#19421233) Homepage

      Yeah, according to the BBC report, censorship is spreading.
      It is probably more accurate to say that the internet is spreading. And when it spreads to a state that censors all its information, of course they will also censor the internet.

      The only channels that will not be censored in such states are those that are too small or obscure to end up on the information departments' bulleted lists. Internet used to be one of these, but that time is fast coming to an end.
  • by gerf ( 532474 ) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:47PM (#19419267) Journal

    Governments want control, businesses want money.

    There's nothing loving, forgiving or compassionate about a committee with a purpose.

    The only question is how to prevent them from killing our freedoms. Democracy hasn't seemed to work all that well lately, at least in a two party system.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:50PM (#19419295)
      Thats because people insist that anyone but the government is free to trample their rights. How long did they think it would take before the government simply started contracting out the military and police and eavesdropping and...
    • Democracy hasn't seemed to work all that well lately, at least in a two party system.

      What makes you think that? Did I miss a popular uprising that failed to affect the country?

      Democracy is working just fine. If it seems like there's been little effect by the Nov 2006 elections, that's because only 4/12 of the federal democracy was up for review. Expect a stronger effect in 2008, when 10/12 will be up for review. And that 1/3 had more than a little effect, as the soon-to-pass immigration compromise underscores.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aj1 ( 935405 )
      Democracy hasn't seemed to work all that well lately, at least in a two party system.


      What country do you live in. Here in the USA we have a Republic.

      • by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:14PM (#19419481)
        A republic is not a democracy. A democracy is when the people rule. A republic is when officials are elected. If three random senators picked the next president, America would still be a republic, just not a democracy. IMHO, America isn't a true democracy, but a plutocratic republic. Do the people really choose a person to rule? No, they pick the rich guy they hate the least. Its not perfect, but its probably the closest thing we'll get to a real democracy.
        • Says who? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Estanislao Martínez ( 203477 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @11:03PM (#19419769) Homepage

          A republic is not a democracy. A democracy is when the people rule. A republic is when officials are elected.

          My Oxford American Dictionary says that democracy is "a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives" (or "a state governed in such a way"); and republic is "a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch."

          Note, however, that dictionary definitions do not settle arguments. Meanings are determined by usage, and dictionaries are records of usage (and fallible ones). But, when all the media in your country routinely use the word democracy in a way that contradicts the rule you're stating there, well, it's your rule that's mistaken, not the people who use the word in violation of it. This is just Linguistics 101.

          • Re:Says who? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Mattsson ( 105422 ) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:59AM (#19420463) Journal

            But, when all the media in your country routinely use the word democracy in a way that contradicts the rule you're stating there, well, it's your rule that's mistaken, not the people who use the word in violation of it. This is just Linguistics 101.
            That might be true for the meaning of the word itself. But "Democracy" is a simply the word that is used to describe the concept of democracy. If you let your media or government propaganda change the meaning of the word "Democracy", you'd have to come up with a new word for that concept, since the concept itself wouldn't have changed.
            Otherwise, it will be rather confusing when trying to compare what you call a democracy with what the rest of the world calls a democracy.

            It would end up like the word "Football".
            A US-English speaking person and a International-English speaking person uses the same word for two different concepts.
            Since it doesn't have the same meaning in the US as in the rest of the world, they had to come up with the word "Soccer" to describe the international definition of "Football" and we had to come up with "American football" to describe their definition of "Football".
        • by fafalone ( 633739 ) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:33AM (#19420335)
          I'm surprised that more people here don't realize democracy isn't really that good a thing. Most people are uninformed, uneducated morons that should never be entrusted with any kind of direct, majority based control over policy. Most people form opinions of policy based on everything except logic, science and reason. That's why the US gov was set up the way it is; the problem is the people being elected to office are increasingly not being elected based on their intelligence, knowledge and trust that they will implement the best policy for the people, and instead being elected for pandering to peoples malformed prejudiced judgments on what policy should be. I see it as a continuation of the larger and more dangerous trend of intelligence no longer being valued. So as elected officials support what a simple majority of their constituents think the policies should be, the government will become more and more oppressive as the majority will supercedes the rights of minority groups. A perfect example is drug policy. The majority forms the opinion drugs=bad=ban, and only politicians who adhere to prohibition even have a shot at office; but all logic and science overwhelmingly shows prohibition maximizes harm to society while not at all accomplishing its goal of reducing use. Another example is stem cell policy. Most people on the right think stem cells=cloning=killing babies=wrong, a position which also has nothing to do with science or whats best for the progress of life saving therapies, and a Republican candidate has to agree or risk losing votes. Look for more issues to start being decided by the whim of the masses rather than what's best, science education/evolution is quickly stepping up to be another majority belief that electees must match to get votes.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Vote for Ron Paul, his 1% in the polls could use some help. Anti-prohibition and a platform of deregulation with small government.

