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Chinas golden shield: corporations and the development of surveillance technology in the Peoples Republic of China

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... The security in non-traditional fields such as "economic security," "political security," culture, and others are also important factors of state security." 54 Similarly, one PLA Daily article from December 2000 said: ...
... Writing on Golden Shield in 2001, Gregory Walton said: "Ultimately the aim is to integrate a gigantic online database with an all-encompassing surveillance network -incorporating speech and face recognition, closed-circuit television, smart cards, credit records, and Internet surveillance technologies." 54 The major contribution of the initial stages of the Golden Shield Project to the overall social management programme the construction of pre-requisite infrastructure and resource integration capacity, which could enable Grid Management and Social Credit (see Chapter Seven). ...
Article
Programming China: The Communist Party’s Autonomic Approach to Managing State Security, introduces the new analytical framework called China's “Autonomic Nervous System” (ANS). The ANS framework applies complex systems management theory to explain the process the Chinese Communist Party calls “social management”. Through the social management process, the Party-state leadership interacts with both the Party masses and non-Party masses. The process involves shaping, managing and responding and is aimed at ensuring the People’s Republic of China’s systemic stability and legitimacy—i.e. (Party-) state security. Using the ANS framework, this thesis brings cohesion to a complex set of concepts such as “holistic” state security, grid management, social credit and national defence mobilisation. Research carried out for the thesis included integrated archival research and the author’s database of nearly 10,000 social unrest events. Through ANS, the author demonstrates that in the case of the People’s Republic of China we may be witnessing a sideways development, where authoritarianism is stabilised, largely through a way of thinking that both embodies and applies complex systems management and attempts to “automate” that process through technology designed based on the same concepts. The party's rule of China, thus, evolves away from traditional political scales like reform versus retrenchment or hard versus soft authoritarianism. The ANS framework should be seen not as an incremental improvement to current research of China’s political system but as a fundamentally different approach to researching and analysing the nature of Chinese politics.
... Western governments use this fact to focus their citizens´attention to these oppressed countries while at the same time they are implementing similar technologies in disguise of security. Even if they would feel committed to take a stand against this form of digital oppression: Most of the surveillance technologies used in oppressed regions were developed and exported by western countries [3]. Wealth seems to be superior to freedom. ...
... Ultimately, the aim is to integrate a gigantic online database with an all-encompassing surveillance network -incorporating speech and face recognition, closed-circuit television, smart cards, credit records, and Internet surveillance technologies." Greg Walton [3] While being a paradigm for oppression of the freedom of speech, the chinese regime is not at all the only government that started to collect detailed data about their citizens access to information and limits it on their sole discretion. In their report "Internet Enemies" published in March 2011, the international NGO "Reporters sans frontiéres" characterizes China, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam as "Internet Enemies" due to surveillance, arbitrary blocking, dubious legal practice and in some cases even imprisonment of so called cyberdissidents [14]. ...
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The era of information, starting in the late 70ies, drives the world wide demand for fast and ubiquituous communication. Reams of networks got connected together and formed what we today call the Internet, providing a valuable foundation for business and information-related industries, as well as an integral part of most individuals daily life. In this era information is one of the most important and precious resources, but there are more informations exchanged than most users do actually perceive when they use information technology. Every individual participating in such networks may run the risk of having his communication wiretapped, so techniques were developed to protect the transmitted data. Unfortunately the communication channel itself may reveal sensitive information to an eavesdropper. Originator- , forwarder- and recipient identity, communication profiles and behaviour analysis are just a few of the informations that may be derived from observing individuals. Even though there are technologies that aim to protect these users from revealing their identity, fundamental network services beyond these technologies ́ influence may leak information through side channels. This thesis addresses potential information leaks of the domain name service in combination with using privacy networks like e.g. Tor. It aims to protect the users identity while at the same time maintaining compatibility to the existing name server infrastructure.
... Project -a digital surveillance system (Walton 2001) -to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the police. In 2001, the central government approved and started to fund the project, which was then implemented through several phases. ...
... My main empirical strategies rely on difference-in-differences comparisons that exploit local temporal variation in the implementations of a surveillance system -the Golden Shield Project (GSP). In 1998, the Ministry of Public Security initiated the GSP, a domestic surveillance and filtering system that integrates on online government databases with an all-encompassing surveillance network (Walton 2001). This project was constructed through several phases. ...
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This article studies the consequences of digital surveillance in dictatorships. I first develop an informational theory of repression and co‐optation. I argue that digital surveillance resolves dictators' information problem of not knowing individual citizens' true anti‐regime sentiments. By identifying radical opponents, digital surveillance enables dictators to substitute targeted repression for nonexclusive co‐optation to forestall coordinated uprisings. My theory implies that as digital surveillance technologies advance, we should observe a rise in targeted repression and a decline in universal redistribution. Using a difference‐in‐differences design that exploits temporal variation in digital surveillance systems among Chinese counties, I find that surveillance increases local governments' public security expenditure and arrests of political activists but decreases public goods provision. My theory and evidence suggest that improvements in governments' information make citizens worse off in dictatorships.
... For example, although China has largely abandoned T H E I N T E R N E T I N N I N E A S I A N N A T I O N S 3 7 its efforts to create an 'alternative' Internet, or a vast Chinese intranet that would preclude the necessity of joining the global Internet, the nation has been able to implement a series of mechanisms designed to both filter out undesirable content and censor the websites the Chinese are able to see (Chase & Mulvenon 2002;Kalathil & Boas 2003). In addition, although the early efforts to register and maintain surveillance over Internet users have been abandoned, the government has worked closely with the providers of information technology infrastructure, such as Cisco, Nortel and other large IT companies, to design a system that served the purposes of the state, thereby eliminating the anonymity and accessibility of Chinese users to surf the Internet (Walton 2001). And, finally, China has deployed net censors ('big mamas') to watch over chat rooms and forums to delete any content that might be seen as undermining the Communist Party. ...
... CERNET has its own backbone and international links that are separate from commercial networks. It is managed by Tsinghua University in Beijing, where much of the academic research on the GFW (also known as the Golden Shield project) is carried out [43]. It is not clear if this represents a lack of censorship of Tor on CERNET, or simply a more sophisticated (potentially at a higher layer in the network stack) implementation of censorship of Tor for this network. ...
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A nation-scale firewall, colloquially referred to as the “Great Firewall of China,” implements many different types of censorship and content filtering to control China’s Internet traffic. Past work has shown that the firewall occasionally fails. In other words, sometimes clients in China are able to reach blacklisted servers outside of China. This phenomenon has not yet been characterized because it is infeasible to find a large and geographically diverse set of clients in China from which to test connectivity. In this paper, we overcome this challenge by using a hybrid idle scan technique that is able to measure connectivity between a remote client and an arbitrary server, neither of which are under the control of the researcher performing measurements. In addition to hybrid idle scans, we present and employ a novel side channel in the Linux kernel’s SYN backlog. We show that both techniques are practical by measuring the reachability of the Tor network which is known to be blocked in China. Our measurements reveal that failures in the firewall occur throughout the entire country without any conspicuous geographical patterns.We give some evidence that routing plays a role, but other factors (such as how the GFW maintains its list of IP/port pairs to block) may also be important.
