July 22, 2005

US Help for China's Internet Filtering

Cisco's sale of networking equipment used to filter Chinese internet traffic has drawn some well justified attention recently (Microsoft's activities with the Chinese government has also drawn attention):

  • Rebecca MacKinnon
    Cisco argues that if they don't do this business, their competitors will. And that will be bad for U.S. jobs. Well, as I've said before, at the end of the day either we believe that the ideals of "freedom" and "democracy" mean something, and are worth sacrificing short-term profit so that more people around the world have a chance of benefiting from them, or we don't. Cisco clearly doesn't. This is an insult to the thousands of Americans - public servants, men and women in uniform, journalists and others - who risk their lives daily in far-flung corners of the globe for the sake of these ideals.
  • Anne Applebaum:
    Without question, China's Internet filtering regime is "the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world," in the words of a recent report by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The system involves the censorship of Web logs, search engines, chat rooms and e-mail by "thousands of public and private personnel." It also involves Microsoft Inc., as Chinese bloggers discovered last month. Since early June, Chinese bloggers who post messages containing a forbidden word -- "Dalai Lama," for example, or "democracy" -- receive a warning: "This message contains a banned expression, please delete." It seems Microsoft has altered the Chinese version of its blog tool, MSN Spaces, at the behest of Chinese government. Bill Gates, so eloquent on the subject of African poverty, is less worried about Chinese free speech.
UPDATE: Rebecca comments on a recent Newsweek story that fails to mention her 9 years of experience in China, among other items.

Posted by James Zellmer at July 22, 2005 12:01 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Electronic Rights | Politics | Technology