            I wonder if years from now, with the benefit of hindsight, if people will credit America's success to its Free Markets and enormous amount of resources instead of its adherence to those 'self-evident rights' in democracy.

            Though candidates like Ron Paul can prove the attributes of the system (anyone can run), his position is the polls and perception by corporate media proves that
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bmgoau ( 801508 )
            Churchill's famous dictum: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." (From a House of Commons speech on Nov. 11, 1947)

            Yeh, democracy doesn't always work, yeh people are generally prone to make bad choices, especially when they're in a group, and yeh democracy has a tendency to have short term and majority orientated interests. But for the most part it's the best system of government we can manage on a scaleable basis in this world,
          • If every office term was limited to ONE SITTING, thereby making it impossible for someone to 'play to the dumb people' to get elected again, but do the right thing
            no matter if they disagree. You have one shot, make it good, prosper. Career politians are bad and wastefull because they just sponge of the system and get a 10x better
            pension than the average dude because they claim they cant get a job after words but in truth they end up with 500k+ jobs and a 80k+ yearly pension!!! that is not even mean tested!!
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by profaneone ( 316036 )
            >> I'm surprised that more people here don't realize democracy isn't really that good a thing. Most people are uninformed, uneducated morons
            >> that should never be entrusted with any kind of direct, majority based control over policy.

            "I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesom discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by ed
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by urbanradar ( 1001140 )

          Do the people really choose a person to rule? No, they pick the rich guy they hate the least. Its not perfect, but its probably the closest thing we'll get to a real democracy.

          I beg to differ. I'm a citizen of Switzerland, and here we have a direct democracy. Meaning:

          • We elect no president per se, as in, no one guy who is seen as being "in charge" of the country -- we elect federal councils ("Bundesrat") with several members to each, all of which are in charge of different areas of government but can al
      • by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) * on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:41PM (#19419651) Homepage Journal

        Democracy hasn't seemed to work all that well lately, at least in a two party system.

        What country do you live in. Here in the USA we have a Republic.

        Call me crazy {'cause I am...} but I'd always thought America was a "democratic republic"...
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Then I guess I'll call you crazy. America is a Constitutional Republic.
          • The US is also Constitutional Democracy.

            The two are not as mutually exclusive as your narrow two-party line of thinking suggest.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by martinX ( 672498 )
          It's a democratic republic because you get to vote for the prick you're going to hate in 4 years.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by db32 ( 862117 )
          You are all wrong. Due to the new super executive powers that is all gone. Assuming you ignore all the vote fraud stuff as of late and say that our voting system is healthy and functioning properly, what we have is a democratically elected dictatorship with corporate sponsorship. Wake me up when the government actually does something for the people. Even the new "consumer protection" bankruptcy laws are actually pro corporate laws designed to give everyone one last chance to try and squeeze blood out of
    • by soren100 ( 63191 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @11:12PM (#19419827)

      Democracy hasn't seemed to work all that well lately, at least in a two party system.

