China Shuts Down Cloud Storage Services for Pornographic Content
“Internet companies only provide the technology to build cyberspaces for online storage, but in the end, these spaces belong to China’s online territory and, hence, fall within the government’s jurisdiction,” Qin An, a cyber security expert at the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy. China has defined Cloud Storage as a territory of the Chinese government and therefore has the jurisdiction to regulate the content stored within Clouds, allowing for immense censorship.
Pornographic content is widespread on cloud services, with users uploading videos and then selling them. The government believes it should take necessary action to halt this “immoral” behavior.
President Xi Jinping has ignited a moral campaign that aims to tackle corruption within the country’s sprawling administration as well as crackdown on inappropriate online content. After the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications launched a campaign in March “to address the emerging practice of sharing and hosting pornography via cloud storage services.” Many companies cloud storage services have been shut down. The list includes interne giants Sina, Tencent and Kingsoft as well as DBank and Alibaba.
Alibaba announced in March a complete closure of the service but dates have not yet been specified. Sina soon followed on April 25 with their announcement to close cloud services. DBank has become the sixth company to close or reduce operations after this crackdown. DBank will close all services and delete all data on July 1st, 2016. . Sina and Xunlei, which operate Vdisk andKuaiPan storage services respectively, announced closure of free accounts on June 30.
Homemade videos may still be created and uploaded to personal accounts as long as the content is treated as private information.
Throughout the massive crackdown, few companies, such as search engine Baidu and Internet company Qihoo360, have no plans to suspend any operations.
This is not the first of mass censorship in China, as Google Drive, Dropbox, Apple iTunes, Walt Disney’s DisneyLife services, and many online streaming shows have been blolcked in China. The Chinese government has expanded the word pornography to include any material it finds to be objectionable, such as political criticism. What will be censored next?
Xie Yongjiang, deputy director of the Institute of Internet Governance and Law at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications: “The government has the right to supervise and intercept illegal information spread online, while companies are also obliged to prevent such information from being uploaded online in the first place by using filtration technology.”