Sunday, June 12, 2011

Violating The No Net Censor Promise


Less than two months ago the Prime Minister wowed that his govt “would never censor the Internet.

The govt also has an Internet “Bill of Guarantees” (BoGs) in place that stipulates citizens are granted certain incentives, rights and privileges. Among them is BoG 7 which states that the govt is “To ensure no censorship of the Internet.

On May 30 2011, The MCMC sent a circular to all ISPs in Malaysia. See the letter below:

As of this time of writing, many people particularly youngsters have expressed outrage at the party causing all of this: the Domestic Consumer Affairs ministry. According to the letter, the request was submitted to the MCMC by the Ministry. True, you can't really blame MCMC in this case. The Facebook page, 1M Malaysians Don't Want SKMM Block File Sharing Website at this time has 5424 likes.

Of all the 10 websites blacklisted, Pirate Bay is the most famous of all. It is also banned in Italy and Indonesia. Hollywood studios called that site the bane of their existence. However, Sweden ISPs refused the government order, Danish ISPs challenged the court order and Dutch ISPs have decided not to follow the request. (see related news here)

However, some of the legit online storing sites were also victims of the block. A statement by the MCMC enforcement division director, Mohd. Roslan Mahayudin, quoting from The Star said:

“Anyone who feels the ban is wrong can write to us and we will look into it.” 

Not only does the action invited anger, some industry analysts say that it is a wrong approach and instead suggested that  co-operating and finding alternative means would be better than a suicidal front approach that will invite backlash. Some notable quotes in regarding to that:

“Forcibly blocking access to the website only lent more credence to online censorship which contradicts the MSC Bill of Guarantees. In fact, it is foolish to think that online censorship works. There are still many other ways for surfers to access the portal.”

Content providers could look into means to “offer more competitive pricings” so as to encourage consumers to not be involved in the piracy of copyright content.

Two years, ago, a Universal music executive has clearly admitted that it is virtually impossible to wipe out piracy, citing that no matter how hard the laws can be on blocking sharing sites, there are still people getting it from alternative means, particularly the resourceful type of users. This problem is caused as the result of uncontrolled capitalism system and the problem of people unable to acquire things due to inaccessibility and financial affordability also contributed to this factor.

In light of the case, many resourceful users have been trying ways to get pass the blockade.

This is no coincidence. There is a sinister agenda behind it. This is likely following the damage on the USA government done by Wikileaks. Interestingly, there was a letter published on Malaysia Today on Friday that has the excerpt below:

The Malaysian government is under the order/direction of the US government. If you've read recently, US government legislated new laws to ban P2P and other file sharing/hosting websites.

This is after the Wikileaks incident.

Connect the dots, and you will see there's a war against humanity going on... 

" legislated new laws to ban P2P" - The main proponents of the bill introduced in the USA is none other than Senators Patrick Leahy and Orin Hatch.

This extract below from Tech Dirt reads:

They do realize, of course, that Hollywood (who is pushing them for this law) was established originally as a "pirate" venture to get away from Thomas Edison and his patents, right? Things change over time. Remember, that YouTube, which is now considered by Hollywood to be mostly "legit," had been derided as a "site dedicated" to "piracy" in the past. It's no surprise that the Justice Department -- with a bunch of former RIAA/MPAA lawyers on staff -- would love to have such powers, but it's difficult to see how such a law would be Constitutional, let alone reasonable. And finally, we must ask, yet again, why the US federal government is getting involved in what is, clearly, a civil business model issue? The Senators quote the already debunked US Chamber of Commerce reports on the "harm" of intellectual property -- which just shows how intellectually dishonest they're being. They're willing to base a censorship law on debunked data.

Oh, and even worse, this proposed law is supposed to cover sites worldwide, not just in the US. For a country that just passed a libel tourism law to protect Americans from foreign judgments, it's a bit ridiculous that we're now trying to reach beyond our borders to shut down sites that may be perfectly legal elsewhere. The way that the law, called the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act," would work is that the Justice Department could ask a court to declare a site as a "pirate" site and then get an injunction that would force the domain registrar or registry to no longer resolve that domain name.

For those who do not know about Leahy, he has a brief appearance in The Dark Knight opposite the late Heath Ledger.

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