      The two parties are working together to make sure no one else gets in and spoils their "party". For example, there is an excellent article [npr.org] describing how the presidential "debates" are controlled to prevent any other parties from gaining traction. They realized that Ross Perot got 90% of his support after the debates, so they created a system to prevent any other parties from being able to join by raising the bar high enough. The "Commission on Presidential Debates" which runs the debates, is totally run by the two parties. In the article, it quotes Walter Cronkite as calling the CPD an "unconscionable fraud".

      The "debates" are also very carefully controlled (according to the article) of presenting the appearance of being a debate without actually being a debate, so as to pose no danger to the candidates, and so that important issues can be avoided.

      Ron Paul, a current presidential candidate and member of the Republican party, said recently on the Daily Show that he is only a Republican because he couldn't get elected if he were a member of another party. He wrote an essay on how the two-party system disenfranchises voters [lewrockwell.com].

      • I've always found things like that strange about America. So many aspects of the basic political apparatus seem to be directly under the control of just two political parties. Up here in Canada, for example, federal elections are run by Elections Canada, a non-partisan, arms-length organization that draws riding boundaries and administers elections. The whole "hanging chad" thing, for example, can't really happen where people are working with a neutral, standardized ballot. Another consequence of having
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Mr2001 ( 90979 )
          In Canada, you have a parliamentary system where third parties actually matter once in a while. Down here, we obey Duverger's law [wikipedia.org].
      • I've often thought about how obselete democracy is. Every four years,we get to put a cross on a piece of paper for some bloke I've never met, to represent me. Why do we still use this archaic system of governance we call democracy? Computer technology is such a powerful enabling technology that could revolutionise governance. Many fields (e.g. Banking) have been totally revolutionised by computerisation. We could have the same revolutionisation within governance, by applying our collective intellectual capital to governing a country.

        What is possible today is a franchise based voting system based not on the old premis of land ownership, but on our participation in society. We could be rewarded for our qualifications, our age, our life experience, with voting points within our areas of expertise. We could continually vote within our fields of expertise on issues of governance, and be rewarded for this participation by having more voting points within our individual areas of expertise.

        Participatory Governance is a totally feasable option today, which would prevent the type of misuse of power the parent article is about.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rohan972 ( 880586 )
      The only question is how to prevent them from killing our freedoms.

      Resist compulsory schooling. How can you be free if a government agent teaches you how to think?

      Since schooling is compulsory, it is the norm for there to be a large percentage of any class who don't want to be there. This means that the first priority of a teacher necessarily becomes crowd control. No teaching can happen until this is achieved, regardless of the quality or intentions of the teacher. So the most predominant and consist
    • Yeah man, the system is like totally broken. It is like we don't have any freedom of speech any more. Damn that yeasty little cunt Bush. He is by far the worst mother fucking president ever to set his a clove footed hoof into the oval office. He is a worthless, pig shit, sheep fucking, donkey screwing, cow cunt licking, Nazi who eats babies and rapes more boys then a Catholic priest. How is it that we let these worthless, incompetent, corrupt tyrants that we call Democrats and Republicans steal away ou
  • by largesnike ( 762544 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:51PM (#19419299)
    I hope this turns out to be an informed debate. We have all watched this slow incursion. It is obviously in full swing in repressive socvieties such as China and Burma. But it seems that Government legislatos are also tempted the curb certain things. In Australia it is material that could be condidered "sedition" such as Islamist (as opposed to islamic) sites calling for an Australian Jihad. But always, underneath, we detect the temptation moving further into banning activist websites as "sedition".
    Unfortunately, many of these conferences get hijacked by the shrill calls of alarmists, who have more believe than knowledge, and emotion over thought.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:53PM (#19419315)
    If you don't want problems with censorship, net neutrality, etc... make your own internet. No one said you have to use the main domain name system which the rest of the internet uses. And no one said you have to communicate purely via TCP in traditional ways. Most of these censorship systems are bricks which are designed to restrict clueless users who don't know about tunneling traffic through various secure & anonymous means.

