Netizens recently noticed a cryptic line of information appearing at the bottom of the official Web site of the London Summer Olympics (www.london2012.com), sparking speculation about possible complicity by the Games’ organizers in Chinese Internet censorship during the event.
At first glance, the last line of information on the site, which appeared in light gray characters, seemed mysterious enough: ICP filing number (京ICP備12028602號). The acronym stands for Internet content provider, a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) allowing China-based Web sites to operate in China.
Under regulations promulgated in September 2000, all Web sites with domain names operating inside China must obtain an ICP license. Foreign companies that, for whatever reason, are unable to acquire an ICP license often enter into agreements with Chinese Internet firms and use the license of the Chinese company.
China-based Internet service providers are required to block a site if it fails to acquire a license within a grace period.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) does not have a dedicated site in China.
The organizer told the Taipei Times yesterday that after observing a 30-second-plus load time with Chinese Internet users, it decided to serve the site on a China-based content delivery network (CDN).
To get access to such a network, LOCOG was obliged to apply for an ICP license, it said.
According to the Global Voices Advocacy group, the registered company is Quan Ya Intellectual Property Agency (Beijing) Ltd (權亞知識產權代理(北京)有限公司), a Beijing-based intellectual property rights agent. The individual in charge is Liu Juan (劉娟).
LOCOG maintains that the arrangement has nothing to do with censorship.
“It does not require us to make any commitments around the type or tone of content we offer to any end user nor have we made any such commitments,” a representative from the LOCOG news desk said.
Other international sites operating in China with an ICP license include the New York Times, Google and the National Basketball Association, she said.
However, this also means that the content provided by the official Web site could be manipulated once it is fed in to the local CDN, and live feeds could be delayed.
Under MIIT regulations, all licensed Web sites are forbidden from broadcasting information that is judged to be damaging to the national and public interest; misleading the public; harmful to the morality of socialism; contains names or nouns that have special meanings; and is against laws and regulations.
The Chinese authorities often rely upon delays during live coverage to censor any content it deems inappropriate for a Chinese audience. In the past, delays were used to edit out “damaging scenes” such as anti-China protests or references to democracy, Tibet, Taiwan and other challenges to the authority of the Chinese Communist Party. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, all broadcasts of sporting events were subjected to a 10-second delay in case Tibetans or other political dissidents staged demonstrations.
Several observers are not convinced and speculate that Beijing set the arrangement as a precondition, threatening that the Web site would be blocked in China if LOCOG failed to comply.
To minimize confusion, the Olympic organizers said they had removed the number from the site.
HIGH-RISK GROUP: After the latest outbreak, family members of workers exposed to infection would from tomorrow be eligible for government-funded vaccines The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four local COVID-19 cases: three family members of an infected worker at a quarantine hotel and a family member of an infected pilot. The new cases bring the number of infections involving China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) pilots and the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, where many of the airline’s crew members quarantined, to 24. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said three of them are the husband, son and daughter of case No. 1,129, a woman in her 60s, who works at the hotel. The son is in
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section