... E seguindo a tradição burocrática francesa oposta à inglesa, a vigilância eletrônica nos espaços públicos é alvo de regulamentação restritiva, visando a proteção das "liberdades individuais", dentre as quais destaco que "toda pessoa filmada tem o direito de interrogar o responsável pelo sistema 13 para saber se é fichada, e caso seja, de saber em que arquivo". 9 Estudos comparativos internacionais (McCahill, Norris e Wood, 2004;Hempel e Töpfer, 2002) apontam uma diferença significativa entre países onde, assim como no Reino Unido, o desenvolvimento da videovigilância do espaço público foi rápido e inconteste, como Hungria (Molnar, 2003), República Tcheca e China (Walton, 2001), e aqueles onde não foi tomada, ao menos de início, como uma política oficial de segurança, como Áustria, Alemanha, Dinamarca e Suécia. As explicações apontam para uma relação com a existência ou não de legislação de proteção de dados individuais, direitos humanos e regulamentação do espaço público. ...
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This article discusses, based on reflections arising from an ethnographic study of surveillance camera operators in Rio de Janeiro and a comparison with other contexts and methodological approaches to the subject, the possibilities and challenges offered by the study of professional activities and identities emerging from the practical application of new technologies. Electronic surveillants are considered to be sociotechnical agencements, hybrids of humans and technical objects whose existence is limited to the workplace and to work hours. Analysis of these agencements reveals that there are a number of quite varied, problematic issues concerning video surveillance discourse and imaginary, as well as analyses of this form of surveillance.
... In the same year, an international human rights organization reported on "China's Golden Shield." 6 This system, first identified and named in English, later expanded to become the largest and most sophisticated censor in the world, now widely known as the Great Fire Wall of China (GFW). In the first email China ever sent out, in 1987 a Chinese scientist wrote this: "Across the Great Wall we can reach every corner in the world." ...
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To those writing user-centric histories, China provides an opportunity to look at the profound implications of the underlying conceptions of the user figure and thus highlights the importance of the historian's critical awareness. Although rigorous scholarly histories on the subject are still in their infancy, historical narratives about the Chinese Internet prevail in popular media, institutional reports, and scholarly works. However, these narratives are generally organized around two visions of the Chinese Internet and its users. In this article, the author digs deeper into these preestablished conceptions and illustrates how they do not account for historical understandings of Internet use and sociocultural changes.
... The widespread use of the Internet in the PRC since the early years of this century added a new dimension to internal state surveillance. The PRC government set up their Internet monitoring and censorship systems known as the Great Firewall of China, which began broad operation in 2003 [13]. It is alleged that two million government agents constantly monitor the Internet in the PRC. ...
Article
This study investigates how Snowden's revelations are viewed by young people in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) through questionnaire surveys of and follow-up interviews with university students in those countries. Considering the history of state surveillance in both countries and the current complicated and delicate cross-strait relationships, it is interesting to examine PRC and Taiwanese youngsters' attitude and reactions to Snowden's revelations separately and in comparison.
... 21 In Paris, the Préfecture de Police website shows the location of all the vidéoprotection cameras in each arrondissement (the French police also avoid using the term surveillance): http://www.prefecturedepolice.interieur.gouv.fr/Prevention/Videoprotection/Videoprotection-repartition-des-cameras-pararrondissement/Implantation-des-293-cameras-actuellement-operationnelles-a-Paris. Comparative international studies (Norris et al. 2004;Hempel and Töpfer 2002) show that there is a significant difference between countries where video surveillance in public spaces developed rapidly and was not questioned, such as Hungary (Molnar 2003), the Czech Republic and China (Walton 2001), and those countries where it was not made, at least initially, official security policy, such as Austria, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Explanations for this suggest a relationship with the existence or otherwise of legislation for the protection of personal data, human rights and the regulation of public spaces be neither quick nor easy, as there were no technological resources to generate this information for the period before the cameras were introduced ⎯ his personal impression, based on his experience as a policemen, was that there had been a reduction in crime rates in the areas monitored despite the unintentional creation of "islands of security". ...
