Japan Announces Plans For Content Filtering, Watermarking

While the Australian Government is getting slammed on the internet for its proposal to require telecommunication companies to filter online and mobile access to adult content, the Japanese Government has announced a proposal that makes that one seem overly libertarian. The proposals include “banning downloads of copyrighted files for personal use and requiring mobile operators to filter Web content for users under the age of 18,” reports eWeek. How will users know if a file is legal? “Japanese authorities, however, are proposing to issue watermarks or other digital signature techniques to identify legal sites.” This apparently means that any site that doesn’t bear the approved watermark would be illegal. The proposal will also see online content considered to be “harmful” being removed or corrected by the Japanese Government, with the standards for what is considered harmful being determined by an independent authority. On the mobile side, mobile carriers will be required to filter content to under-18s as the default position, with parents being required to opt-out if they choose. As an example of where this sort of filtering can go wrong, UK Gay News, in which “the vast majority of the content is links to articles of interest to lesbian, gay or transgender people in some of the world


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