Taiwan proposes China-style block on overseas Internet services that infringe copyright

Taiwan proposes China-style block on overseas Internet services that infringe copyright

China is famous for its unique Internet censorship policy — known as the Great Firewall — which restricts content, and in particular sites and services from overseas, preventing its 500 million-plus Internet users from having free reign online. Now that policy could be duplicated in Taiwan, where officials have proposed a list of sites that will be blocked.

Draft legislation to block links at IP and DNS level has been put forward by The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (IPO), as Global Voices notes. The SOPA-like initiative is designed to make sites from overseas that specialize in copyright infringed content unavailable in the country, in effect it will see Taiwan raise a firewall of its own.

The IPO has clarified that it will only target international websites that are notorious for file-sharing and other activities that violate digital content rights, but, logically, Taiwanese citizens have expressed concern that the initiative could be hijacked for other — potentially political — purposes.

Looking at China’s example, social media and news websites are regularly combed for ‘unsuitable’ content which is deleted from the Internet. Indeed, things have developed to the point that social networks like Weibo, the Twitter-like platform, have their own in-house ‘content management team’, which removes content that might not sit well with authorities before they are exposed to it.

Fearing the possibilities, concerned Internet users in Taiwan have set up a Facebook event to rally for the cause and share ideas. The Global Voices article includes translated comments from leading thinkers in Taiwan’s online space and regular folk alike.

Headline image via Nuno Andre / Shutterstock

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