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This article reports some of the issues raised by field research conducted in the official video surveillance system in public spaces that is operated by the Military Police on behalf of the Rio de Janeiro State Department of Public Security. The research was conducted at the Command and Control Center (CCC), where the images from all the cameras in the police battalions are brought together and at the police batallion at Copacabana (19th BPM), the first area at the city where surveillance cameras were installed. This system is treated as a sociotechnical network, formed by the interaction of individuals and technological elements, further increasing the importance of an observation from two different levels of this network. Special attention is drawn on what I call "the paradox of the caught in-the-act surveillance scenes", dilemmas emerged around the conflict between the work of surveillance and the aesthetics of surveillance, and also on a main videosurveillance problem: (human and/or technical) overdetermination.
... The Chinese government, however, has responded with impressive technical efforts to prevent and deter access to potentially destabilizing ideas. The best known of these is the Golden Shield Project, original plans for which date to the late 1990s (Inkster 2015;Walton 2001). Via the so-called "Great Firewall of China," this blocks access to blacklisted Internet resources and censors network traffic for banned keywords and phrases. 1 It also encourages behavioral change in Internet users for fear of criminal investigation and prosecution, via a matrix of technical surveillance, legal, and regulatory measures (Deibert 2015;Deibert et al. 2011). ...
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Under Xi Jinping's leadership, China has actively promoted “Internet sovereignty” as a means to reshape the discourse and practices of global cyber governance. By analyzing Chinese-language literature, this article unpacks the Chinese discourse of Internet sovereignty. Despite significant interest in promoting it as China's normative position on cyberspace, we find that Chinese formulations of Internet sovereignty are fragmented, diverse, and underdeveloped. There are substantial disagreements and uncertainty over what Internet sovereignty is and how it can be put into practice. This is principally due to the evolving pattern of Chinese policy formation, whereby political ideas are often not clearly defined when first proposed by Chinese leaders. This article argues that an underdeveloped domestic discourse of Internet sovereignty has significantly restricted China's capacity to provide alternative norms in global cyberspace. Appreciating this ambiguity, diversity, and, sometimes, inconsistency is vital to accurate understanding of transformations in global cyber governance occasioned by China's rise.
... Indeed, the privatisation and regulation of public space, which have been forcefully criticised with regard to cities of the West (Sorkin, 1992;Mitchell, 2003;Kohn, 2004), are increasingly commonplace in non-Western contexts. Much of this transition, arguably, is attributable to the policy transfer between the Global South and North, a process in which urban policies conceived in other cities, inter alia Western ones, are adopted and adjusted to address local issues (Peck and Theodore, 2010;McCann, 2011;Swanson, 2013). 1 Resultantly, many non-Western cities have witnessed the establishment of consumption-oriented and tightly regulated business improvement districts (BIDs) (Ward, 2007;Didier et al. 2012), the privatisation and/or Disneyfication of public space to satiate economic interests (Stanilov, 2007;Kurfürst, 2011;Gaubatz, 2008a;2008b) and the implementation of CCTV surveillance technology to curb 'unruly' or 'unsafe' elements in public space (Walton, 2001;Norris et al. 2004;Lemanski, 2004;Firmino et al. 2013). Economic restructuring and transformation have caused intensifying social polarisation and spatial segregation in many non-Western countries, and privatisation and regulation are thus expected by cohorts of urban policy makers and elites to contribute to an ordered, secured and sanitised environment with a painstakingly maintained veneer of safety and civility (Caldeira, 1996;Connell, 1999). ...
Article
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In Western traditions, conceptions of public space have been pivotal to ideas and imaginations of civic and political life. Public space is understood as a political forum where ideas and claims are expressed and as a civic arena where identities and differences are rendered visible and thereby acknowledged. Recently, studies on public space have made a timely theoretical move towards theorising the ways in which spatial practices are constitutive of social processes, and contribute to the relational construction of identities and subjectivities. This review focuses on the practices of public space and publicness in non-Western contexts. It engages with the multifarious ways that contingent conceptions of publicness are construed, negotiated and contested in contexts without civic and political conceptualisations of public space conceived in the West. While building on the practice-oriented approach towards public space, this review suggests that fluid and flexible perspectives and conceptualisations need to be rendered more intelligible and concrete by engaging with the richness of empirical processes taking place in non-Western cities. In cases across the globe, public spaces, in putting together multiple meanings, views, actions and relations, are intrinsically productive of everyday politics and broader socio-cultural transformations.
