20 January 2010

Cum functioneaza cenzura in China si cum se raspandeste la noi

Rebecca MacKinnon, Are China's demands for Internet 'self-discipline' spreading to the West?
In China, all Internet and mobile companies are held responsible for everything their users post, transmit, or search for. The Chinese call it "self-discipline." In Anglo-American legal parlance, it's "intermediary liability," which in China is taken to its logical extreme with no public accountability or due process. "Intermediary liability" means that the intermediary, a service that acts as "intermediate" conduit for the transmission or publication of information, is held liable or legally responsible for everything its users do. ...

Intermediary liability enables the Chinese authorities to minimize the number of people they need to put in jail in order to stay in power and to maximize their control over what the Chinese people know and don't know. ...

Meanwhile in the Western democratic world, the idea of strengthening intermediary liability is becoming increasingly popular in government agencies and parliaments. From France to Italy to the United Kingdom, the idea of holding carriers and services liable for what their customers do is seen as the cheapest and easiest solution to the law enforcement and social problems that have gotten tougher in the digital age — from child porn to copyright protection to cyber-bullying and libel.

I'm not equating Western democracy with Chinese authoritarianism — that would be ludicrous. However, I am concerned about the direction we're taking without considering the full global context of free expression and censorship. ...

I'm not saying that we shouldn't fight crime or enforce the law. Of course we should, assuming that the laws reflect the consent of the governed. But let's make sure that we don't throw the baby of democracy and free speech out with the bathwater, as we do the necessary work of adjusting legal systems and economies to the Internet age.