    At the extreme end of the scale, a country could do censorship on a "white list" basis where all the sites available do not allow user-submitted content. Trying to access any other port/protocol/IPs not on the white list would result in an error. This is where the real problems occur, as it blocks out even the most tech-savvy hackers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )
      HI! I'm a tax payer whose taxes went into creating the internet. Get the fuck off our internet.
    • no one said you have to communicate purely via TCP in traditional ways.

      You can also use a string and two tin cans to talk to your neighbor, but only because you can tell them how to listen. The problem with inventing new ways to talk is that no one else knows about it. When everyone knows about it, the network's owner can block it and you and your leet friends are back to square one, just like the "clueless users" you deride.

      The whole point of the internet is to pass information back and forth so no

    • I would say that already exists... in certain ways, and in certain countries that are hit hardest by the great hand of censorship... It's just not exactly front-page news (and it really shouldn't be... for obvious reasons...)

      Not to mention, those eeevil "pirates" and all use this sort of thing all the time... much to the aneurysm-inducing anger of the *AA's.

      I think it's funny, to boot.

      What's the most important thing we hate about China? (officially?) That they don't do enough to protect "intellectual" p
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If speech has to be anonymous it is not free.
    • And no one said you have to communicate purely via TCP in traditional ways. Most of these censorship systems are bricks which are designed to restrict clueless users who don't know about tunneling traffic through various secure & anonymous means.

      The tech-sophisticates are most likely to be part of the governing elite and no threat whatever to the existing order. They are the ones with the state-funded education. The best jobs. The best housing.

      The Geek as rebel is a laughable conceit to anyone with a

  • by iplayfast ( 166447 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:53PM (#19419325)
    Corporations at one time tried to make money for their shareholders, then they began to realize that if they instead working on controlling the public, in what the public bought and thought, the money would come as a consequence.
    Governments have always worked on controlling the public, in what they thought and in some governments what they bought.

    The difference is that corporations and governments are now vying for positions in how to best control the public. If a corporation allows the government to control it, it can get access to the population and thereby have some influence. If the corporation doesn't allow the government to control it, it will ether be shut down or shut out.

    You can see this behavior in music, literature, web searches, museums, copyright, trademarks, patents and on and on and on.

    As far as the public is concerned, .....

    good luck
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Paladin144 ( 676391 )

      If a corporation allows the government to control it, it can get access to the population and thereby have some influence. If the corporation doesn't allow the government to control it, it will ether be shut down or shut out.

      That's why the corporations decided to buy the government. They picked the first choice and then infiltrated the government ... gradually a heirarchy -- an Oligarchy -- developed as people went back and forth between government and the private sector. The Oligarchy was forged as rich

    • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Thursday June 07, 2007 @01:12AM (#19420505)

      Corporations at one time tried to make money for their shareholders, then they began to realize that if they instead working on controlling the public, in what the public bought and thought, the money would come as a consequence. Governments have always worked on controlling the public, in what they thought and in some governments what they bought.

      Want to know why fascism (even if clothed in democracy) is on the rise? This is why.

      There's nothing that brings in money more than a captive market, and the best way to ensure a captive market is via the force of law. Fascism is the merger of the corporation and the state, in such a way that the corporation appears to be a separate entity but really isn't. In a fascist state, the corporations are in primary control over the government.

      Money is power. Guns are power. Control both and you control it all. Those who run the biggest corporations want that power, but also don't want to take the blame for the consequences of the use of that power. Control of a government gives them that isolation. That isolation is especially good in a pseudo-democratic society in which the population thinks it has some kind of control over who gets into office, and therefore doesn't think to blame anyone but themselves when those in office do the bidding of the corporations and not the voters.