... The widespread use of the Internet in the PRC in recent years has added a new dimension to internal state surveillance. The PRC government began broad operation of their Internet monitoring and censorship systems known as the Great Firewall of China (Walton, 2001;Kashihara, 2013, pp. 67-69) in 2003. ...
Article
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Purpose This study aims to investigate how Snowden’s revelations are viewed by young people in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan through questionnaire surveys of and follow-up interviews with university students in the two countries, taking into account the histories and current status of state surveillance in these countries and the current complicated and delicate cross-strait relationships. Design/methodology/approach Questionnaire surveys of 315 PRC and 111 Taiwanese university students (a majority studying in those places but a few studying abroad) and semi-structured follow-up interviews with 16 master’s course students from the PRC and one from Taiwan (all studying at Meiji University in Japan) were conducted, in addition to reviews of the literature on privacy and state surveillance in the PRC and Taiwan. The outcomes of the survey were statistically analysed and qualitative analyses of the interview results were also performed. Findings Youngsters living in the PRC had greater interest in and more knowledge about Snowden’s revelations than those living in Taiwan, and the revelations were positively evaluated in both countries as serving public interest. However, PRC students indicated they were less likely to emulate Snowden than those from Taiwan did. Originality/value This study is the first attempt to investigate the social impact of Snowden’s revelations on PRC and Taiwanese youngsters’ attitudes towards privacy and state surveillance as part of cross-cultural analyses between eight countries.
... Much of this transition, arguably, is attributable to the policy transfer between the Global South and North, a process in which urban policies conceived in other cities, inter alia Western ones, are adopted and adjusted to address local issues (Peck and Theodore 2010;McCann 2011;Swanson 2013). Resultantly, many non-Western cities have witnessed the establishment of consumption-oriented and tightly regulated Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) (Ward 2007;Didier et al. 2012), the privatisation and/or Disneyfication of public space to satiate economic interests (Stanilov 2007;Kurfürst 2011;Gaubatz 2008a, b), and the implementation of CCTV surveillance technology to curb "unruly" or "unsafe" elements in public space (Walton 2001;Norris et al. 2004;Lemanski 2004;Firmino et al. 2013). Economic restructuring and transformation have caused intensifying social polarisation and spatial segregation in many non-Western countries, and privatisation and regulation are thus expected by cohorts of urban policy makers and elites to contribute to an ordered, secured and sanitised environment with a painstakingly maintained veneer of safety and civility (Caldeira 1996;Connell 1999). ...
... The hand to "regulate" involves a long list of fresh moves including updating China's Great Firewall (GFW) and anti-virtual private network (VPN) technologies (Simon, 2015), wider deployment of paid propagandists to muddle online public opinions (Chen, Wu, Srinivasan, & Zhang, 2013;"China's Internet," 2013), pillorying on national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) recalcitrant online opinion leaders with petty crime charges (F. Yang, 2014), uniting and re-educating CEOs of Internet giant companies (Wang, 2015), and strengthening public opinion monitoring practices that have fostered a whole industry in China since early 21st century (Walton, 2001). 2 This quick adaptation to the changing Internet (Sullivan, 2014) and systematic and closely coordinated measures were described in a special report by The Economist ("China's Internet," 2013) as the "authoritarian" state "setting an example for other repressive regimes." ...
