China's tech commissars target SMS porn

Sep 27, 2005

China's Ministry of Information Industry, the regulator of telecom, Internet and information-technology development, said it is targeting cell-phone smut.

Shen Yongtao, the MII's deputy director of Service Quality Supervision Office at the Telecom Administration Bureau, told Russia's Interfax news agency Monday that China's first set of short-message-system content rules, which will cover objectionable materials, would be released soon. The restrictions reportedly will attempt to curb pornography and prostitution and were developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Security.

Estimates vary, but hundreds of millions of short messages are sent every day by China's 350 million-plus cell-phone users, making it a profitable wireless value-added service. At peak periods, such as during the Chinese New Year, more than 1 billion messages are sent in a single day.

Many of those messages apparently contain pornography or are related to prostitution.

The MII issued new policies last spring to regulate SMS providers that focused on pricing and subscription issues. Shen said then those policies targeted illegal service providers but also would provide the legal basis for the authorities to take action against smut.

On Tuesday United Press International asked Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, how China interpreted the issue of digital human rights. Did the country have a definition for the freedom of expression and assembly for the new telecommunications media, particularly after new regulations restricting dissemination of information via cell phone, online news services, bulletin boards and e-mails were handed down Sunday?

"I think the relevant authorities of the Chinese government have already answered questions on what the goals were in making the announcement," Qin replied. "I don't want to repeat it here."

Qin noted reports by the journalists present, including UPI, on this issue.

"Every country in the world will regulate the Internet and the media in accordance with law," he said. "It is only natural. There is no need to make a fuss about it."

Qin rebuked UPI on the phrasing of the question.

"You asked if there are any human rights in terms of Internet in China," he said. "I don't agree with your wording. I think in China media and Internet should operate in accordance with law; any media in any country has to operate in accordance with law."

China has given itself a black eye among those concerned with digital human rights by hiding behind the right to make laws. The clampdown on what constitutes criminal content is expanding in an attempt to prevent the creation of a true civil society.

There are no official data on the extent of the cellular porn-message problem; however, many mobile-phone users in China are thought to have received some type of suggestive short-message spam at least once in the last 18 months. Increased numbers of mobile-phone subscribers are filing complaints concerning pornography and other illegal content SMS spam.

UPI has received perhaps six unsolicited SMS transmissions over the last two years. They were sent in mainland simplified Chinese characters and offered a range of lewdness and sexual services, real or virtual. They are an easily eliminated and forgotten annoyance, just like their e-mail counterparts, such as those offering cheap airline tickets and other travel arrangements, or real-estate deals and illegal cable TV hook-ups.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Team improves solar-cell efficiency

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Season's new phones are all about selfie image

Sep 04, 2014

Visit any tourist destination, and you're bound to see individuals and groups taking photos of themselves for sharing on social media. It's a declaration to the world that they were there.

For top broadband policy, look no further than Canada

Aug 20, 2014

You might have seen communications minister Malcolm Turnbull raising the issue about Australian press not discussing policy problems and solutions from overseas, in a speech delivered at the Lowy Institute Media Awards last week: ...

Recommended for you

Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure

12 hours ago

The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation ...

Tim Cook puts personal touch on iPhone 6 launch

14 hours ago

Apple chief Tim Cook personally kicked off sales of the iPhone 6, joining in "selfies" and shaking hands with customers Friday outside the company's store near his Silicon Valley home.

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

Sep 19, 2014

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

Sep 19, 2014

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

User comments : 0