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Taiwan denies it plans to duplicate China's online censorship

2013/05/30 22:43:47

Taipei, May 30 (CNA) Taiwan's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) on Thursday rebutted claims that its plan to block overseas Internet services that seriously infringe on copyright is in essense a duplication of China's unique Internet censorship policy known as the "Great Firewall."

The Next Web (TNW), one of the world's largest online publishers, reported that China is famous for 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.

The report said now the policy could be duplicated in Taiwan, where officials have proposed a list of sites that will be blocked.

A few days ago, Taiwan's media report even quoted some people as describing blocking Internet websites as the first step for a modern country to isolate itself from the world.

The Intellectual Property Office, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), on Thursday clarified that it will only target international websites that are notorious for file-sharing and other activities that flagrantly violate digital content rights, but it will not adopt the Great Firewall policy.

Due to cost considerations, only a few local ISPs -- Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Broadband Communications and Far Eastone Telecommunications Co. -- will be asked to block access to certain IP addresses and domain names, the IPO has previously said.

The IPO said it will hold hearings to gather views from various sectors, but no timetable has yet been set for such hearings.

The report cited a report by international blog website Global Voices as saying that Taiwan's IPO has put forward draft legislation to block links at the IP and DNS level. The SOPA-like initiative is designed to make sites from overseas that specialize in copyright infringed content unavailable in the country, it said.

The report suggested that in effect this will see Taiwan raise a firewall of its own.

SOPA refers to Stop Online Piracy Act, a proposed U.S. Internet legislation.

The Next Web is an online publication which provides news about internet technology, business and culture.

According to its website, Global Voices is a community of more than 700 authors and 600 translators from around the world who work together to provide reports from blogs and citizen media, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Y.L. Kao)