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Internet

China cracks down on Net users

As free speech advocates battled the "decency law" in the United States, China took its own draconian measures to control the flow of information on the information highway.

As free speech advocates battled the "decency law" in the United States, China took its own draconian measures to control the flow of information on the information highway. China's solution: every Net user will have to register with the police within 30 days.

While the U.S. government is putting the clamps on transmission of sexually explicit material to minors, China's move is geared to punish those who could pose a threat to the very existence of the Communist Party. According to wire service reports, the Chinese government hasn't issued detailed rules regarding this measure, but previous decrees have warned network users not to harm national security, reveal state secrets, or disseminate pornography.

Jim Clark, chairman of Netscape, had said in an interview with a trade publication recently that although it would be difficult to enforce, the Chinese government could use technology to restrict flow of information on the Net. "A corporation has a so-called firewall--a single point of entry into the corporate network. You can have a country that has a single point of entry into its 'country Net.' You could set up a proxy server that operates at the firewall so that it doesn't allow certain URLs to come in."