Proving once again that Bill Gates' claim that "What's good for Microsoft is good for America" holds as much water as a window(s) screen, Microsoft has signed on to help Communist China stifle free speech and censor information:
Users of Microsoft's new China-based Internet portal have been blocked from using the words "democracy", "freedom" and "human rights" in an apparent move by the US software giant to appease Beijing.
Other words that could not be used on Microsoft's free online blog service MSN Spaces include "Taiwan independence" and "demonstration".
For many Chinese websites, such content also includes news stories that the government considers unfavorable or does not want published.
New regulations issued in March now require that all China-based websites be formally registered with the government by the end of June or be shut down by Internet police.
Microsoft formed its portal joint venture with China's state-funded Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd (SAIL) last month to launch the MSN China web portal.
Microsoft is not the only international tech company to comply with China's stringent Internet rules.
Yahoo! and Google -- the two most popular Internet search engines -- have already been criticized for cooperating with the Chinese government to censor the Internet.
The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) earlier said it "deplores the irresponsible policies of United States Internet firms Yahoo! and Google in bowing directly and indirectly to Chinese government demands for censorship".
It has called on the United States to apply the principles of its Global Internet Freedom Act on its private sector's activities in "some of the world's most repressive regimes".
Well well well, here we are with the American corporation collaborating with a Communist dictatorship, and a French News Organization championing freedom. Kind of takes the self-righteous ring out of a sanctimonious basket of "freedom fries," now doesn't it? I'd like the wingnuts who think anything that multinational corporations do is, um, heavenly to please explain how playing along with a dictatorship's efforts to oppress 1.2 billion people is good for America in any way whatsoever.
Is this "freedom on the march"?
More on censoring the 'net by corporations eager for dictatorship dollars:
- Censorship in Saudi Arabia and China
- Harvard study on sites blocked by censoring programs
- Taipei Times on Yahoo censorship of the 'net in China
- Internet News on MSN and Yahoo censorship in China
- WebPro News on Google and Yahoo censorship on behalf of China's government
- Article on Google's pact with China -- It is interesting to note that Google spent 10 million dollars investing in Baidu last summer.... Chinese media, Financial Times, AP, and Reuters now report that Baidu is planning an IPO on NYSE or NASDAQ later this year.
- Site dedicated to observing China's internet practices
- The Guardian on the censorship for China by MSN and others -- Many taboo words are predictable, such as "Taiwanese independence", "Tibet", "Dalai Lama", "Falun Gong", "terrorism" and "massacre".....The word "demonstration" is taboo, but "protest" is all right; "democracy" is forbidden, but "anarchy" and "revolution" are acceptable. On MSN Space, Chinese bloggers cannot use the name of their own president, but can comment on Tony Blair. "Tiananmen" cannot be mentioned. A Microsoft spokesman said the restrictions were the price the company had to pay to spread the positive benefits of blogs and online messaging. Better to pretend there's free speech than to lose out on a market of 1.2 billion customers, right?
- Google-Watch piece featuring an excerpt of a Playboy interview with Google's Larry Page and Sergei Brin -- Sometimes the "Don't be evil" policy leads to many discussions about what exactly is evil. Yeah, you guys get to define "evil," so you got me there.
- A Human Rights Watch piece on western corporations' reluctance to resist Chinese censorship -- Companies that do business in China have an opportunity to play a proactive role in opening space for Chinese citizens to express themselves freely. Unfortunately, Yahoo!, along with a number of Chinese internet businesses and research institutes, has voluntarily signed a public pledge on "self-discipline" in China that commits the company to investigate and block websites based on their content. We believe that signatories to that pledge risk making themselves partners in violations of freedom of expression. If they are search engines, they also risk undermining the power and reputation of their product.
The English major in me also notes the appalling punctuation used consistently by these news organizations. Who told them that commas went outside of quotation marks? Where's a pandybat when you need one?