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Print 41 comment(s) - last by fallacies.. on Feb 19 at 3:51 PM

Now that the US government is getting involved, it has some people wondering why any government is involved in the first place

Everyone has something to say about privacy issues and whether or not Yahoo and Google should censor material for the Chinese government.  Earlier today, Chinese officials argued that it has the right to police the Internet in any way that it deems appropriate for the citizens of China.  This statement comes a day after four companies spoke in front of Congress on charges that blame the companies for helping limit free speech in return for market access.      

Yahoo, Google, Cisco Systems, and Microsoft were recently grilled at a congressional hearing about human-rights violations and censorship because of various decisions made by each company.  It has been well known that China is notorious for censoring and arresting users that don't abide by the strict rules that the government has put in place.  Specifically, Google is under fire from critics for bowing down and agreeing to censor content so the company is allowed to do business in China.  Microsoft is blamed for removing a blog that was too critical of the government.  Yahoo allegedly gave information to the government which led to a crackdown on Chinese citizens and journalists.   

With some analysts speculating that the number of Internet search users in China may increase from 100 million to 187 million people by 2007, we should become acclimated to the possibility that more companies will do whatever the Chinese government wishes in return for open market access.



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WTF?
By ProviaFan on 2/16/2006 7:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
Google's actions might or might not be rationalized, but that Yahoo actively helped get people arrested for something that is not a crime at all is beyond belief, and entirely unacceptable.




RE: WTF?
By dmcanally on 2/16/2006 7:55:07 PM , Rating: 1
I may be wrong here… you have no place or right to tell another government/country what is right or wrong. If you don’t like it, don’t go live in or visit China. If a Chinese citizen doesn’t like it, they can leave.


RE: WTF?
By PandaBear on 2/16/2006 8:01:12 PM , Rating: 3
You sir, are a dumb f*** that has never lived in a suppressed country. People can't just leave and be an illegal immigrant somewhere else, it is not that simple.

My family was lucky enough to leave, but many of our relatives aren't.


RE: WTF?
By Ard on 2/16/2006 10:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, but he's right to a point and you're a "dumbfuck" for calling him a "dumbfuck". The problem with America and the majority of Americans is that they can believe they can interject their own cultural views and dictate the social and political norms of another country. Sorry, but the world doesn't work that way.

What we believe is right and wrong pertains to us and us only. Do I agree with China's policies? Hell no. I think blatant censorship and arrests for political "disobedience" are draconian and smack in the face of liberty. However, it's not my place to decide that China's rights to privacy and freedom of speech are wrong.

The simple fact of the matter is this: China is a sovereign nation and has every right to decide what their citizens can and cannot view. Companies can either accept that view and do business or try to make a point about basic freedoms and not do business. Somehow I think companies care more about money than making a political statement about China.


RE: WTF?
By Jedix123 on 2/16/2006 10:57:49 PM , Rating: 2
China is a soverign state that is ruled by a few powerful and sometimes corrupt head who has little right to decide what their citizens can and cannot view.

Sorry I just couldn't believe your statement having lived in China and been a citizen.


RE: WTF?
By epadilla19 on 2/17/06, Rating: 0
RE: WTF?
By dmcanally on 2/17/2006 2:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
I may be an asshole for saying this, but it doesn’t seem that Chinese citizens are too interested in freedom or they would have had a revolution by now. I guess I just think that the only people that deserve freedom and liberty are the ones that are willing to fight and die for it. I am sorry if that hurts your feelings.

America had a revolution over a tax being to high. You are going to tell me that the chinese aren't willing to revolt over being enslaved?


RE: WTF?
By Jedix123 on 2/17/2006 7:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
The national economy is thundering ahead at an unprecedented growth rate several times that of the US, there is cheap medical care so you don't have to pay an arm and a leg to see the doctor, and with only knifes at their side, do you really think there's going to be an uprising?


RE: WTF?
By Plasmoid on 2/16/2006 8:07:47 PM , Rating: 3
But then its not easy to leave China.

Its not like the Chinese had much choice in their current form of goverment so i dont think its very nice to just stand back completly and ignore things.

As regards censorship as a whole, thats something we in the so called west are used to but dont know it. Google.fr is censored so nazi searches are more in line with what the goverment wanted. Newspapers cant actually print anything the want... just anything within reason.

For everything that is being brought up over the Chinese goverment on the internet you can fraw pretty glaring parallels with other western goverments. Its not like google isent being forced to turn over search data to the US goverment, and microsoft already has. As to wheter arrests coem from them i would say its quite likely.

