China, US Struggle to Control Internet Within Their Borders Continues

Posted on May 5, 2011


Here is an update summary of an article from the Wall Street Journal on activities within China to curb the internet.

BY LORETTA CHAO

BEIJING—An official from China’s new Internet regulator defended the nation’s Internet controls from critics, saying they are in line with efforts elsewhere to protect privacy and block obscenity, gambling and other activities.

The unnamed official was quoted Thursday in a report from China’s state-run Xinhua news agency that clarified the role of the new agency amid China’s already crowded Internet regulatory landscape, saying the new State Internet Information Office will coordinate and streamline oversight and enforcement and will be run by officials from agencies already involved with Internet regulation.

The official said “untenable” remarks made by critics are intended to …

And from PCWorld this concern on the part of a US Senator.  Facebook is being examined more closely by Congress – in all of its many moves.:

U.S. Senator Critical of Rumored Facebook-Baidu Tie-up

By Michael Kan, IDG News    May 5, 2011 6:00 am

The possibility of Facebook entering China has started to draw political scrutiny, with U.S. senator Dick Durbin questioning whether a rumored tie-up between the U.S. social networking site and Chinese search engine Baidu would affect users’ free speech and privacy.

In recent months, the Web has been abuzz with reports that Facebook is gearing up to launch a site for China by partnering with the country’s largest search engine, Baidu. Access to Facebook is currently blocked in China due to the country’s strict Web censorship, which takes down content considered harmful or politically sensitive. Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, censors some search results in order to comply with Chinese laws.

Neither Facebook or Baidu have publically mentioned any such partnership. But the senator took aim at the possibility in a letter to Baidu’s CEO Robin Li. The senator also published the letter on his website on Wednesday.

In his letter, Durbin urged Baidu to protect users’ free speech, and asked the company what steps it will take to ensure its services won’t be misused by the Chinese government to censor the Internet and monitor political dissidents.

Durbin also said he was concerned about the possibility that Baidu and Facebook will partner to launch a social networking site in China.

“As demonstrated by recent developments in the Arab World, social networking technology is particularly susceptible to exploitation by governments,” he wrote. He asked Baidu what safeguards would be implemented to protect users if the search company and Facebook do go ahead and launch a social networking site in China. Read the remainder of this article here PCWorld.

Posted in: CHINA, UNITED STATES