Print 118 comment(s) - last by Shadow Concept.. on Aug 7 at 10:45 PM

Journalists, fans, and support staff betrayed by false "open internet" pledge

A secret order to foreign-owned Chinese hotels compels them to spy on guests during the Olympic Games, according to a memo revealed Tuesday by U.S. Senator Sam Brownback.

Brownback, a republican representing Kansas, said he received a document issued by the Chinese Public Security bureau, which orders hotels to install spying equipment on their internet connections and threatens owners with “severe retaliation” – including the possibility of losing their operating licenses – should they fail to comply.

“These hotels are justifiably outraged by this order,” said Brownback at a news conference Tuesday, noting that it forces them into the “awkward position” of having to “craft pop-up messages” informing guests of their loss of privacy.

Brownback said he received a copy of the original document, translated from Chinese, from attorneys representing two different “foreign-owned” hotel chains. The companies want to remain anonymous so that they don’t face further reprisal. Several other international hotel chains confirmed the order.

An AP report said the Chinese embassy was unavailable for comment.

According to the memo, hotels were told that “all hotel rooms and offices” are considered subject to “on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times.”

With little more than a week remaining before the 2008 Summer Olympics begin in Beijing, Chinese hotel owners appear to have little choice. Despite their outrage, hotel companies are more concerned about the long-term repercussions of non-compliance – failure to obey could place an entire company’s operations in jeopardy, potentially locking them out of a lucrative, growing Chinese market.

Meanwhile, athletes and participants staying at the Olympic Village have a unique set of woes for their internet access: an IT contractor recently leaked a list of rates for DSL service charged by BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games), with the cheapest option being a 512/512 kilobit line available for 11,700 RMB ($1716.05 USD). 

“I just can't believe that not only do I have to deal with the Great Firewall of China, but also pay through the nose to use it!” wrote the anonymous contractor.

According to Australian newspaper The Age, the International Olympic Committee issued a formal apology Wednesday for “misleading” the world’s press about the China’s “open internet” pledge. Senior IOC member Kevan Gosper, who originally delivered the promise of “unfettered freedom to report in China,” said he was unaware of the apparently backroom negotiations with Chinese censors, which will keep a number of “sensitive sites” blocked from access.

Age reporters said they were unable to access a number of sites involving human rights discussions, Tibet, and the Falun Gong, with merely intermittent access to a larger portfolio of websites including the New York Times, BBC China, al-Jazeera, Radio Free Asia, and Taiwanese newspapers.

 BOCOG spokesman Sun Weide said that China promised journalists that they would “be able to use the internet for their work during the Olympic Games. So we have given them sufficient access to do that.”

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: And how is this a surprise?
By Ringold on 8/1/2008 12:40:51 PM , Rating: 3
It doesn't take crap

What? I'm almost speechless here. The EU has bent over and taken Russia's belligerence like a cheap whore on energy, partly because Germany's in bed with them. This is why Eastern European states have wanted to join NATO; deep disappointment with Brussels, which has failed to protect them from Moscow. Where was the EU when Russia launched its attack on its neighbors networks? Where is the EU when Russia threatens to cut off nat-gas? Where is the EU trying to be a good neighbor and involving itself with South Ossetia / Georgia?

I'll say one thing though.. the ECB sure doesn't take crap. Jean Claude Trichet should perhaps run the entire EU.

it loves free trade

Unless, of course, it doesn't involve the untouchable agriculture sector. Thanks, Europe, for helping to kill Doha. With the emission scheme, it may soon be an issue to trade with any country not employing a similar carbon restriction program. That'll cripple trade with the developing world if protectionist forces manage to get the upper hand.

'go with the US or the EU?'

How about a third option? Glorious independence! If you guys need an example, you could look to Switzerland or Norway. They seem to be getting along well without having any special sugar-daddy.

RE: And how is this a surprise?
By boogle on 8/1/2008 1:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
I was talking about internally. The EU has no requirement to become a world policeman, only the US seems to have delusions of being morally superior and therefore controlling the world with its police force, often named 'Officer Carrier Group' and 'Corporal USMC' found in countries where there is oil but curiously not in countries without oil. I'd rather be in a country that doesn't interfere, but should you attack, you'll get more than a bloody nose. Unfortunately the UK interferes because the US interferes so our political well-being has gone from good to abysmal.

Trade again, I was talking internally. There's very little red-tape between EU states when it comes to trade. But I'm sure the US' trade is supremely fair and doesn't benefit the US at the cost of other countries whatsoever. A model for us all.

I like your 'sugar-daddy' reference. Which state are you from? Your state has its own sugar-daddy, the US government.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
Related Articles

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki