Web Censorship and Public Awareness:The case of Internet regulation in Japan Chris Salzberg
To censor:to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable (MerriamWebster)
What does “Web Censorship” mean? Different meanings in different contexts: Censorship by governments against freedom of expression and free access to information Filtering of content seen as “harmful” to society Violation of privacy rights: web monitoring, eavesdropping “Censorship” against file sharing (copyrighted content) What is “anticensorship”?
“The Age of Net Regulation is Coming” In the last year, moves toward net regulation: 1.Internet content (transmission + broadcasting = ?) 2.Copyright legislation (file sharing) 3.Mobile web access (filtering, “harmful” content) Fears about: “deai” (dating) sites, obscene/voilent content, child porn, “adult” anime, net bullying, death threats (Akihabara massacre), etc. etc. etc.
Filtering of “harmful” content Bill by LDP/DPJ passed into law on June 11th Included in the bill: Obligation on PC makers to preinstall national standardsbased filtering software on PCs/mobile phones Filtering on mobile phones for users under age 18 ISPs required to eliminate harmful content/services Government decides what is “harmful”
Support for Regulation A survey on regulation of “harmful content” (2007): 67.8% said the Internet should be regulated 22.7% said they lean toward regulation 3.1% said they lean toward nonregulation 1.4% said the Internet should not be regulated 76% support web filtering, 51% want police to strengthen monitoring, 87% support manga porn regulation
Opposition to Regulation Some of the greatest opposition from companies: DENA, Yahoo, Microsoft, Rakuten, Net Star Emphasizing positives of an open Internet
Opposition strategies More so than free access to information, opposition strategies emphasize economic considerations: Regulation will stop innovation/creativity Japan will be left behind, outcompeted Also emphasizes knowledge issues: Many proposals are technologically contradictory Lack of transparency in legislation
The “people” are killing the Internet Oppression of the people by governments and corporations is not seen as a major concern Conern is about other citizens: Bullying, death threats, dating sites, obscene content, copyright violation, etc. etc. Conclusion: it is the people who are killing the Internet, govt needs to step in and regulate
The future is now Citizen media coverage of Akihabara killings: Instantaneous through Ustream, 20003000 viewers No editing or censorship of footage Large public backlash, criticism
Summary “Web censorship” means different things to different people/groups/nations Different opposition strategies: Technological problems with censorship Lack of transparency in process Economic considerations, innovation/creativity Awareness and literacy are key