Category Archives: Censorship

Looking back, the Communications Decency Act that almost was

The Communications Decency Act was passed in 1996. The goal was to protect children from harmful content on the Internet, which sounds great in theory but turns out to be terribly difficult to implement in practice. Many groups believed that the CDA was overly vague and could restrict all sorts of legitimate speech between adults, and the ACLU took the lead in the legal challenge to the law. The case worked its way up to the Supreme Court, where it became the first Internet-related case addressed by the Court. Reno v. ACLU was decided on June 26, 1997, and it struck down major sections of the CDA. The Court found that the law was imprecise; regulating speech generally requires highly-specific controls, and the text of the law did not meet that standard. The CDA did not define “indecent” and “patently offensive,” nor did it include the caveat that “patently offensive” material with some socially redeeming value would be allowed. The justices found that filtering on the user end (that is, by parents) was a less-troubling method of filtering out unwanted Internet content.

Read this item from Ars Technica


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Filed under A democratic medium?, Censorship, History of New Media, The Politics of New Media

China & New Media: guanxi, QQ, cyberwar preparations and the “Great Firewall”

Is the Internet reshaping Chinese culture?

Excited and emboldened by the wealth of information they find on the Internet, Chinese teens are breaking centuries of tradition to challenge their teachers and express their own opinions in class. Wearing jerseys emblazoned with the names of European soccer stars, downloading weekly episodes of “Prison Break,” listening to 50 Cent, and reading Japanese comic books, China’s current high school generation is plugging itself directly into international culture. And it’s giving the kids ideas. Ideas that could one day transform the way this country is governed. “The Internet has given Chinese children wings,” says Sun Yun Xiao, vice president of the China Youth and Children Research Center.

Read Web opens world for young Chinese, but erodes respect from the Christian Science Monitor

Guanxi, China’s cultural heritage lends itself to ‘social media’

In China, the concept of guanxi ranks right up there with air, water, food, love, and tea as an essential of life. Air and water are becoming compromised in China, but not guanxi. In its simplest translation, guanxi means connections or relationships. The concept is really far more complex than that, easily the stuff of dissertations. I found one blogger’s struggle to define the social capital of guanxi appealing. He said the important qualities are whom you know; whom the people you want to know know; whom the people you already know know. Or something like that.

Read Deborah Fallows’ take on guanxi from the Pew Internet & American Life Project

Chinese new media consumption centers on fun

No other Internet company in the world — not even Google — has achieved the kind of dominance in its home market that Tencent commands in China, where its all-in-one packaging of entertainment offerings and a mobile instant-messaging service, “QQ,” has reached more than 100 million users, or nearly 80 percent of the market….While America’s Internet users send e-mail messages and surf for information on their personal computers, young people in China are playing online games, downloading video and music into their cellphones and MP3 players and entering imaginary worlds where they can swap virtual goods and assume online personas.

Read Internet Boom in China Is Built on Virtual Fun (free login needed) from the New York Times

The “Great Firewall” of China

Flickr is the latest casualty of China’s ongoing battle to control the internet. Wikipedia and a raft of other popular websites, discussion boards and blogs have already fallen victim to the country’s censors. China employs a complex system of filters and an army of tens of thousands of human monitors to survey the country’s 140 million internet users’ surfing habits and remove content deemed too sensitive….Its stability-obsessed government says the surveillance machinery, commonly known as the “Great Firewall,” is necessary to let internet users enjoy a “healthy” online environment and build a “harmonious” society.

Read this article from New Scientist

China wants to lead the cyber-arms race

The Defense Department said in its annual report on China’s military power last month that China regarded computer network operations — attacks, defense and exploitation — as critical to achieving “electromagnetic dominance” early in a conflict.

Read this item from the Washington Post

More? Ok.

  • China residents logging on in greater numbers from Ars
  • China: Two more years to Internet No. 1? from C|Net
  • Web 2.0 madness grips China from C|Net
  • US says China isn’t doing enough about piracy, files complaint with WTO from Ars
  • China seeks to ‘limit game hours’ from the BBC
  • China: Better at censoring blogs than malware from Ars

  • Track all things China + New Media from the What’s New Media blog?

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    Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Censorship, Same as it ever Was, Social Media, The Politics of New Media, Virtual Communities, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

    Yahoo, China, profit, censorship, water, oil

    “Yahoo is dismayed that citizens in China have been imprisoned for expressing their political views on the Internet,” Yahoo said in a statement faxed to the Associated Press. The company went on to deplore “punishment of any activity internationally recognized as free expression.”…Not that the declaration changes anything; Yahoo plans to keep turning over information when required to do so by the Chinese government. Any sort of “principled stand” made by the American bosses of the company could easily put Yahoo’s Chinese staff in legal jeopardy of their own, and pulling out of China is not an option Yahoo is willing to contemplate.

    Read Yahoo condemns Chinese repression, continues to aid it and Yahoo shareholders reject anti-censorship proposals from Ars Technica. Previously from WNM: Yahoo gets sued for turning email info over to the Chinese, The Complicity Question. Google, Yahoo, etc and China and Yahoo Punished for China Policy.

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    Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Business 2.0, Censorship, The Politics of New Media

    Censored Venezuelan TV station turns to YouTube

    An opposition Venezuelan television station whose broadcast license has not been renewed by the government is now turning to YouTube to get its message out after its transmitter was taken over by a state-run channel. Hugo Chavez’s “Bolivarian Revolution” has no time for media groups that criticize his government; Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) is now off the air, and another channel, Globovision, could be next, according to CNN.

    Read this item from Ars Technica

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    Filed under A democratic medium?, Censorship, The Politics of New Media, User generated content

    YouTube questions military censorship

    On Monday, the US Department of Defense announced that a number of social networking and media sites would be blocked on its network, citing bandwidth concerns. “This is a bandwidth and network management issue. We’ve got to have the networks open to do our mission….For their part, YouTube isn’t accepting the ban without a fight. Today, YouTube told the Associated Press they would challenge the US Defense Department’s decision. “Watching or uploading online video does use bandwidth and can slow or tie up a network, but [CEO Chad] Hurley expressed doubt that soldiers’ use of YouTube could have any real effect on the military’s massive network,” reported the AP.

    More from the Read/Write Web and WIRED. Previously from WNM: U.S. Defense Department silences soldier’s 2.0 voices

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    Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Blogosphere, Censorship, Digital Commons, Social Media, The Politics of New Media, web 2.0

    Politics, security and social norms motivate state censorship of the Internet

    The level of state-led censorship of the net is growing around the world, a study of so-called internet filtering by the Open Net Initiative suggests. The study of thousands of websites across 120 Internet Service Providers found 25 of 41 countries surveyed showed evidence of content filtering….The filtering had three primary rationales, according to the report: politics and power, security concerns and social norms.

    Read this item from the BBC

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    Filed under Censorship, The Politics of New Media

    U.S. Defense Department silences soldier’s 2.0 voices

    No more using the military’s computer system to socialize and trade videos on MySpace, YouTube and more than a dozen others Web sites, the Pentagon says. Citing security concerns and technological limits, the Pentagon has cut off access to those sites for personnel using the Defense Department’s computer network. The change limits use of the popular outlets for service members on the front lines, who regularly post videos and journals.

    Read this AP article courtesy of the Houston Chronicle. Coverage from C|Net and Ars. Previously from WNM: Milblogs dismissed!

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    Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Blogosphere, Censorship, Digital Commons, Social Media, The Politics of New Media, User generated content