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Communism focuses on the benefits to society as a whole instead of any individual; the needs of the society are placed above the good of any one person. Egalitarian and public, communism doesn't grant a right to privacy, a possible threat to the greater good, to any individual unless the privacy provides benefit to society. Privacy is considered essential and important to the citizens and governments of The West. Communism never directly addresses it, as it is a non-issue, clearly falling into an undesired and unnecessary privilege.

Computer and Internet Ages

China, as a communism, carefully monitors its citizens for subversive, controversial, or otherwise unwanted behaviors, such as plotting against the government, or beliefs. With tComputer Privacyhe growth of technology the amount of information to monitor has greatly increased. However, so has the ability of the government to monitor all of these activities with more sophisticated gear. The internet allows for an overall greater flow of information between all people connected. The internet's availability, it's number of users, and the amount of information (much of which is contrary to the views of the state) it contains makes it a prime target for censorship and eavesdropping.

No Privacy Online

China's government closely watches the internet and has maintained a tight grip on activities around it. All users' actions are carefully watched for undesirable or illegal behavior. Chinese officials often observe without acting upon the observations. Instead, a technique of "killing the chicken to frighten the monkeys" is used. The government will come done hard on the most public, loudest, and most subversive contributors. By squashing these especially loud individuals the government can create a fear or at least respect for the authority to keep other people in check. This allows minimal physical action toward keeping people within desired boundaries and maintaining the status quo.

Outside of China people have a certain level of anonymity while posting online. This allows people to freely express their views and ideas. However such a forum for discussion unmoderated could be dangerous to the communist country. There is no guaranteed privacy online in China; data is eavesdropped and intercepted. In fact the opposite is true; all actions taken online will always be directly linked to an individual. By reducing peoples privacy, people know they will be tracked online, China has also helped further censorship. People, for fear of breaking laws, will be more cautious online and police themselves behaving as the government would desire them to. What makes people even more likely to self police is the lack of clear guidelines on what is and isn't allow. The ambiguity of law and the punishments make people more likely to err on the side of caution and stay away from dangerous boundaries. Bloggers, writers, and citizens browsing the web will find themselves contemplating, or acting from instinct, the fairness, correctness, legality, and validity of anything they might want to post online. While worrying what government officials might thinkEye, people need to also worry what other people reading or seeing what they are doing will think as people will report others for offenses.

Under Chinese law all Internet Information Services (IIS), businesses that deal with information, publishing, and e-announcements must maintain records of all use. They must record the outgoing materials, such as the content of the information and the time it was posted. The Internet server providers (ISP) are tasked with the similar job of maintaining records of all their users' traffic. The ISP must have records of when a user visited any information, the domain name(s) visited, the users' account numbers, and even the internet subscribers' telephone numbers. All of the data collected by both the ISS and the ISP must be kept for 60 days and must be supplied to any state law agency upon request.

Eavesdropping Anecdote

All of the eavesdropping can occasionally provide benefits as a direct link to higher ups. Jeffery Barlow, Director of the Gerglund Center for Internet Studies at Pacific University in Oregon, told an anecdote of such a benefit where a professor loudly complained to family members that an insufficient salary would cause him to leave the country in search of other work. Very shortly thereafter the professor was given a raise. Clearly the government is monitoring both phone systems and the internet, it makes no effort to hide this. The lack of privacy can be shocking to those living in western countries where privacy is a guaranteed freedom. In China, with its communist philosophies, the lack of privacy is both accepted and expected.