Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
News

China Orders E-Mail Screening 409

Posted by chrisd
from the we-heard-about-this-during-jiang's-pillowtalk dept.
Greyfox writes: "According to this CNN article, China has ordered Internet providers to screen users' E-mails for subversive statements. See how fascist governments control the flow of information? Aren't you glad our government doesn't do this? Oh... Wait..."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

China Orders E-Mail Screening

Comments Filter:
  • Devil's Advocate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Glorat (414139) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @09:56AM (#2868109)
    Well, at worst it is only consistent with their general policy of internet filtering/censorship. If they have their "Great firewall of China" this is a logical extension of that firewall.
    • by cyberon22 (456844)
      It indicates to me the opposite.

      The "Great Firewall" only filters information between China and the outside world. It is powerless against domestic network use and easy to skirt for those capable of using foreign proxies.

      The new regulations imply to me that the Chinese government is relatively powerless. They're trying to push the network to regulate itself at the local level. Instead of strengthening the capabilities of the center to regulate user behavior, they're decentralizing network administration. Exactly the opposite of the Echelon strategy, actually.

      I think it's more interesting to see that we're getting this kind of policy out of the MII at all. Last I heard, the agency was set to be radically overhauled and Wu Jichuan's aggressive control policies were losing out. Does this indicate a return to strict control over user behavior, or does the obvious weaknesses of the policy suggest that the CPP *is* slowly liberalizing its policy on network use, and that this is a bone for the hardcore element of the MII?
  • by teambpsi (307527) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @09:59AM (#2868122) Homepage
    Considering the number of relays in orbz and ordb that are out of the 210 and 211 sub-class A blocks i would think that perhaps this might be a good thing, in so far as the mail relays getting closed up

    Since a majority of that "subversive" text being bounced off of them are for "american get rich way of life" propaganda ;)
  • ` The new rules include a long list of banned content prohibiting
    writings that reveal state secrets, hurt China's reputation or
    advocate the overthrow of communism, ethnic separatism or "evil
    cults."'

    Surely, the government wouldn't want anyone to overthrow ethnic separatism or evil cults...

    Oh, wait.
  • by acceleriter (231439) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @10:03AM (#2868135)
    . . . in this issue is that China is actually admitting to its people that its "law enforcement" agencies are spying on them.

    Here, we get things like Carnivore and promises that they'll only be used with warrants. Or to catch mobsters. Or terrorists. Honest.

    • No, there's a BIG difference between what the USA and China does, and you would know that if you would have read the article. What you just said states your massive liberal bias that is found on the majority of this site. Such things that are not allowed in China's emails include violence or pornography. By the way, here's a more informative article: http://www.ananova.com/yournews/story/sm_498876.ht ml

      Such things that are outlawed include "Outlawed writings include any that reveal state secrets, feature pornography and violence or advocate cults."

      See the difference there? Thank you.
      • A High Ranking Navy Officer was scandalized here in Canada when it was found that he had used a Navy laptop to access porn. It wasn't quite email filtering, but they were monitoring the usage of the computer. I just want to point out that the people of China cannot choose their policies and laws. That we all know. So really, taking the two courses of action upon implementing email filtering, being upfront or not telling people, I think being upfront is cool.

        You are merely complaining about what constitutes subversive material (our countries are notorious [queertheory.com] for turning away erotic lesbian and gay material if its high profile enough in the market, like an artsy book or whatnot) and the more restrictive morals set by the state. Like, sure, we all knew that! but between then government being upfront vs. the government letting 'subversives' get jailed with no warning, I think they did the right thing.
        • Note that it wasn't a personal computer that they monitored in this case. It was a portable military computer. Odds are they discovered the porn during a regular security audit. Since it goes against military regs to use military computers for porn, the officer was disciplined.
      • Such things that are outlawed include "Outlawed writings include any that reveal state secrets, feature pornography and violence or advocate cults."

        Well there goes 90% of the SPAM coming into my mailbox. It's nice that China is finally making a national SPAM filter for its people.
    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @11:40AM (#2868474) Homepage
      Threre is a HUGE difference between censoring people's emails (what china will do) and simply reading people's emails. In my opinion, anything sent in plain text over the internet should be considered public anyway!

      I can't believe you got a +5 for say reading email and censoring an entire population are the same thing. My God!
  • by Sinistar2k (225578) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @10:07AM (#2868142)
    Now thanks to Red Flag Linux, filtering the thoughts of your citizens is cheaper and more reliable than ever!

