15 June, 2005

malaysians try out filtering the web

Speaking of Internet censorship, Malaysia tried its hands on filtering the Internet of "online smut" and "obscene and indecent content" (i.e. pornography). Although a certain Malay-language daily misreported on it, at now all it does is require cyber cafes to install filtering software and ISPs and telcos to make filtering services available.

Malaysian blogger Ash.ox makes a case against such filtering (which, other than cyber cafes, is still voluntary):

By this time some of you will be asking, so what’s the big deal? Why is filtering pornographic content such a bad thing? It’s not, and the answer is as old as this issue, ladies and gents: because I believe in personal responsibility and choice. I remember in 1995 every other company was offering some sort of a blocking software to stave off the onslaught of the porn industry that will definitely turn all of the world’s youths into slobbering sex-addicts.

Well, it’s been 10 years, and I haven’t heard of the legion of Internet Porn Zombies attacking anyone yet.

Some thoughts by Nilesh Babu:

I’m not saying that I’m a porn freak and that I’m feeling’ disaster after reading this news; it’s just that; we are living in a democratic country (I think so), and by blocking porn, I’m not able to exercise my freedom to surf Internet freely (and exercise other part of my body too)!!! Secondly, why do government have to decide on what I can surf and what
I can’t on the Internet. Are we trying to follow the footsteps of China or something? What’s next, bloggers need to register with the government before we can launch our own blog?

by @ 9:02 pm. Filed under Blogs, Malaysia, Asia, Southeast Asia, Web/Tech, Censorship

i was bullied before the net existed

China’s web police and filters are well known (scroll down), South Korea’s experiments in censoring the internet don’t get as much attention, but at least we still have nice open Japan to set an example for the rest of Northeast Asia.

Last week, a high school boy threw a bomb he built into a classroom full of people in order to punish one of the occupants for bullying him. Bullying has long been a problem in Japan, and news reports are filled with grisly stories of students killing themselves and each other because of it.
The youth said he learned how to build the bomb and pack it with nails for maximum casualties on the Internet.
So what is the government’s response in the aftermath this latest school bullying?

That’ right. . . Stricter policing of the Internet!

Damn! (via Japundit)

by @ 8:30 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, Blogs, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Censorship

eswn supports msm

In a moment that is rare for the blogosphere, ESNW makes a defense of the mainstream media.:

First up, you are no doubt aware that I have been tracking the Nancy Kissel trial that is going on in Hong Kong.  Every day, I would check the usual suspects: The Standard, South China Morning Post, the eight online Chinese-language newspapers and then I would go to Google for AFP/AP/Reuters agency news.  Here is what I found when I Google the words "Nancy Kissel" — the top three references are three Hong Kong blogs: SimonWorld, FlyingChair and EastSouthWestNorth.  You won’t find The Standard until the next page, and you will never find the unlinkable South China Morning Post.
Whatever happened to justice in the Internet age?  The best coverage comes from reporters like Albert Wong of The Standard and Polly Hui of South China Morning Post, who show up day in and day out in the courtroom.  Why should a bunch of bloggers banging on their keyboards in the comfort of their homes or offices soar to the top of Google?

by @ 7:23 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Hong Kong, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

filtered words

China Digital Times has posted a revised list of words that are filtered by China’s Internet blocking technologies. Naturally, the connection times out whenever I try to access, however I was able to grab the first paragragh:

Nine months ago, I posted the list of 1041 filtered words from a file obtained by a Chinese hacker from a Chinese Internet company Tencent.
This list was also cross checked with another two lists CDT
independently received from other Chinese ICP (Internet Content
Provider) and ISP (Internet Service Provider) companies. There are some
variations (less than 2%) of the banned list, but the vast majority of
words are the same. One of students in my last class has translated the
entire list into English. Since MSN has been apparently using a list of filtered words for their Chinese customers, it will be interesting to test this list on MSN Space
to see whether the list is the same.  

by @ 6:01 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Censorship

prohibited words

I stole the below character chart from Imagethief who, in response to Microsoft’s decision to ban certain words from its Chinese blogging/journal site, writes:

