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: Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Clinton urges tech leaders to invest in training

Apr 09, 2014

Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that if Silicon Valley executives want to persuade Congress to let them hire more high-skilled professionals from abroad, they would have a better case if they also funded ...

Recommended for you

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

9 hours ago

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

Yahoo sees signs of growth in 'core' (Update)

9 hours ago

Yahoo reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit Tuesday, results hailed by chief executive Marissa Mayer as showing growth in the Web giant's "core" business.

Intel reports lower 1Q net income, higher revenue

9 hours ago

Intel's earnings fell in the first three months of the year amid a continued slump in the worldwide PC market, but revenue grew slightly because of solid demand for tablet processors and its data center services.

Earthquake simulation tops one quadrillion flops

11 hours ago

A team of computer scientists, mathematicians and geophysicists at Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and Ludwig-Maximillians Universitaet Muenchen (LMU) have – with the support of the Leibniz Supercomputing ...

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

12 hours ago

Twitter says it has bought its data partner Gnip, which provides analysis of the more than 500 million tweets its users share each day—to advertisers, academic institutions, politicians and other customers.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Intel reports lower 1Q net income, higher revenue

Intel's earnings fell in the first three months of the year amid a continued slump in the worldwide PC market, but revenue grew slightly because of solid demand for tablet processors and its data center services.

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...