    Back in the day, you'd have to pay Microsoft big bucks to squelch dissenting opinions and always had to worry that radicals spreading Western ideals would be able to exploit OS vulnerabilities and cause trouble. Not any more!

    I wonder if China will GPL their filtering software?

    (By the way, I'm not being down on Linux. I'm just dismayed at the irony of a government using one of the most free [as in liberty] operating systems to actually reduce freedom.)
    • I wonder if China will GPL their filtering software?

      Don't you mean the mods they made after they got it from the NSA?

      Of course they aren't going to release it! Not because there is some huge secret, but because no one is going to make them. Is GNU/Linus going to march into T.Square and demand they do?

      I'm not being down on linux either, just gov't. It's almost as fun as trying to hit up on M$, but I'll stick to that.

      I would be more interested in the word list. I'm sure the NSA list is similar to this [slashdot.org] [my] email I like to send out to get the alarms to go off in Washington. Of course it should be updated for the 'new world' we live in.
    • in Short : "Back in the day, MS was happily screwing China. Now China is happily screwing and abusing the work of every Open Source developer".

      yep, Viva la revolution!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2002 @10:11AM (#2868152)
    China is a *communist* country, not fascist. Please, try to get it right. The left you love and adore is equally capable of crushing human rights. Numerous examples abound - look at the media's darling Castro - Cubans die of old age and malnutrition in jail for having dared to speak against the socialist regime in place there. Political extremes, right or left, are indistinguishable to the man in the street, both crush all liberty.
    • Political Compass (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KjetilK (186133)
      Yeah, BTW, check out the Political Compass [politicalcompass.org]!

      They argue that the left-right is very simplistic, so they introduce "totalitarian" vs. "libertarian" as well. Of course it is better, but it still doesn't go a long way.

      It's a test on the web site to help classify yourself. If I remember correctly, I got the score (-6, -6) which means rather leftist and rather libertarian.

      Wonder what it would look like if you plotted all /.ers in there...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Left- and right-wings apply specifically to economic policy. Fascism and liberalism apply specifically to authoritarian (or "social") policy. The two are orthogonal. It is possible to be a communist fascist (Stalin), capitalist fascist (Pinochet), communist libertarian (Ghandi, Emma Goldman) or capitalist libertarian (Rand). And all have existed (briefly) at one time or another (USSR, Nazi Germany, pre-war Spain, respectively). The libertarian right is harder to track down -- arguably some places in the early Industrial Revolution were this way.

      Anyway, I know I've repeated you a bit, because much of what you say is correct. But calling someone "fascist" is not "leftist name-calling" because fascism has NOTHING to do with leftism nor rightism. You say "China is a communist country, not fascist", which as fallacious. China is communist AND fascist. Perhaps you are the one who should try to get it right.

    • Actually, modern China may be closer to fascism than Communism these days, having many of the characteristics of a fascist society:
      • Intense nationalism, influenced mostly by massive government propaganda.
      • Socioeconomic controls, including strong links between industry and government. A Communist state basically controls all industry; a Fascist state allows private control, but typically forms close ties with those industries to ensure that they work in the "service of the state".
      • Totalitarian control over all forms of media, and ruthless suppression of dissent.


      Unfortunately, any discussion of what actually defines Communism is instantly buried under the anti-left rants of the slashdot right wing, who believe anyone who does not criticize every aspect of every Communist state explicitly is some sort of commie saboteur.
    • China is a *communist* country, not fascist. Please, try to get it right.


      No, you get it right.

      China and other so-called communist countries (the Eastern Bloc, Marxist Africa, Vietnam, etc) are not true communism, as envisioned by Marx. They are state-capitalist countries economically, and facist politically. For a quick primer on what communism is supposed to look like, I suggest the works of Emma Goldman [pitzer.edu], although she would term it Anarchism. Basically China is going about its communism much the same way as its gone about liberating the suffering people of Tibet. And I hope you see the sarcasm in that statement.

      PS: I don't believe in Communism personally, but I felt the need to correct your, ahem, facts.

  • This is news??? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I happen to live in China, and I'll eat my hat if they haven't scanned every email that I've sent which didn't go through this IP tunnel, ever since I moved here years ago.... Maybe the real news is that they are making the ISP's do the work for them? Or is it that they aren't pretending not to invade privacy anymore?
  • by karmma (105156) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @10:13AM (#2868158)
    It's already in the The Chinese Constitution [peopledaily.com.cn]. This "new" policy is merely an application of an existing law to new technology.
    Article 40. The freedom and privacy of correspondence of citizens of the People's Republic of China are protected by law. No organization or individual may, on any ground, infringe upon the freedom and privacy of citizens' correspondence except in cases where, to meet the needs of state security or of investigation into criminal offences, public security or procuratorial organs are permitted to censor correspondence in accordance with procedures prescribed by law.


