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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 2: you don't live in China (yet)

The magnificent Rebecca McKinnon told Congress that Chinese Internet censorship included 280,000 trolls aiming to 'bamboo wash' (my phrase) any critique of China's policies, and how the process is co-regulatory:
"why merely block or filter content when you can delete it from the Internet entirely? In Anglo-European legal parlance, the legal mechanism used to implement such a system is called “intermediary liability.” The Chinese government calls it “self-discipline,” but it amounts to the same thing, and it is precisely the legal mechanism through which Google’s Chinese search engine,, was required to censor its search results. Internet companies operating within Chinese jurisdiction – domestic or foreign – are held liable for everything appearing on their search engines, blogging platforms, and social networking services. They are also legally responsible for
everything their users discuss or organize through chat clients and messaging services. In this way, much of the censorship and surveillance work is delegated and outsourced by the government to the private sector."
Even in Europe with our filtering, blocking and 3Strikes (digital inquisition, anyone?), we're not there yet.

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