‘Govt not feeling guilty about blocking sites’

Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum

KUCHING: The government is not feeling any guilt for their stand or actions about blocking file-sharing sites, said Information, Communication and Culture Deputy Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum.

Speaking to The Borneo Post yesterday, he said that the rightful owners of songs being shared via various file-sharing sites have filed their complaints and these complaints are legitimate.

“Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is only acting on the request of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry.”

He was responding to queries about the hacker group Anonymous, who announced that they will launch an attack on the government’s official website, www.malaysia.gov.my, in response to MCMC ordering a block on 10 file-sharing websites.

On Tuesday, the group posted their threat, announcing their target and time of attack to be June 15, 7.30pm GMT (Malaysian time June 16, 3.30am). They called it “Operation Malaysia”.

They later announced their reasons for targeting Malaysia, which included the blocking of file-sharing sites, as well as various acts of censorship by the Malaysian government.

“We fear that if you make further decisions to take away human freedom, we are obligated to act fast and have no mercy,” said Anonymous in their statement.

Past victims of Anonymous includes governments of Egypt, Iran and Turkey; PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard after they stopped WikiLeaks from using them to receive contributions.

On the subject of site users who were using it for legitimate reasons, Salang said that the blocking of sites could have been avoided if the sites were actively monitoring that the content uploaded were legitimate.

“It is the duty of website owners to clean up their act,” he said.

Salang also maintained that whatever security already in place should be enough to deal with any possible attacks from any parties.

Local Internet users expressed their feelings about MCMC’s directive in an article published on Tuesday, calling it “annoying” and pointing out how this move will prevent them from exchanging large and legitimate files with their clients.

They also brought up the root cause of piracy – the high price tags on original software, DVDs and audio CDs, censorship imposed by the government, the difficulty of purchasing original content even if they wanted to and unreliable Internet service that makes streaming movies and music legitimately an unpleasant experience.

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