    Do any readers here actually believe that snail mail to and from China is any less scrutinized than email will be? My sister lived and taught in China for a couple of years (we are Americans). Letters and packages I sent to her were routinely opened and inspected before they were delivered to her. I can safely assume that if she and I had access to email at the time, those correspondences would have been equally intercepted and reviewed as well.

    • I'm studying abroad in China right now, and I know people who've received care packages that contained nothing but cookie crumbs wrapped in packing tape with "Public Security Bureau" stamped on it. -Ex
      • Well, I know someone who, when in grad school two years ago, mailed textbooks from LA to Boston. The box arrived full of old phone books ... several hundred dollars worth of textbooks missing.

        Of course, that's Boston for you!
      • people who've received care packages that contained nothing but cookie crumbs wrapped in packing tape with "Public Security Bureau" stamped on it.

        Of course the natural response to that is to start mailing care packages full of Exlax-chip cookies.

        -
    • The fourth ammendment has a due process loophole too:

      he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      So what's the difference between our guarantee and theirs now that we have let "terrorism" be an excuse to search without warrant? You see, when you get outside the strict limitations of the fourth ammendment for any reason you are left with nothing but an empty prommise. With Carnivore and other wiretaping, I am NOT secure in my papers and personal effects. With the Patriot Act giving the govenment access to any electronic database, I am NOT secure in papers and personal effects. With the new wire tapping devices approved for use, I am NOT secure in my house.

  • ...that goes if you say JFK or some sort of keyword a tape recorder in Langley comes on. That was pure bullshit, and someone about a month ago tried to convince me that it was true. Don't people realize the computing power that is needed to do such a thing! This hoax at least goes back to the 80's. Like everyone in the telco industry would need to be in on it, and someone would have leaked it all.

    But this, is likely not a hoax. I'm sure they are doing it. But I won't read the CNN article because they are so [left/right] wing. They can't pick which side they want to distort, almost like they depend on which demographic is watching.

    I guess for the gov't this becomes a great tool for watching the citizens. If they act on the information is one thing. But we just watch people who we suspect [MLK Jr], the Chinese have got a one up since they can watch everyone at once.

    Attached [in a reply] is an e-mail I like to send to myself every now and then. Then I watch for that white van that parks in front of my house.
  • Or maybe troll... I know I wouldn't have posted if the submitter hadn't added that last comment.

    No one legitimately gripes about China because they have jails, searches, etc.

    They do it because it can be done without due process. For all your bitching, the fact that you can even complain about the Federal government aloud without fear of being investigated shows how meaningless the statement was.

    Of course our system isn't perfect - but nothing is. But saying if you get pushed and if you get shot in the head is the same thing won't get anywhere.
  • Communist countries have for years been looking to incorporate what could be considered the best features of fascist governments, at least in their eyes.

    In Fact, many governments since WWII and before have incorporated features of fascist and communist government into their structure, although this has been done on a much slower time table than a war or revolution. There is much in both of the philosophiea to attract the petty autocract, the aspiring master of men. And over the years, these have been incorporated into laws.

    heck, for decades, you had nazis, for example, acting as advisor to many governments. The most benign of these was a character like Von Braun in the Space Program, former scientist of the V-2 program.

    There were many from many fields who lived and breathed and believed the original fascist philosophy, and who continued on in their fields. Some areas would be more problematic than others. Jobs like farmers and dentisits would be one thing, probably benign. Business managers would be another. Law enforcement, lawyers, doctors, and mental health specialists yet another, because of the influence on society. The vast majority were never arrested or put on trial [haaretzdaily.com].

    The end result is that elements of these philosophies have been incorporated into laws around the world, through the influence of these, their sympathisers, and the children they raised, who probably did not know what the philosophy really meant, and absorbed the ideas under the guise of parental instruction.

    and so the monitoring of private communications like email, while at the same time passing laws that make the majority of citizens criminals is commonplace.

    As a Side Note: Heck you worry about Napster. Did you know that there is a whole online community of older women trading sewing patterns, sewing geeks who trade their files (sewing and knitting patterns) just like any other geeks do? and they are running into the same issues of trading that Napster did, but with the pattern publishers? a much smaller scale issue, of course. But involves people like the fabled Aunt Minnie. Go ahead, piss off grandma. see what happens ;-)

    yet another example of an industry trying to achieve too much control over their customers, with all of the usual arguments in both directions.