  • more of the same (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:53PM (#19419327) Journal
    More and more governments are realising the utility of controlling what people see online and major internet companies, in an attempt to expand their markets, are colluding in these attempts,"

    I don't think this is so much "changeing the face of the internet" as allowing the internet to grow into places where censorship has long been a part of life. The governments that are censoring are not comeing to any new realisations about controlling informantion, they are ust applying existing policies to a new medium. Any international companies that want to do business in those markets has a different set of rules there then they do in the US or UK. Internet based or not. This is not much different than when Nike started making shoes in China and there were outcries of the "inhuman sweatshops". It was crap pay by 1st world standards but a decent job in China at the time.
    Yes censorship sucks, but there is a long list of things that suck in most countries that censor heavily. Would a lack of international companies in the PRC make it a better place to live? I don't think so.
    • No, it's distrubing. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Erris ( 531066 )

      I don't think this is so much "changeing the face of the internet" as allowing the internet to grow into places where censorship has long been a part of life. ... there is a long list of things that suck in most countries that censor heavily.

      Don't you think that US companies have completely neutered the internet in China? That the same companies are busy planning the same thing for their own countries so that all of your future publications can be censored and participating in any way can be dangerous?

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:57PM (#19419351)
    the Internet "could change beyond all recognition"

    Compared to, say, when those very same totalitarian-type countries didn't have internet access at all? Compared to only a few years ago when it didn't exist at all? And, will China's internet censoring actually change it, beyond all recognition, for me? Will this article or the summary change the meaning of hyperbole beyond all recognition? Places like China have been lacking free speech since before the internet existed, and they still lack it. That China was a little slow applying their cultural norm to this newer tool isn't very shocking. What's terrible is that censorship IS their cultural norm. Change that, and little things like internet filtering, or centralized political control, etc., change right along with it. This is a symptom, not the problem.
    • by thegrassyknowl ( 762218 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @11:42PM (#19419997)

      Places like China have been lacking free speech since before the internet existed, and they still lack it.

      The article isn't talking about places like China. It is talking about the Chinese idea of blanket censorship spreading to other "free" western nations. It is scary. Here, in the land of tin men and wizards, there was a crazy religious nutter senator in the deep south who tried to impose a bill that would force ISPs to censor content that _he_ deemed to be filth. The bill actually got a lot of debate and IIRC was used as a bargaining tool for and against other legislation. As a result it did get a lot of support, specially from the think of the children brigade.

      The idea of censorship for control is alarming and the fact that the Internet has become such a backbone of modern information gathering gives gumbiments the power to control what we (yes, you and me) can and can't see or even to poison what reliable information is out there. It's alarmist and it's paranoid, but it is possible and I guarantee they do think about it!

  • by presentt ( 863462 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:01PM (#19419379) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if, at least in the United States, the internet and its "freedoms" are already too interlaced in people's lives for a censorship program to be successfully implemented now. What would happen if suddenly school students could not get reliable information on subjects like Guantanamo? Or, if John Q. Public can't get his free porno? Also, what would large media networks do--especially those with other outlets besides their website, such as television stations--if their content is censored online, but not elsewhere?

    Even if it were more altruistic, like censorship of terrorist web pages or even malware sites, there would be a huge outcry from an otherwise free media.

    • by jombeewoof ( 1107009 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:36PM (#19419615) Homepage
      This will probably get modded troll or some such shenanigans but I've got to say it.

      When anyone decides what can and cannot be said, everyone loses. I totally disagree with terrorism, and islamic jihad and all that crap. But I have to defend their right to say and believe in it.
      Attack me, or my family and I'll kill them myself. But their crazy religion instructs them that we are evil and must be killed if their religion is to flourish. This is no different than the Catholic/Christian regimes of western Europe 500 years ago. It's the same damn thing. Do I agree with what they have to say? HELL NO. will I defend their right to say it? Yes.

      Speech and action are very different things.
      The freedom to speak, and the right to believe in even the most unpopular ideals is what made America great.
      Unfortunately corporate sub-culture and sheep mentality is what is making America terrible.
      • You might be interested in the recent PBS series "America at a Crossroads" (really poor name choice)
        that looks at these and other issues surrounding Islam. Several times the point is indeed made that
        Islam is very young compared to the other "major religions" and needs to grow beyond this and other
        tendencies* to survive/thrive. The episode with the female, Canadian author is especially insightful.

