14 December 2009

CN - China tightens Internet controls in the name of fighting porn, piracy, and cybercrime

(Rebecca MacKinnon)
China's blocking of overseas websites - including Facebook, Twitter, and thousands of other websites including this blog - is more extensive and technically more sophisticated than ever. Controls over domestic content have also been tightening. The past few weeks have seen four new moves which are not officially or overtly aimed at political content, but which have implications for the way in which the government controls all conveyors of all kinds of speech. First, late November saw the launch of a mobile porn crackdown. The draconian way in which this crackdown is being implemented involves a great deal of collateral damage for non-pornographic content. Second, Chinese the state-run media is going after the search engines again for turning up smutty results when users search for smutty information. Third, last week the government shut down more than 500 file-sharing websites as part of an anti-porn and anti-piracy crackdown, on the grounds that these websites don't have proper licenses. Fourth, CNNIC, the organization which runs the .cn top-level domain has announced that it is no longer accepting domain name applications from individuals.