Learn from Japan: a Normal Internet Environment

Enorth: We will block you - in a most developed way

Enorth (Febr 2011 snapshot): We will block you - in a most developed way

The following is a translation of an article by Guangming Net (光明网), republished by Enorth, on internet supervision and regulation in Japan (互联网监管 –> 监督管理, translated as internet supervision in the following). The article’s intention can probably be best understood in context with articles like this one, of March 25/26.

[Main link: http://news.enorth.com.cn/system/2011/04/22/006419680.shtml. Links within blockquote added during translation – JR]

In recent years, Japan has continuously strengthened supervision of the internet by means of legislation. On the morning of March 11, the day when the magnitude-9 earthquake occured, the cabinet passed a draft of a law section to parliament which wouldn’t only punish the creation, dissemination and possession of viruses, but which also stipulates that the government can require network operators (运营商) to retain users’ network accession and communication data for a maximum of sixty days. Some members of the industry criticized the governments measures to strengthen online monitoring (网上监控), but many people believe that these measures will help to curb the growing number of online crimes.

As a country with a developed economy and a universal availability of computers and internet access, the endless stream (层出不穷、络绎不绝 – céng chū bù qióng, luò yì bù jué) of online crimes has plagued Japan’s government and common people all the time. Criminal elements have used the internet to lure minors into pornographic and obscene activities. Sales of drugs, firearms and knives and incitements of suicide have also frequently occured. Floods of spam emails and viruses are a calamity which seriously affects the population’s use of the internet (垃圾邮件、电脑病毒更是泛滥成灾,严重影响了民众正常使用互联网). Therefore, in accordance with the principle to be vigilant within and relaxed outside (根据内紧外松的原则), Japan’s internet operators and the Japanese government have continuously strengthened supervision of the internet, mainly by legislative means. As early as in 1984, Japan enacted an internet supervision “Telecommunications Business Law” (电讯事业法). With the arrival of the 21rst century, following the developed status and universal availability of the internet, Japan successively established a “Law of Providers’ Responsibility” (规范互联网服务商责任法) [服务商 refers to internet service providers (ISP)] and a “Law against use of dating sites for luring minors” (打击利用交友网站引诱未成年人法), a “Safe online environment for young people law” (青少年安全上网环境整备法), and “Standard e-mail law” (规范电子邮件法), etc., thus efficiently curbing online crime illegality, and harmful information (网上犯罪和违法、有害信息).

This time’s cabinet amendment was meant to increase penalties on the production and dissemination of viruses, and to improve the legal basis for the authorities, from the online information to be provided by the network operators. In this regard, some of the industry criticize the government move as strengthening surveillance of internet users, which could infringe on citizens’ privacy (公民的隐私权, gōngmín de yǐnsī quán). But commentators also believe that in response to the growing scale of online crimes, to protect the netizens’ safety and their ease at using the internet, the government’s legislation draft for strengthened internet supervision gives no cause for much criticism (无可厚非, wú kě hòu fēi). On March 11, after a cabinet meeting, Japan’s National Police Agency also took action against rumors that were being spread (造谣诽谤) to prevent people from using the internet for spreading false news to upset public feelings (扰乱人心, rǎoluàn rénxīn) and to damage social stability (破坏社会稳定, pòhuài shèhuì wěndìng).

For the management of the internet, besides the criminal and civil law, Japan also established the “personal information protection law” (个人信息保护法), “anti-spam law” (反垃圾邮件法), the “law against illegal reading of information” (禁止非法读取信息法), the “electronic contract law” (电子契约法) and other laws and regulations to penalize illegal internet behavior. Internet service providers, internet content providers (ICP), websites, personal homepages and bulletin websites (网站电子公告) all belong to the domain of legal norms (都属于法律规范的范畴). Senders who use websites to send illegal or unhealthy information (不良信息) or publish websites with such content also bear responsibilities by civil law, and websites are under the obligation to check on illegal or unhealthy information. It is exactly because the Japanese government has established a flawless legal system, and because it has continuously kept substantiating it, that a normal environment for Japanese netizens has been protected.

By Saturday (April 23, 2011, 11:55 GMT), no comments had been made on the article, according to the (Guangming / Enorth) article’s “view-all-comments” function. The article was published by Enorth on Friday, April 22, at 07:15 GMT.


Zhou Yongkang: More Convenience with “Social Management”, February 21, 2011
Net Neutrality: The real internet backbone, Mattias Geniar, January 15, 2011
Why Wikileaks can’t work, December 1, 2010
Censorship: a “Double-Win”, March 31, 2010
Can Cyber Criminals Consent…, Benjamin Wright / SANS Technology Institute, May 14, 2007
Media Self-Regulation in Asia, Chester Yung, Media & Arts Review, 2004

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