The real problem I have is not with what the Chinese goverment is going, after all the internet is just a new form of media and its freedom leads to many problems. My problem, and I think the real problem, is that the laws being applied by Chinese govermentare morally wrong. But then, morals have always varied from country to country.


RE: WTF?
By dmcanally on 2/17/2006 2:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
It is either live as a slave or die free. Out of those options I will die free.


RE: WTF?
By Griswold on 2/17/2006 9:23:14 AM , Rating: 2
It might be not wrong where we live, but it is wrong in china and thats all that matters. With that said, I dont approve their business "methods".


RE: WTF?
By epadilla19 on 2/17/2006 10:35:21 AM , Rating: 2
"It might be not wrong where we live, but it is wrong in china and thats all that matters."

No, its not allowed by the current communist regime controlling(not leading) china. This government is not democratic, and does not allow its people full access to knowledge of the world it exists in, so we do not know that this is whta the chinese people want. It is also for this reason that chinas governemtn poses a threat to its own people, and the whole world. This is a crime against humanity, not just the chinese poeple.


wtf is US doing?
By NerV04 on 2/16/2006 7:48:33 PM , Rating: 1
i think the US should really stop meddling with other countries buisness. If china wants to prohibit its citizens from seeing something, its thier choice. Also what companies do in other countries should be the companies own decision i beleive. Not all countries is like america. So leave them be!




RE: wtf is US doing?
By rudy on 2/16/2006 8:01:33 PM , Rating: 3
I think you should stop meddling in the USAs business, if the USA wants to punish a company for something its thier choice, Also what the US government does with its companies is thier own decision. The US is not like all other countries, so leave them be!


RE: wtf is US doing?
By latrosicarius on 2/16/2006 8:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
No, it's not the US's place to approve or disapprove of what INTERNATIONAL companies are doing. Only the CHINESE corporate components is bending to China's whims.

Now, I'm all for the US of A, and I think China is a dumbf*** but still, our government should not be involved in essentially a foreign company's affairs. If we have a problem with what China is doing, then we should confront their GOVERNMENT face to face... not be like "hey U.S. Google, make your China side do what we say or we will fine you b/c we are too pus*** to yell at China ourselves."


RE: wtf is US doing?
By Griswold on 2/17/2006 9:35:55 AM , Rating: 2
International companies? Foreign companies? You do realize that all the listed corporations have their world HQ's inside the USA, do you? The vast majority of their money is in the US as well as their employees. So if you want to bite them, bite them where it hurts.


RE: wtf is US doing?
By Griswold on 2/17/2006 9:32:33 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. I dont like how china is handling the situation. Theres nothing I can do about it besides voicing my opinion. But I also dont like how these companies suck up to the chinese government only to cash in on the big boom over there - this is where we, at least you americans, can do something and better damn well do so.

They grew big on our collective back because we live in a so called free part of the world - and now they help a regime to suppress their citizen only to grow even bigger - this feels like a slap to the face and I'm not even a US citizen.

Your congress should turn up the heat on them and grill em some more, so the media wont drop this topic too fast. Bad PR is the best pressure you can put on corporate giants.


Leave them alone
By bl4ck54bb4th on 2/16/2006 8:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
The issue here is that the US government has no right to punish corporations for their completely legal actions overseas. The Chinese government wants censorship, so there is nothing wrong with providing it for them. The US government has no jurisdiction over the people of China, so unless US corporations are breaking Chinese laws, I don't see the need for any punishment. We may not agree with China's politics, but our government has no right to interfere -- this is a question of the US government overstepping its bounds.




RE: Leave them alone
By qwertynerd on 2/16/2006 10:22:03 PM , Rating: 3
BTW, I forgot to mention that I'm was happily surprised to hear that these corporations were getting grilled by the US Congress. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all.

Ignoring the Chinese goverment = Leaving them alone


RE: Leave them alone
By Xenoterranos on 2/17/2006 12:52:07 AM , Rating: 2
failure to act whilst staring corruption and immorality in the face can be, and ususaly is, a greater crime that said cprruption and immorality.


2nd
By tjr508 on 2/17/2006 4:05:20 AM , Rating: 3
Again, why is any government getting involved with internet content? This is just the chance for a bunch of congressmen to sound like heros by shouting out against sensorship while at the same time expanding the government's overall reach on such issues.

The only sensorship i am in favor of is that i wish MCI and ATT would get together to find a way to block most government(all governments included) propoganda, leaving the people with free thought.