        * For instance the whole concept of "I disagree with what you say, but will fight for your right to
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by largesnike ( 762544 )
        Your screed defending the freedom of speech made me think a bit about the difference between a simple belief and an ideology. In particular your reference to islam as a crazy religion. You see, I don't think that its islam that does this, certainly no more than Christianity, anyway. I think its ideologues within those religions that use the texts and the power of public opinion to push certain agendas (such as killing protestants in the middle ages, and Americans in 20th and 21st Centuries).
        A belief in is
        • But anyone can go into either of these books pick out a few passages and use them to justify to a frightened population as to why they should be killing...

          And oddly enough, so can the rabid people on the other sides. For example - for every islamic fundamentalist, you can find a person like those who hang out on dhimmiwatch.org who are just as willing to cherry-pick from the koran or historical events - often focusing on the exact same items that the fundamentalists do.

          It's like nutjobs, regardless of their specific point of view, are always looking to distort and manipulate for the purpose of doing harm to others.

    • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:37PM (#19419627) Homepage
      Hey! You must be that same guy who said back in 2000 that there would be a "huge outcry" if the electoral college went against the popular vote in the Presidential election (and the system would be immediately changed). Good to see you again, how's it going?
  • FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:01PM (#19419383)
    "could change beyond all recognition"

    As opposed to... What? Change is expected - along w/unrecognizable traits.

    "Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have remained complicit"

    'remained' - remained..? You mean like they haven't taken any time-outs yet...? Or, they get together in Bermuda twice a year to compare notes and plan how they will rule...?

    The gentrification of the internet is always a concern, I suppose, but I am reminded of a phrase that was coined 'long about the first time such topics popped up - "The internet interprets restriction as an interruption and routes around it."

    Seems to me that one of the basics of (pointed) redirection is blocking and/or interrupting - fine, bring it on.
  • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:06PM (#19419423) Homepage
    Current technology and practice is what makes censorship possible. In an ideal world, the only thing a network snoop, be it ISP or government, should see is generic packets full of encrypted bits. They should not be able to examine TCP headers or the contents of packets.
    • Except that, by definition, transport layer protocols must be observable by all hosts between client and server, else you wouldn't know where to send any packets (encrypted or otherwise). I think you'll find that censorship will usually attack that layer, blocking connections by blacklisting particular servers.
  • Not Inevitable (Score:2, Informative)

    by mr_nuff ( 212669 )
    The key to preventing these kinds of issues is education. As others have pointed out, most filtering is only going to stop the casual user. If people realize that there are other ways to communicate freely, they will do so. Imagine sending thousands of OLPC's to China loaded up with Tor, SSL, and a healthy primer on network communication protocols. The "Great Firewall of China" starts looking like swiss cheese.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by killpog ( 740063 )
      Already does.
    • by jonwil ( 467024 )
      2 problems with that:
      1.The government in whatever country is doing the censoring will just stop these (arrest people bringing them into the country for example)
      also 2.The government in countries involved in the supply of the "anti-censorship tech" might decide to stop it. For example, a while back there was an anti-censorship group that wanted to send balloons filled with radios over the North Korean border so that the North Koreans might actually get something vaguely resembling information (instead of the
  • Chairbot (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jstomel ( 985001 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:21PM (#19419525)
    This seems like an interesting story, but it lacks the earthshaking importance of the "chairbot" article. Slashdot really needs to refocus it's priorities.
  • Why do they drag Google into this mess? I just did a search for a particular social taboo for some research I'm doing and the first thing that came up is dated April 4, 1999. No censorship here! No way! Those high profile cases plastered all over the news last summer did not happen at all according to google! Google is the answer! You get old out dated results for your research! Use it everyday!
  • by ElephanTS ( 624421 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:37PM (#19419625)
    Yes. It used to be this :-) now it's this :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Dude! Someone censored your nose!
    • by mblase ( 200735 )
      Yes. It used to be this :-) now it's this :(

