Electronic Frontier Foundation Warns on New China Censorship Tool

New copyright protection software being employed in China could rear its head in the US, internet privacy group warns.

Software being used to enforce copyright claims in China can be used in other ways to violates users’ privacy and tamp down dissent, with similar software being developed in the US, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a post on its website.

Referring to the new 12426 Copyright Monitoring Center in a post titled, “Chinese Government and Hollywood Launch Snoop-and-Censor Copyright Filter,” the EFF states that officials in China are using software that searches video, still images, and other content to match against material submitted in copyright claims, not unlike trying to match a photo with Google Images.

Part of EFF’s concern, and its objection to Hollywood’s involvement, is that the Copyright Society of China “is formally a private association, and lists among the venture’s partners American media companies such as 21st Century Fox and Warner Bros. On the other hand, the Society is headed by a representative of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” the post said.

“This stifling surveillance machine is a human rights crisis in its own right,” according to EFF, which sees parallels between the 12426 initiative and similar demands by intellectual property producers in Europe and North America. “It is just as chilling that the governments of the United States and Europe are being lobbied by copyright holders to follow China’s lead. Although this call is being heard on both sides of the Atlantic, it has gained the most ground in Europe, where it needs to be urgently stopped in its tracks,” the post said.

“Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows,” is how the organization describes itself.