Article
Amid fleeing audience from the state legacy news media to the varied and vociferous new media, the Chinese government launched a mobile news app The Paper (Pengpai) in 2014 in Shanghai as a pilot test of digital journalism to “regain lost influence.” This seemingly against-the-tide expensive news project makes one wonder: How did The Paper come about and what is its nature? As a government-funded digital media, what old and new strategies have its journalists used in its marketing and content-making to achieve the designated goal of regaining lost influence/win public trust? Through in-depth interviews, this article finds the following: (1)The Paper is a product of patron-clientelism based on a consensus among imperatives of the legitimacy-seeking Party, Confucian-minded and job-losing journalists, and the quality-information-hungry public; (2) as it operates, The Paper has learned to speak both digitally and differently; (3) much like a Janus, its news executives initially used different narratives to the Party and the public to curry favor from both; (4) The Paper used both old and new strategies to negotiate with the censors, most notably two new exceptionalist discourses of “regaining influence” and “doing new media.” The author suggests that, using this exceptionalism trope, The Paper and a score of its clones across China have led Chinese journalism into a phase of “influence-seeking Communist new media-ism (2014–now),” during which Chinese journalists, while honing their digital abilities to propagandize China, have produced some quality digital journalism in public interest with the Party paying the bill.
... This includes the 2010 White Paper on Internet Sovereignty, the 2011 Public Pledge on Self-Regulation and Professional Ethics for China Internet Industry (Internet Society of China, 2011), and a communique of the Chinese Communist Party issued in 2013 that has become known as "Document 9" (Committee to Protect Journalists, 2014; The Economist, 2013). The state surveillance system (known in China as the Golden Shield project, 金盾工程) was begun by Deng Xiaoping in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests (Walton, 2001) and is most visible in the proliferation of CCTV cameras across the country. ...
... While the importance of the Internet for journalists in Hong Kong is growing, at the same time concern for surveillance is also growing, especially among activists, legislators, and journalists (Hargreaves, 2017;Tsui, 2015). Beijing has a long and extensive record of conducting surveillance and censorship on the mainland: the Great Firewall is not only a censorship or filtering technology but also a surveillance infrastructure (Tsui, 2003;Walton, 2001). Surveillance is often outsourced to companies. ...
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This is a study on digital security and press freedom, specifically the freedom from surveillance and the freedom to private and secure communication. We study journalists’ understanding and awareness of digital security practices: their perception of risks and threats of surveillance, and also their awareness of tools and techniques to communicate securely. Based on an empirical study of journalists in Hong Kong, including those who regularly travel to China for work, we build out a theoretical framework for understanding digital security mind-sets of journalists. We found differences in journalists’ behavior depending on how novice or advanced their understanding of digital security are. Journalists with a novice security mind-set will take different actions that produce different outcomes and behavior than those with an advanced security mind-set. We argue that journalists with an advanced security mind-set are able to work on a larger and wider range of (sensitive) stories, suggesting they enjoy a higher degree of press freedom.
... Several scholars have explored the rise of the Chinese surveillance state, often referring to China's explosive economic growth and its rapid advances in technology over the last three decades (Walton, 2001;Tai, 2010;Guo, 2012;Wang & Minzer, 2015;Qiang, 2019). ...
Article
In 2014, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China released a document that called for the construction of a nationwide Social Credit System (SCS) with the goal to encourage sincerity and punish insincerity. The system uses blacklists that citizens land on for various cases of misbehavior, ranging from failing to pay a fine to being caught Jaywalking. This research explains the design process behind the SCS and in particular why many Chinese citizens are embracing this form of surveillance. It focuses on three topics to answer this question: the historical roots underlying the system, the perceived lack of trust in Chinese society and the comparison with concepts from surveillance theories developed in the West. From the analysis, following conclusions could be drawn: Historically, the state has often acted as a promoter and enforcer of moral virtue. The SCS fits perfectly into this tradition. The most prominent reason for the positive Chinese reaction is the lack of institutions in China that promote trust between citizens and businesses. There is a severe trust deficit which the government had to find a solution for. Regarding surveillance theory, Foucault’s concept of ‘panopticism’ shows similarities with the SCS and underlines its effectiveness in changing and steering people’s behavior while Lyon’s notion of ‘social sorting’ is used to demonstrate the potential dangers of the Chinese system.