This still doesnt mean we have to right to stick our noses in china's business. If i owned a company that could reach 187million customers, hell i would sensor all objectional material and then hire 5000 people to write stories about how good of a place china is to be.


How dare they
By BladeVenom on 2/17/2006 9:21:55 AM , Rating: 2
How dare they censor the internet with obscenity laws and the DMCA. Oh wait, that's the USA that does that.




RE: How dare they
By epadilla19 on 2/17/2006 10:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
The USA has always, and will always have, problems with interpretations of the ideals it was founded on, hell you can be prosecuted by a state government for excercising consitutional rights.

Bill of rights #1 the right to the pursuit of happiness, violated daily. It takes up more than half of ALL ARRESTS MADE!

But enough of our commys, were talking about china...


RE: How dare they
By epadilla19 on 2/17/2006 10:45:26 AM , Rating: 2
Also forgot, obscenities are not needed to convey ideas, or political questioning of a given government.

Denial of these things is trivial at best, especially compared to china keeping its people in the dark, which allows the chinese maintain its ROGUE NUCLEAR THREAT TO THE ENTIRE WORLD!

If this isnt reason for UN economic sanctions(think absolute cutoff), I dont know what is...


RE: How dare they
By vxmqzz on 2/17/2006 3:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
Most sites blocked by google are anti-Chinese government organizations, extremenists, porn sites. And today's china is not 40 years ago, culture revolution is a past. Although the government is run by a communist party, a lot of things are just like USA. Compared to the past, people are enjoying more freedom now, part of this is due the internet. I think China is making progress. Remember that China has a 2 thousand year tradition of dictation, it takes time. One more thing, when talking about another country, we'd better compare the current situation to the past of that country, then compare it to other countries.


RE: How dare they
By Christopher1 on 2/18/2006 7:11:53 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, no they don't have a 2,000 year history of dictatorship. In China, the Emperor was ALWAYS held in check by the people who ran the prefectures, if they didn't like something he was doing, it didn't get done.
If he pushed, he had a good chance of being killed and having someone else ascend to the throne.

China has actually gotten WORSE for human rights in the past few years, because everyone is afraid of pushing them for fear of losing their investments in that country.
Look at the re-writing of history they are trying to do with the Tienanamen square thing (excuse any misspelling).
They are trying to rewrite Chinese history to say it never happpened, and that they didn't kill a bunch of helpless people.


Crazy
By smokenjoe on 2/16/2006 7:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yahoo gives up info leading to arrests but Google gets the brunt of the fire just because they are bigger? That isnt right. We dont have to attack someone just because they are growing.




RE: Crazy
By blobguy on 2/17/2006 3:37:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yahoo, Google, Cisco Systems, and Microsoft were recently GRILLED at a congressional hearing


I think I'll have my Yahoo well done, thank you very much!!!

Hopefully Kosmix will increase their number of covered topics and will be out of Beta soon. The few narrow Topics that they do offer ATM have returned very relevant results.


RE: Crazy
By blobguy on 2/17/2006 3:41:32 AM , Rating: 2
Uh Yeah, that last sentence could have been phrased a little better - Edit Button Puhhhhlease!


RE: Crazy
By Griswold on 2/17/2006 9:21:37 AM , Rating: 2
Do you really think you, me or the news dudes have all the relevant info on their dirty laundry?


Resistance is futile
By qwertynerd on 2/16/2006 10:18:25 PM , Rating: 3
#1 - Globalization on all fronts is inevitable. Anyone who doubts this is either in denial or has never been on the Internet recently.

#2 - If China wants to censor the Internet, great. It's not the US's job to censor (government and corporations, inclusive). I know it's easier said than done in reality, however we need to tell China to screw off (in more tactful terms, of course) and "batten down" their firewalls and content filters. We (the US) are selling our souls and fundamental values of freedom by buckling to profit and investment concerns (a very similar domestic and alarming concern unto itself in the US, especially considering very recent US history).

#3 - Look at China's history since the 1850's - chock full of strife, human rights violations (yes, much more than the US of perfect A), and revolution. Approx. 1.2 billion people will not and cannot be wrong in the long run.

If the Chinese government does not soon learn from their past mistakes, they will soon be overthrown, that is unless the US ends up selling out completely and supporting them. It's no secret that billions of US $ have already been invested in China with increasing amounts following every day. Could it be the ultra-rich executives of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft leading this charge? (Hmmmm . . . if you had billions of $ in your bank account, what would you do with that money?) This is what we should be terrified of happening ultimately, for our sake and for the sake of the Chinese people.

