Chinese Government Mandated Search Engine Blacklist Leaked

In just about every place in the world, Google is the number one search engine. China is an exception to that where is the dominant search engine. Based in China, the Chinese government is able to exert more power and it seems that the governments blacklist was recently leaked.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Wikileaks, a website devoted to exposing suppressed information has quite an interesting post now online. It’s no secret that there are some things China tries to keep off the internet, but Wikileaks has recently exposed just how far those censors go. Browsing through the list, there are a few themes that come up. A lot of these pages appear to be forum posts. A lot of these pages appear to be news articles. The other theme is that there is a lot of pages from Baidu itself. While we didn’t go through the entire list page-by-page to know exactly what kind of content is being blocked, we can conclude that censorship is definitely factor in a Chinese web browsing experience. Wikileaks is currently preparing an in depth report right now that will probably contain information written by people more experienced in dealing with this particular topic.

Still, one should know that government mandated censorship isn’t exclusive to Asia. The German copyright industry wanted to use German censorship block Rapidshare. In Australia, there is already a strong push to mandate ISPs to use blacklists. The Australian government had their ISP level blacklist leaked – controversy arose when legal sites were discovered on the lists. Very recently, there was a public forum on the matter of government blacklists as well. Viacom, a prominent US entertainment company used copyright law to try and censor a protest recently. In the United States, legislation has recently been tabled that targets blogs, social networking sites and other related websites – supposedly to stop “cyberbullying”. It’s currently been seen as a way to block political speech online. In Britain, British ISPs wound up blocking Wikipedia over an album cover. That last case has been used as a prominent example on how censorship can go horribly wrong.

While it may be a controversial thing that China has such stringent censorship practises on the internet, it would be a mistake to suggest that such a thing happens exclusively in China. If “Western” countries think that Chinese censorship is so horrible, why are there similar techniques being employed by major companies and the governments on their own citizens?

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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