... The government envisions "a database-driven remote surveillance system, offering immediate access to registration records on every citizen in China, while linking to vast networks of cameras designed to cut police reaction time to demonstrations." [Walton, 2001] It is certainly not unreasonable to believe that this system would be an attack on all forms of public dissent. A person will certainly think twice about joining a demonstration knowing that he or she will be seen, identified, and quickly met with a police presence. ...
... Until 2001, local subsidiaries of the Ministry of Public Security from the provincial to city levels were relatively active in promoting internet cafe regulation in part because they collect a decent fee for installing network security software in the cafes, 33 and in part because they are arguably the most resourceful internet regulator in terms of financing, personnel, and administrative support. 34 However, since 2001, we have not observed a similar level of activity for the local successors of public security bureaus especially at the city level. Compared with the police, telecom regulators and cultural affairs authorities are less powerful official entities especially in their handling of local resistance. ...
Article
Using the ecology of games perspective, this article analyzes China's regulation of internet cafes. Based on the analyses of regulatory documents, interviews, and news coverage, we identify three games fundamental to our understanding of the subject: (1) the establishment of national regulatory regime, (2) local policy implementation, and (3) market competition. We situate the discussion of game players, their goals, strategies, and performances in the context of rapidly increasing internet cafe penetration under intensifying government regulation, a manifestation of the inevitable clash between state and market at the local levels of internet development. This culminated in the April 2003 proposal by the Ministry of Culture for a national chain-store model, which led to a "nested game" involving key players from all three essential games including national regulators, local state agencies, cafe operators, user groups (e.g. students and migrant workers), and members of the urban elite (e.g. parents and teachers). We conclude by maintaining that there is a pressing need for more research on internet cafes as localized points of access control; that the processes of internet cafe regulation constitute a prism for the examination of the internet's socio-political ramifications; and that the ecology of games provides an insightful theoretical framework for this analytical task.
... Some interesting comparative work could be done in this area. In China, for instance, western corporations have been sought for advice and equipment to bolster the surveillance capacities of a very undemocratic state (Greg, 2001). At the same time, the Internet and email are used in China as a means of operating beyond the reach of the state, by democratic dissidents, Falun Gong members and so on. ...
Article
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If surveillance was once thought of as primarily the domain of the nation-state, or of organizations such as firms within the nation-state, in the 21st century it must be considered in a broader context. Surveillance has to do with the rationalized control of information within modern organizations, and involves in particular processing personal data for the purposes of influence, management, or control. It also depends for its success on the involvement of its ‘data-subjects’. In countries of the global north, surveillance expanded with increasing rapidity after computerization from the 1970s onwards, a process that also enabled it to spread more readily to other areas, especially from workers and citizens to consumers and travellers. Since the 1980s, surveillance has become increasingly globalized, as populations become more mobile, and as social relations and transactions have stretched more elastically over time and space. Globalizing surveillance was also catalyzed by the events of 11 September 2001. However, surveillance processes occur differently in different cultural contexts, as do responses to them. Understanding comparatively the various modes of surveillance, understood sociologically, helps us grasp one of the key features of today’s world and also to see political and policy responses to it in perspective.
... In the past decade, governments have increasingly been using information technologies to collect information on and monitor their citizens. Many observers consider China technologically advanced, including in its use of digital surveillance (Walton 2001;Qin et al. 2017). The rapid expansion of its surveillance capacity has led international news outlets to portray it as a nascent dystopian surveillance state in which totalitarian social control is underway. ...
