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Taiwan signals move toward greater internet censorship

Pete Zaborszky

Pete Zaborszky

June 13, 2013

taiwanl wallTaiwan’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) recently proposed amending its Copyright Act to allow for IP and DNS blocking using a blacklist system.

Sharing many similarities with the United States’ now suspended SOPA legislation, the amendments are ostensibly aimed at blocking overseas internet services that are ‘specifically designed for copyright infringement activities’ or which have ‘obviously violated copyrights’, but involve the introduction of a framework that could be used to block the free flow of information.

Taiwan, a small independent (despite Chines claims of sovereignty) island nation*, lies only 180km (110 miles) off the coast of mainland China. Although economically highly advanced and governed by a multi-party democracy, civil liberties groups have expressed concern that the changes could signal a move towards a ‘Great Firewall of Taiwan’, similar to the infamous internet censorship system used by its much larger neighbor.

As ever when it comes to censorship issues such as this, we advise the use of a VPN service to overcome the restrictions once they have been put into place.

*The issue of Taiwanese sovereignty is a complex, contested, and highly emotive one.

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