    • Just to provide a link on the Napsterish trading of Sewing patterns [entrepreneur.com] I mentioned above. The industry is not big but there may be a real issue. in one company pattern sales fell 40 percent, or $200,000, over three years (1997 - 2000).

      Visions of grannies saying "the patterns want to be free" come to mind. ;-)

  • by Paul Wright (21223) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @10:33AM (#2868224) Homepage

    I get loads of spam from China, or advertising Chinese websites.

    Looks like sending the postmaster a note congratulating him on joining the Falun Gong might work well.
  • The article says: Foreign software makers must now guarantee in writing that their products do not contain hidden programs that would allow spying or hacking into Chinese computers.

    This spec would be useful for everyone's networks. Vendors who are accepted for use in China could advertise they met "the Chinese standard" for security.

  • this has to stop.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2002 @10:42AM (#2868247)
    You know what, I'm really getting sick of the bigotry that I see here on Slashdot. Anytime a story is posted based on our rights, department of justice, business, etc... there always has to be a flame aimed towards the United States of America. I'm assuming most of the readers here have mostly a leftist view on most political issues, and that's absolutely fine.

    But what about the conservatives who read Slashdot? What about us? How do the people who read Slashdot with a right winged attitude feel about biased comments that contain negativity, and to some of us, a fallacy (sp?) towards our government, economy, policies, etc...

    Comments as well (I'm posting this anonymously for a reason). Whenever I post a comment that will go against something I read in an article that will have a conservative view to it, maybe 75-80% of time time it will get modded down to -1 (52 posts, no flames, Karma 2, you do the math). Whatever happened to getting 2, 3, 4, everyone's side of the story?

    The moderation system on slashdot is awful and wrong. Using an analogy of a hostile government. If I say anything remotely conservative, I will get modded down. Hmm... seems fair enough.

    I know the editors will not read this comment, nor will anyone who read this care, but I hope that anyone who does read this post will maybe understand that sometimes you should take into consideration other people's ideas and thoughts and not just have a one track mind and think that whatever Slashdot rights is legitimacy

    --Anon
    • The moderation system on slashdot is awful and wrong. Using an analogy of a hostile government. If I say anything remotely conservative, I will get modded down.

      Moderation Totals: Insightful=5, Total=5


      Well there goes your whole argument, huh?
    • Maybe, just maybe, moderation is showing you what the people are thinking? You know, like democracy?

      Silly me, I forgot. You don't live in one, so you don't know what democracy is like. Two-thirds of you don't even bother to vote.

      Anytime a story is posted based on our rights, department of justice, business, etc... there always has to be a flame aimed towards the United States of America.

      Stop carpet bombing innocents in vengeance against the actions of a few individuals, and then we'll talk.

      (Not posting anonymously because I'm not afraid to speak my mind, unlike you CNN-bred sheep. Baaaaaaaaah.)

    • You know what, I'm really getting sick of the bigotry that I see here on Slashdot. Anytime a story is posted based on our rights, department of justice, business, etc... there always has to be a flame aimed towards the United States of America. I'm assuming most of the readers here have mostly a leftist view on most political issues, and that's absolutely fine.
      But what about the conservatives who read Slashdot? What about us? How do the people who read Slashdot with a right winged attitude feel about biased comments that contain negativity, and to some of us, a fallacy (sp?) towards our government, economy, policies, etc...

      Am I the only one who finds the irony in this post? The story is about how the Chinese government doesn't allow dissent and is telling ISPs to police emails for subversive statements. You then complain that Americans shouldn't dissent so much and should stop criticizing the American government so you don't get offended by people disagreeing with you. It would therefore seem that you would be in favor of the Great Firewall of China, right? I doubt you are, of course, but that's only because your thinking is confused and logically inconsistent.
      Criticism of the country in general (as opposed to the government) is certainly different. Your post draws no distinction. I don't see why you think conservatives should be more offended by that than anyone else- unless you somehow think that conservatism and patriotism are the same thing.
      As far as criticism of the government is concerned- democracy only works when citizens constantly criticize and question those in power. Perhaps you'd rather live in a country where there is no criticism of the government.

      Comments as well (I'm posting this anonymously for a reason). Whenever I post a comment that will go against something I read in an article that will have a conservative view to it, maybe 75-80% of time time it will get modded down to -1 (52 posts, no flames, Karma 2, you do the math). Whatever happened to getting 2, 3, 4, everyone's side of the story?
      Oh please. You sound like the people who write in to talkorigins.org [talkorigins.org] complaining that the creationist side of the issue isn't getting equal treatment on the site. Nobody is obligated to rate your posts up merely so that both sides of every story are presented. Sometimes it's obvious which side is wrong. If fewer than half of the participants in a public forum like /. share your opinions on things, it might reflect on us Slashdotters as a whole, but it's statistically more likely to just reflect on you personally. Either find a forum with people who agree with your opinions already [freerepublic.com] or stop whining in this one.