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Discussions of China’s recent massive surveillance initiative often present it as evidence of a path to an Orwellian state with omnipresent fear and discontent among its citizens. However, based on a 2018 survey of a nationally representative sample, this paper finds that a large majority of Chinese citizens support various forms of state surveillance. CCTV surveillance receives the highest support (82.2%), followed by e-mail and Internet monitoring (61.1%). Even the most intrusive policy – collecting intelligence on everyone in the country – receives support from more than 53% of citizens. Further, support for surveillance is positively associated with an individual’s preference for social stability, regime satisfaction, and, to a lesser extent, trust in government. Unlike in Western societies, concerns about information exposure and terrorism do not have any significant correlations with citizens’ attitudes toward surveillance in China. These findings might help explain why the Chinese state can expand its surveillance capacity without much open resistance from the public.
... In contrast to the self-interested high-tech discourse's promises about the inherently democratic nature of new information and telecommunication technologies, Walton (2001) argues that these technologies are embedded in a social context. It is not the technology itself but the way people will use it that leads to either development or repression. ...
... Privacy research in HCI and related fields has a long tradition of conceptualizing privacy through theories and concepts involving contexts [76], norms [67], boundaries [80], or values [70], spanning from very broad and abstract definitions in philosophy [74], sociology [35], and anthropology [64] to narrower, pragmatic definitions such as in legal studies [82]. Large scale communication technologies (e.g., Facebook 1 , Twitter 2 ), surveillance technologies [108], public digital services [43], and data-driven decision making approaches [83] have spurred discussion in contesting modernist values of autonomy [49], freedom [112], rights [17], and boundaries between public and private spheres [76] -all of which contribute to a more nuanced understanding of privacy. The increasing importance of information technology in everyday life further complicates the perceptions of privacy and the research community has focused to reconceptualize privacy and formulate design policies accordingly. ...
... ThefollowingbrieflyreviewspriorstudiesonnetworkmediaregulationinChina'scontext.With thepurposeofstrengtheningCCP'spoliticalinfluencesonline,Chineseauthoritiesestablishedan electronicmonitoringsystemin2003andtheGreatFirewallconfiningtheinformationflows (Walton, 2001).InabroadersenseofInternetgovernance,thecyber-sovereigntyframeworkisemployedto interpretChina'sstancewhichwasconstructeduponanddistinguishedfromtheUS-centric,market-orientedInternetgovernancescheme (Shen,2016).Asetofspecificmediapolicieshavebeenenacted concerninginfrastructureconstruction,serviceguidanceandcontentregulation (Hu,2010). ...
Article
The network audio-visual entrepreneurship in China has achieved great progress and engendered conspicuous negative externalities in the early development stage. Few studies have investigated how media entrepreneurship coordinates with government regulation and the influence of government regulation on media entrepreneurship. This study aims at investigating government regulation on the flourishing network audio-visual entrepreneurship. This study performs semi-structured interviews with 14 respondents who are experienced in government regulation of the network audio-visual sector. It is found that license management and content censorship are principal approaches to regulating entrepreneurship. The media companies have been constrained by limited government support and social resources, and therefore endeavored to legitimate their business by collaborating with Internet conglomerates. Strict rules of content censorship discourage users from producing audio-visual content, and impose restrictions on Internet companies and other producers producing and displaying audio-visual content.
... In contrast to the self-interested high-tech discourse's promises about the inherently democratic nature of new information and telecommunication technologies, Walton (2001) argues that these technologies are embedded in a social context. It is not the technology itself but the way people will use it that leads to either development or repression. ...
... Control and freedom are two major themes dominating the study of internet use in China (Yu, 2007). On the one hand, as an authoritarian regime, China is notorious for its internet control (Chase and Mulvenon, 2002;Kalathil and Boas, 2003;Kluver and Banerjee, 2005;Li, 2010;Walton, 2001;Weber and Lu, 2007). According to the Open Net Initiative (2009), China has one of the largest and most sophisticated filtering systems in the world to block overseas websites that contain information deemed to be 'politically sensitive'. ...
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