Malaysia mulls ‘Green Dam’ despite China’s failure

(The Malaysian Insider) KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — Despite a guarantee of no censorship in Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim's ministry is evaluating the feasibility of putting an Internet filter blocking “undesirable websites” — similar to China's aborted "Green Dam" software.

The study is to be completed by this December and the results will be handed to a shadowy unit monitoring blogs and websites although the decision on implementation will lie with the National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Critics say any move to filter the Internet is against the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees apart from being largely ineffective as most Internet surfers can circumvent filters through proxy servers.

"It is a waste of time," Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran, chief executive officer of Internet security firm Hack in the Box, told The Malaysian Insider.

But the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry has conducted a tender exercise calling for companies to put proposals to assist the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) evaluate an Internet filter.

The move comes on the back of proposals to register bloggers, most of whom are said to be anti-government, and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition parties to have a larger Internet presence.

Rais’s ministry has called for tenders for an Internet filter. — Reuters pic

According to tender documents seen by The Malaysian Insider, the tenderer is:

• to evaluate the readiness and feasibility for the implementation of Internet filter at Internet gateway level, through assessments on the existing infrastructure and existing products in the market.

• to evaluate and estimate costs for the implementation.

• to study the existing legal framework in addressing content filtering and no censorship issue, including the impacts that are caused by the implementation to Internet users and the Malaysian economy.

The successful tenderer is also to visit Internet services oroviders (ISPs) and question them on various issues apart from studying countries which have some form of Internet filters to study the suitability for the Malaysian environment.

Among the recommended countries are India, Pakistan, Australia and Hong Kong. It is not known whether these countries use filters or what they are filtering.

Read more at: Malaysia mulls ‘Green Dam’ despite China’s failure