      The moderation system on slashdot is awful and wrong. Using an analogy of a hostile government. If I say anything remotely conservative, I will get modded down. Hmm... seems fair enough.
      A "hostile government" is modding your posts down?!? I know you're just making a bad analogy, but seems like another case of politically correct whining. You couldn't ask for fairer treatment than you're getting. /. is very democratic. Moderators are chosen at random from people that visit the site.
      What would you replace the current system with? One where YOU or "remotely conservative" minded people like you are the sole moderators? Your definition of "remotely conservative" might be reasonable, but it might very well fit my or other people's definition of "kookily conservative". How are we supposed to know? You posted as an AC so we can only guess.
      As long as we're making questionable analogies between websites and governments, there are many online forums where the people in charge simply delete posts they don't like. Any dissent on those boards is quickly met by people saying creepy things like "soon you and your posts will go away, heh heh." Wouldn't that make a better analogy with a "hostile government"?

      Sucks that you posted anonymously and lost all that karma. Bet you wish you weren't such an anonymous coward now, eh? :)
    • ...is a pretty standard technique for intellectual lightweights trying to make themselves sound "enlightened" and "free thinking". It's right up there with instant disparagement of anything made or done by "Micro$oft", with praise for the nobility of any theft of intellectual property, with labeling anyone who objects to having his intellectual property stolen a "fascist", and so on.

      The poster wasn't proposing a ban on all criticism of America, just objecting to the sophomoric Slashdot editorial practice of inserting a jab at the US when introducing any story about any other country so they'll appear "balanced".

      And he got called a "fascist" in return. How predictable....
  • by omnirealm (244599) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @10:56AM (#2868306) Homepage
    Like it or not, privacy is not a fundamental provision of the Consititution. If you place your messages in the public domain (which is what you do whenever you send an E-mail over the Internet), don't be surprised when it is screened, read, etc., by either the government or anyone who happens to own the router that your message passes through.

    If you wish to have privacy, then you must send your communications over a private, secure channel, which the Internet is not. For example, the U.S. Postal Service is an entity that sends information securely; you can rest assured that your letters will never pass through the hands of a third party. But if you transmit information by posting a postcard on a bulletic board, it is free to be read by anyone who passes by, including government law enforcement officials.

    You can attempt to make your messages sent through the public Internet "private" by encrypting the messages (which is perfectly legal and will continue to remain legal as long as our government is a free government). But that does not GUARANTEE privacy.

    There is a general mistrust of government in general in this forum, which is sad. While I agree that the size and scope of government should be kept to a minimum, we should be able to trust the elected officials in a republican system, since we choose who our representatives will be. And we should certainly trust the executive branch (the ones actually screening the public E-mails) to do what they need to enforce the laws our elected representatives pass. If they aren't, then the people should vote accordingly for representatives that will fix the problem.

    And despite what most people think, law enforcement officials are WAY to busy to concern themselves with the details of your private life. They are only concerned for the information that will help them protect the public from criminals.
    • by J'raxis (248192) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @11:42AM (#2868476) Homepage
      Like it or not, privacy is not a fundamental provision of the Consititution.

      No, but it can be inferred from the third, fourth and ninth Amendments (and probably bits and pieces of five and six). The third Amendment has been interpreted to mean that people have a right not be under constant surveillance by law enforcement. The fourth Amendment, The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, should be obvious. And the ninth Amendment is the one that says, basically, that just because the constitution only protects certain enumerated (spelled-out) rights does not mean the people do not have other ones, that arent explicitly forbidden elsewhere.

      If you place your messages in the public domain (which is what you do whenever you send an E-mail over the Internet), don't be surprised when it is screened, read, etc., by either the government or anyone who happens to own the router that your message passes through.

      Sending email is no more placing messages in the public domain than using the postal system is. Placing messages in a public forum (e.g., Usenet, Slashdot, etc.) would be, however. Simply because email is sent plaintext through a bunch of third-party routing servers does not mean it is public, no more than postal mail being handled by a dozen different postal workers, makes postal mail public.

