Wednesday, June 22, 2005

CORPORATE CENSORS

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Bill Gates: "Only I get free speech, everyone else follows orders."

The big news is, China's government censors what people read and write online. The internet, unlike here in America, isn't a free floating forum filled with blogs and alternate news services in China. How does the Chinese government do this?

Simple. They ask corporate America to censor the Chinese. Corporate America says, "Absolutely!" From USA Today:
Part of the Internet's magic is the freedom it bestows to travel as far as your mind can take you. But not if you're in China, where the totalitarian government is leery of the Internet and hostile to the merest mention of such ideas as freedom.
No surprise there. What is a shock is that several huge U.S. companies are helping China muzzle free expression.

Software giant Microsoft has agreed to block certain words — democracy, freedom and human rights among them — by users on parts of its new Chinese Internet portal. According to news reports, the words trigger this message: "This item should not contain forbidden speech, such as profanity."

Freedom, profane?

What's actually profane is a company that built its fortune on the freedom provided by the American system helping a repressive regime censor such ideas. Sadder still is that Microsoft has company among other U.S. tech concerns that should know better:

• Yahoo China signed a pledge of "self-discipline" in 2002, vowing to refrain from posting "pernicious information that may jeopardize state security."

• Google launched a news search engine in China last year, but searchers in China get a different list of news links than someone doing a similar search in the USA. Missing links include the BBC and Voice of America, which carry reports not to China's liking.
What is really funny is, Voice of America now comes out of communist China's large city, Hong Kong! The fact that American coporate interests are actively assisting China in muzzling people while at the same time, at home, yelling with Bush about spreading democracy and freedom, is sad. And revealing. They would dearly love to impose this sort of control here at home. China is a great experiment for them. The coding tools used to muzzle the Chinese can easily be imposed here in America. The fact that Bill Gates OKed this and Yahoo smiled and did it says volumes about their true goals and desires.

Google, now that it is on the stock register, happily altered their search engines to cut out huge swaths of the internet. So if you google "freedom and democracy for China" in China, you get "Big Google is Watching You!".
The importance of this should not be underestimated. The Internet and capitalism were supposed to jump-start democracy in former communist regimes. These actions suggest a different future: One in which companies and dictators share benefits in suppressing democratic communications.

The companies offer terse explanations.

A Google spokesman says it has removed sources that wouldn't be accessible to users in China anyway to create "the best possible news search experience." Microsoft and Yahoo spokesmen say companies must obey laws and regulations of the countries where they do business.
I salute the editorial writers for USA Today. They are spot on! Wow. Microsoft and Yahoo and Google could tell the Chinese overlords to take a hike. Then they don't make any money, maybe, but they should be willing to make sacrifices for freedom and democracy! This is what is supposed to make us noble and great, guys! But then, Ford and other companies happily did business with Nazi Germany right up until Pearl Harbor. The Bushes continued even after Germany declared war on America.

From the Channel Register, an obscure source:
Microsoft wasted no time after tying up the acquisition of email security firm Sybari Software on Wednesday before axing sales of the latter's line of anti-virus products for Unix and Linux servers.
Post acquisition, Syabri becomes a Microsoft subsidiary focusing on marketing anti-virus and anti-spam protection for Microsoft messaging and collaboration servers. It will continue to market Sybari's Lotus Domino products but will not sell Antigen versions for Unix and Linux. Microsoft said it plans to continue to support Sybari products under existing pricing and licensing terms and support existing users on non-Windows platforms.
Near monopoly, Microsoft, now proud part owner of the American government, has been on the rampage trying to make life miserable for people who have escaped Microsoft's miserable little monoworld. Craftily, they buy up companies serving other systems and then let it rot or openly strangle them. This is to reduce choice for Microsoft's bottom line won't grow effortlessly if they actually have to compete with other, better systems. No one is stopping this force and eventually, the plan is to make us all use one system that then works with whoever the dictator of America is, to prevent us from using the internet and our computers to evade government scrutiny, control and information flows.

They repeatedly have talked about how to control us bloggers. You can bet, they are very anxious to set this system up.
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