China Urges ISPs To Pledge "Patriotism" - InformationWeek

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China Urges ISPs To Pledge "Patriotism"

It wants them to sign a pact meant to stop the spread of information that the government feels could harm national security.

BEIJING (AP) -- The Chinese government is calling on Internet service providers to sign a "self-discipline pact" meant to stop the spread of information that could harm national security as defined by Beijing.

The country already requires Internet firms to police their online content and weed out any criticism of the central government. It also tries to block sites it deems politically sensitive or otherwise unacceptable.

The new pact was initiated by the China Internet Association, a government-run industry group, the official Xinhua News Agency said over the weekend.

"The basic principles of self-discipline for the Internet industry are patriotism, observance of the law, fairness, and trustworthiness," Xinhua said.

Firms that sign on must promise not to spread information "threatening the national security, social stability, or containing superstitious or erotic content," the agency said.

Internet service providers must also make sure they do not provide links to other sites with inappropriate material, it added.

The pact calls on Internet cafes to direct Web users to "healthy online information," and it urges respect for intellectual property rights.

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