      There is a general mistrust of government in general in this forum, which is sad. While I agree that the size and scope of government should be kept to a minimum, we should be able to trust the elected officials in a republican system, since we choose who our representatives will be. And we should certainly trust the executive branch (the ones actually screening the public E-mails) to do what they need to enforce the laws our elected representatives pass. If they aren't, then the people should vote accordingly for representatives that will fix the problem.

      Yeah, youre right, the people should. They should be able to trust the government, and should vote accordingly when the government betrays its ideals. Unfortunately, youre describing a functional constitutionaldemocratic-republic, not the United States, here.

      [Law enforcement officials] are only concerned for the information that will help them protect the public from criminals.

      The problem is what, exactly, gets defined as criminal.
      • Although I agree with you, I could not help but remember a couple of ironic items.
        ...does not mean it is public, no more than postal mail being handled by a dozen different postal workers, makes postal mail public.
        Thirty years ago, my dad was a semi-high mucky-muck in California in one of the two big political parties. I remember vivdly following him as a little kid to the mailbox and watching him burst into rage as yet another envelope arrived opened and read by some local postal worker. The only ones that were read were the ones from the party headquarters. Unfortunately, complaints to the postmaster were ignored. The solution was easy - they changed the return address so that mail from headquarters could not be identified. But it did make a lasting impression on me - 'the postal service was not, as they claimed, trustworthy'. In essence, my dad was in the 'wrong' party, and thereby 'defined as a criminal' (so to speak). (I have purposely avoided saying which political party it was, because it would be too easy for members of the other party to blow it off, saying 'well of course - those jerks deserved it.')
        The problem is what, exactly, gets defined as criminal.
        Indeed. And it appears that the government of China has their answer: everyone who might complain.
        Yeah, you're right, the people should. They should be able to trust the government, and should vote accordingly when the government betrays its ideals. Unfortunately, you're describing a functional constitutional-democratic-republic, not the United States, here.
        I've said it before, and I will say it again. I work in government, and I can tell you: elected officials may come and go, but bureaucrats are forever.

        On a lighter note, I am also an email administrator for a local government. Thankfully, the only time we go snooping into people's email accounts is for discovery due to legal matters. And even that has only happened four times in six years.

      • While I agree that the size and scope of government should be kept to a minimum, we should be able to trust the elected officials in a republican system, since we choose who our representatives will be

      (You vote Libertarian, right?) What if all of the candidates are corrupt? How is that better than the one party system in China? And at least in China they count all the votes, even though they're meaningless.

      • despite what most people think, law enforcement officials are WAY to busy to concern themselves with the details of your private life. They are only concerned for the information that will help them protect the public from criminals

      Examples of criminals under US law (in various states): breaking the speed limit by 1mph. Having sex with a married person to whom you are not married. Same sex sex. Watching a bought DVD on a Linux system.

      The problem with "it's OK, they're only interested in criminals" is that in practical terms everyone is a criminal. What you mean is: chances are they're only interested in other criminals.

      This presumption - or creation - of guilt is the same as at the heart of Chinese censoring. There is a ruling overclass (heridatary and incumbent in both nations). The populace aren't fit to be trusted, and need to be monitored and controlled. But it's all for our own good, so what are we complaining about?

      Sorry, that's not an attitude that I can easily stomach.

  • Give me a break! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anomaly (15035) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .3repooc.mot.> on Saturday January 19, 2002 @11:11AM (#2868379)
    I can't believe the comment about our opressive government! Obviously you people have not studied oppression in history!

    Clearly we must be vigilant in our maintenance of our freedoms, but to compare China with the US in terms of controlling information is simply demonstrating a lack of education.

    Have you looked into what China did to US reporters during the Tiananmen square uprising? Contrast that with the US media in President Clinton's face demanding to know what exactly he had or had not done with "That woman, Miss Lewinsky."

    The government having the capacity to screen emails at ISPs may be unpleasant to you. If so, encrypt your email. Carnivore _may_ be something that we need to stop, but it is NOTHING like the opression suffered by the people of the PRC.

    Get off your self-righteous horse, and live under martial law at the hands of a despotic dictator for a while. Then come whining to me about "oppression" in the US.
    • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @12:14PM (#2868578) Homepage Journal
      The US has become a country where I can go to jail for writing or talking about a piece of software that lets me access a piece of media I paid for. Simply publishing a math paper now requires consulting with high paid lawyers. Laws are being drawn up that will mandate the control of information on all consumer devices and bypassing those controls will buy you jail time. Foreign nationals are kidnapped on a daily basis both for these crimes and others, and secret courts are being discussed to "Try" them.

      Thus far it's true that for the most part the government doesn't kill its citizens. Well, unless they're black and pulled over by a jumpy cop doing racial profiling or something. Or they live a lifestyle the government doesn't like. But apart from that, the government doesn't kill its own citizens! Truly!

      And it's true that the media will keep them honest! Nevermind that the media is mostly owned by the same corporations which have been steadily lobbying for the removal of your rights for the past several decades.

      But true, we're nothing like the Chinese and we don't really have anything to worry about!

      • by 90XDoubleSide (522791) <ninetyxdoublesid ... t ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday January 19, 2002 @01:26PM (#2868857)
        I can go to jail for writing or talking about a piece of software that lets me access a piece of media I paid for.

        Has it? Last time I checked, when a huge corporation tried to go after someone for practicing free speech there was a huge public outcry and the case was dropped. This is the difference between democracy and totalitarianism, which is what the original poster was trying to point out. In our country, unjust laws like the DCMA are fought tooth and nail, are currently not being enforced very rigidly, and will probably be struck down in court or repealed in congress, or at least amended, in the near future. Want to go over to China and try to get them to change the law to allow freedom of religion?

        • Has it? Last time I checked, when a huge corporation tried to go after someone for practicing free speech there was a huge public outcry and the case was dropped. This is the difference between democracy and totalitarianism, which is what the original poster was trying to point out. In our country, unjust laws like the DCMA are fought tooth and nail, are currently not being enforced very rigidly, and will probably be struck down in court or repealed in congress, or at least amended, in the near future. Want to go over to China and try to get them to change the law to allow freedom of religion?

          The difference between a free state and one that is oppresive is that the evil thing happened at all. There should not have had to be an outcry because the bad law should not have been passed to begin with. When laws become inconsistent, there has been a failure on the part of the government. The ultimate law of the United States is the constitution. When laws are passed that violate it, such as DMCA, Patriot Act, etc, without a constitutional ammendment, the rule of law has broken down. While we in the US believe that the consent of the governed is a primary building block of laws that are just, beware that unjust laws can be made and ignored by mobs as well ask kings.

          So the first event created an outcry, will the second? Who is going to save you from jail and why should you suffer so to begin with? The law is still on the books. Those of us who recognize the inconsistency must continue to fight untill it is removed.

    • Re:Give me a break! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @12:19PM (#2868604) Homepage
      • I can't believe the comment about our opressive government! Obviously you people have not studied oppression in history!

      And neither have you, or you would understand that all dictatorships are benign - to begin with. The 2nd amendment to the Constitution recognises exactly that.

      The intention or the degree of oppression is not the issue. Dictating directly or through propaganda what is right and what is wrong - as opposed to serving the will of the electorate - is oppression. I'd say that we have a government so composed of incumbents and hereditary heirs that it already views itself as master and not servant. A benign master perhaps, but a master none the less, and you don't give power to a good man that you wouldn't want his bad successor to have.

      As you say, it doesn't look too bad right now. Of course, it gets just a little worse every year, but not so much that any one incident is enough to force the issue, and all the controls and crackdowns are justifiable. It's unfortunate that we can't move towards a more liberal society that treats people as innocent until proven guilty, but, hey, there's a lot of bad people in the world, right? Just one more restriction, then we'll be done, promise.

      And so we go. Are you willing to bet that in 30 years, the next generation isn't going to look back and say "My god, why didn't you stop this peacefully when you had the chance?"

  • Or Tienemen Square? This just doesn't seem like such a big deal for that government to do something like that, being that they've done much worse. Let me give it some clarification. Millions of chinese practice tai-chi, and it is one of the government sanctioned religions (not actually a religion, more of an excercise program designed to increase spirituality). There are only a few sanctioned religions, and any other religion is outlawed. Falun Gong is the same type of thing as tai-chi, it is based around movements promoting spiritualism, but since it is not a government sanctioned religion, people that practice it get beaten, killed, put in prison with no trial, women have been raped by police, and followers have been put into mental hospitals, until they denounce the religion. So if you ask me, screening e-mail, what a joke of a post when talking about how evil china's government is. Oh yeah, and also what a joke comparing America's government to China, America's government may do some bad things, but they are no where near on par with China's.
    • Falun Gong is an organisation trying to peacefully over throw the Chinesse government, masked as religious cult.

      They are a real force. Their persecution is disappointing to say the least, but under similar circumstances if the Natural Law Party [natural-law.org] Raliens, Scientologoy, Etc, ever gained enough momentum to actually be in a position to replace the United States Government, most people would be unsuportive and frightened.