      I thought it was changing into something more like this ^_^
    • by jd ( 1658 )
      I'm working on the changing face by trying to have one of the better online comic strips declared the national cartoon [ipetitions.com], in the same way we have a national flower and national tree. The chances are extremely high that nobody will take this petition seriously (which is just as well), but then the chances are also extremely high that nobody will take the censorship story seriously either, or any efforts to counter censorship. My efforts will therefore be no less successful than anyone else's but is at least go
  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @10:41PM (#19419649) Homepage Journal

    One giant piece of missing information is that all three internet giants refused the public Amnesty International debate [slashdot.org]. It's too bad they won't clarify their position as an aid to repressive governments. As the Register noted, "no news is good news" when you have something to hide. Because they refuse to meet their critics in the open, we are all left with speculation and stink. As all of us are dependent on these three companies to one extent or another, how censored is our own world view?

    The answer is to help each other and report what you see. Alternatives, like Slashdot and blogs [stallman.org] exist for this reason. The majority of us still get most of our "news" from "mainstream" sources but we don't have to. As long as the internet remains a free place we can inform each other of what's happening.

    This is good news for small newspapers, if they take advantage of it.

    • "Alternatives, like Slashdot and blogs exist for this reason. The majority of us still get most of our "news" from "mainstream" sources but we don't have to."

      By far the majority of what's on Slashdot, the blogs, etc. comes from the mainstream news sources, e.g. this item, which links to a BBC article. A bunch of people posting opinions on that 99.99% of them wouldn't even know about without the mainstream outlets isn't an alternative news source.
  • Darknets needed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jihadist ( 1088389 ) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @01:39AM (#19420607) Homepage Journal
    Power needs only complimentary information available. You do not motivate groups of people by exposing them to contradictory information. Corporations do it with advertising, parents do it with cautionary tales, religions do it with fear of lack of immortality, and governments do it with force. The real question is how to build an international darknet that is impossible to oversee, and can "route around" the damage.
  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @02:24AM (#19420783)
    So if a country sue an US company for breaking their own local law, let us say by selling nazi memorabellia, the answer is "well swallow it, it is a free itnernet baby !", when pointed out that the company do business IN the country and thus should respect local law (whether that law is censuring free speech or not see nazi memorabelia above) we get the same answer. But when the country starts ENFORCING their local law by cutting down the pipe to the www there is again a scream of murder.

    I take it that /. will never be satisfied until the US constitution and law apply everywhere in the world (*)... Maybe you should wake up and smell the fresh coffee in the morning, and realize that ONLY the local people in a country can fight the law of that country. Once you realized and accepted that and see the way the WWW is no local law can be applied, then The natural answer is a balkanisation or at least filtering of the internet. Just like there are frontier for a reason.
    And , oh by the way, when and where is the next "free speech zone" set up in 2008 ?

    (*) Yes I know /. is not one person but a group of person. If you don't feel targeted by this post ignore it.
  • Blame Google! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 )
    I love how they blame search engines for obeying the law. Like they have a choice somehow that they can continue operating in those countries if they choose to the 'right thing' and not censor. There's not a shred of blame laid on every single other type of media in those same countries, it's just the search engines that are at fault for censorship.

    "But those media aren't on the internet!" No, but if the local newspapers didn't censor information, would the government even bother trying to censor Google?
  • by Tama00 ( 967104 )
    What we should do is encrypt the whole internet! Everything outside your router to the internet will be encoded so that only the reciving end will know what the data is. I shall call this, Encrypternet!
  • by Cal Paterson ( 881180 ) * on Thursday June 07, 2007 @09:27AM (#19422531)
    Why does this seem to get zero press? I can only figure out what I read on wikipedia and their website, but it looks like a bonafide China-Style blocker.

    Cleanfeed [wikipedia.org]

    At the moment, however, it does only block Child Pornography, Criminally Obscene (types of porn, i suspect) and "Incitement to Racial Hatred" content. These are noble goals (though I would not agree with enforcing them through a manditory content filter) but I'm certain that, once in place, the blocklist will expand significantly.

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