Now, I may not be paying attention, but I am aware of no Chinese regulations or even “norms” (whatever that means) banning the words “freedom”, “democracy” and “human rights” in general discourse. I am aware of plenty of Chinese regulations concerning how and in what context those words are used, but that is different than banning the words themselves. With the words filtered, people are denied even the dubious privilege of self-censorship, something most Chinese are reasonably good at. Also, it presumes, from the point of view of the Chinese state, that there are absolutely no benign uses of any of these words. Example: the freedom to use whatever words you want in a blog post. MSN bloggers lose even the right to defend China on these issues, should they wish to.
I find the censoring of general words like “freedom” and “democracy” even more offensive than the general monitoring and blocking of websites by Chinese authorities. It is particularly galling when implemented as a matter of choice by an American corporation. This is a true expression of Orwellian thought control. Not only can’t you use these words in a our patrons might deem inappropriate, Microsoft is saying in its role as enforcer for the Chinese State, but you are unworthy of the very concepts themselves.
Therefore, as a public service, I would like to restore the words that MSN China has stolen from its bloggers.

click to enlarge

by @ 3:10 pm. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Censorship

markets can save simba

Vinod at Sepia Mutiny directed my attention to an item at Tech Central Station which argues that the best way to protect endangered species, such as India’s tigers, is to allow trade in animals and animal parts.:

Instead of looking at the illegal trade as a problem, it is possible to turn it in to the solution. It is time to permit the creation of tiger parks to breed tigers. This step will unite conservation with commerce. In a competitive market economy, with respect for property rights, every demand is an opportunity for investors to improve supply, making for an abundance that will blow away any threat of extinction.
The tiger breeds very easily, even in captivity. Zoos in India are constantly advised not to breed tigers because being large carnivorous animals, they are expensive to maintain. The tragedy in Nandankanan Zoo in 2000 (where when 11 rare tigers died in a span of four days) was partly caused by the failure to control breeding. But what zoos can’t afford, commerce can ensure.

by @ 8:17 am. Filed under India, Asia, Economy, South Asia

can china maintain growth?

Brad Setser looks at the reasons for China’s growth and asks whether it is sustainable. His answer: No.

[Is] China’s current model is sustainable. My strong sense is that the answer is no. 30% y/y export growth implies that China’s exports would more than double every three years…. China now has become big enough that it needs to contribute to global (consumption) demand, not just global supply. How and when that transition will come, however, remains a huge question.

One addition: As a Westerner who was paid in Korean won during the Asian financial crisis, I find myself drawn to Paul Krugman’s old essay on The Myth of Asia’s Miracle. Referencing that, there is also a question of how long China can continue to mobilize new resources. The question is not just how much China has in terms of resources (there is great untapped potential in rural areas) but whether the country stops constraining growth in these areas as it has been doing by following a command economy.

(UPDATE: Original link was to the other econoblogger named Brad, this is the link to Setser. (apologies, I’m blogging before the coffee has kicked in.)

by @ 8:02 am. Filed under China, Money, Asia, Coming collapse, Economy, Northeast Asia

a little less vacillation

A little more action please.

It seems Fons has stopped vacillating (a little) on Microsoft’s decision on going the extra mile in censoring words that aren’t yet banned in China. He further explains his opinion in the China Herald, not quite welcoming the MS’ decision but praising their clarity of intent:

(Microsoft) decided (and Scobleizer agreed) that exercising censorship in Chinese is in line with their corporate values. That is good to know.
How to change a country would be a decision of the citizens of that country, even if they have a hard time with their government. I do not believe you can bomb, virtually or literally, countries into democracy. As a foreigner you have to know your place; you can help people if you think they deserve your support, but preaching your own gospel in another country is not my choice.

He also notes a headline from India’s Financial Express:  "Microsoft appeases China Net Nazi way." The story was taken from wire services, but the headline clearly wasn’t. The FE’s editors really need to ease off on the hyperbole.

by @ 7:35 am. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Censorship

state of emergency over?

It’s not easy to pick sides in Nepal’s civil strife. Normally I’d prefer monarchs over Maoists but…

King Gyanendra ended the three month state of emergency this past April 30, meaning he was supposed to ease up tight controls on civil liberties imposed since February. Of course, that didn’t happen. In the most recent example of his power grab, over 100 journalists were arrested for protesting against the restrictions.

Gateway Pundit has video footage of the arrests.

by @ 6:53 am. Filed under Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Censorship, Nepal

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