      Freedom of religion is one thing, freedom of non-traditional religious cults to over throw the government is another; and would be met with the same kind of treatement anywhere.
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @11:20AM (#2868413)

    Because if I sent an email saying "I think President Bush is doing a bad job." to someone, the secret police are going to bust in and put me in a labor camp.
      • <sarcasm> Because if I sent an email saying "I think President Bush is doing a bad job." to someone, the secret police are going to bust in and put me in a labor camp. </sarcasm>

      Hey, want some seeds for a plant that produces a non-physiologically addicting mood enhancing drug that's safer than alcohol or tobacco, that produces no victim, nor a need for crime, nor violent behaviour, nor any effects on society - other than removing the demand that creates organised crime.

      Here it... wait a second, there's someone at the door.

  • USA Busted Trying to Bug China's Presidential 767
    China Orders E-Mail Screening


    The USA tries to snoop China. China snoops its own people. What's the difference?

    (At least China tells its own people that it's going to be snooping their e-mails. The USA just does it without warning.)
  • I haven't herd anyone point out that this is one reason why our intellectual property policy to China is so very dangerous.

    Both the US and China are going to be pulled toward an Orwellian facisim as companies and powers desperate to force old-world ways of doing things will want to reach into every home to protect things like their "intellectual property" rights. However the US has a democracy and a partially working constitution that will make it much more difficult to take it to it's logical extreme - an Orwellian facisim. China does not, and by trying to break their cultural values about intellectual property rights, we are helping promote a very dangerous political situation for both them and us.

  • by 3ryon (415000) on Saturday January 19, 2002 @11:57AM (#2868524)
    People in China should check out Spam Mimic [spammimic.com] which hides messages in what appears to be SPAM.

    Example message: "Death to the facist regime"
    Encrypted to read (paste the below in at their website and it will translate it for you):
    Dear Friend , Thank-you for your interest in our publication . We will comply with all removal requests . This mail is being sent in compliance with Senate bill 1623 ; Title 7 , Section 302 ! This is not a get rich scheme ! Why work for somebody else when you can become rich within 58 MONTHS . Have you ever noticed people will do almost anything to avoid mailing their bills plus nearly every commercial on television has a .com on in it . Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this ! We will help you use credit cards on your website & deliver goods right to the customer's doorstep ! You can begin at absolutely no cost to you ! But don't believe us ! Mr Jones of Alabama tried us and says "I was skeptical but it worked for me" ! We are licensed to operate in all states ! If not for you then for your loved ones - act now . Sign up a friend and you get half off . Thank-you for your serious consideration of our offer ! Dear Colleague , This letter was specially selected to be sent to you . This is a one time mailing there is no need to request removal if you won't want any more . This mail is being sent in compliance with Senate bill 1627 ; Title 4 ; Section 307 . This is not a get rich scheme ! Why work for somebody else when you can become rich within 58 MONTHS ! Have you ever noticed nobody is getting any younger & more people than ever are surfing the web ! Well, now is your chance to capitalize on this ! WE will help YOU increase customer response by 200% and deliver goods right to the customer's doorstep . You can begin at absolutely no cost to you . But don't believe us ! Prof Anderson who resides in Wyoming tried us and says "I was skeptical but it worked for me" . We are licensed to operate in all states ! We urge you to contact us today for your own future financial well-being ! Sign up a friend and your friend will be rich too . Cheers !

  • It is important to work to maintain our civil liberties in the U.S. in the digital age, but I find all these smartass comments about the U.S. being the same as China abhorrent; the DCMA is wrong, Carnivore is wrong, but you infinitely cheapen the suffering of the oppressed in China by even beginning to compare these to being jailed and tortured for practicing your religious beliefs [savetibet.org]. Why not buy yourself a clue before you go out and post trash like this?
  • See how fascist governments control the flow of information?

    I'll admit to not being up to date on what's going on in China right now, but am I the only one surprised to hear China now labelled as "fascist"? Sure, they've had some serious Communist totalitarianism going on a while back, but when did it shift over to the extreme right-wing?

    Whether or not America is fascist is left as an excercise to the paranoid.
  • by NerveGas (168686) on Sunday January 20, 2002 @01:03AM (#2871274)
    Now, when you're hit with the flood of SPAM coming from an APNIC IP address, you can just respond to the system administrator of the open relay, like this:

    "Greetings fellow Falun Gong brother. Your idea to encrypt message as commercial email is brilliant! I definitely agree that we need to move our geurilla forces into Tibet immediately, so that we may work against the tyranical Chinese regime."

    Now *that* would likely get those open relays closed!

    steve

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.

Working...