BTW, the last paragraph of the article greatly saddens and scares me the most. Reread it a few times if you don't catch my drift.




RE: Resistance is futile
By tjr508 on 2/17/2006 5:09:27 AM , Rating: 2
Just how are "we" as a nation selling our soles and values?

Last time I checked, google and the US government were two separate entities.

Google's job is to make money. China will have over a quarter million internet users in a couple years. Google will do what it takes to reach those quarter million people simple as that.

I know recent events make this hard to believe (unless they really are for our safety), but globalization is not exactly a national value as far as me and others are concerned.

Finally, there is no way in hell China will be overthrown without the world coming to an abrupt end as we know it. Their government is changing its ways quick quickly in the scope of things. Freedom is still a new concept to the government there and they must take it step by step. I'm sorry you are not going to get that bloody revolution you are calling for.


RE: Resistance is futile
By epadilla19 on 2/17/2006 10:39:10 AM , Rating: 2
"Finally, there is no way in hell China will be overthrown without the world coming to an abrupt end as we know it. Their government is changing its ways quick quickly in the scope of things. Freedom is still a new concept to the government there and they must take it step by step. I'm sorry you are not going to get that bloody revolution you are calling for."

If anything other than absolute government control is instituted than it is being overthrown, as it is the foundation for communism. No one called for a revolution, but rather warned of one. Read before you respond.


Too many people just don't understand....
By Targon on 2/17/2006 1:23:37 PM , Rating: 3
A company is expected to uphold the laws of the countries they do business in. If the US government doesn't want Google to do business in China, then the US government should also have all companies stop doing business with China, and accept the fallout from that policy.

So, Google decided to follow the laws set by the Chinese government. It's the price of doing business in China, and no one should question that. If you don't like China, then you should apply equal pressure on EVERY company that does business in China, including manufacturing, and those importing goods from China.

Personally, I dislike the Chinese government and their policies, but I can't fault Google for not breaking the law while in China. My personal feelings don't get in the way of understanding the reality of what's going on over there in this case.




RE: Too many people just don't understand....
By glennpratt on 2/19/2006 12:01:03 PM , Rating: 2
There is one specific reason for this inquiry: censorship. Other companies don't do that so there is no "equal pressure" to apply. The government won't be cracking down on just google if they decide to do something, they will simply make a law banning the export of censorsing technologies and services to oppressive governments. How a law like that would be worded, I don't know.


By fallacies on 2/19/2006 3:51:40 PM , Rating: 2
Other companies *have* been doing the same thing Google has where China is concerned. Google just happened to be put into the limelight because of its refusal to comply with US demands in the earlier weeks.

In the West, China is understood to be:
a) an evil Communist regime
b) a country that consistently engages in human rights violations
c) a government that actively controls the thoughts of its citizens without regard for their freedom of expression and other "inalienable rights"

The first is entirely false. It is a socialist nation with a tendency toward nationalism.
The fact regarding the second is that human rights violations have far decreased since the turnover of power to the younger government officials in the mid-90's. Nowadays, violent incidents occur on a frequency that is _less_ than what is caused by the United States.
The third is true. However, the government *does* in fact care for its people and grants them an enormous amount of aid. They are *not* the oppressed populace that the West paints them to be.

I would suggest that when reporting is done on China in the media, there are agendas being executed that are not so noble as ensuring the spread of democracy around the globe. I would also suggest that those expatriot Chinese who do not view China in a favorable light are judging China according to the ideologies they have internalized since leaving the country.

The Chinese Communist Party is not composed of "nice" people. They have committed acts that could be truly considered horrific against their own nation, slaughtering innocents in ways that would make those Japanese soldiers from the Nanking Massacre squirm; they have killed more Chinese than the Japanese have. Some of them are corrupt, and care only for their own benefit.

This, however, does not mean that the Chinese Communist Party as it currently exists is not predominantly interested in the improvement of the nation. The Chinese people have gained much from their efforts, and will continue to do so in the next decade. It doesn't need American imperialism to improve it right now, and it never shall. It has sufferred long enough from Westerners that believe that have the right to impose their views and interests -- the Opium War should never happen again.


....
By alphaaa on 2/16/2006 11:32:20 PM , Rating: 2
china's running its own country, none of our business.




RE: ....
By Griswold on 2/17/2006 9:39:26 AM , Rating: 2
But "our" corporations should not help them. If they want to censor the internet, let them have it their way, but not with the help from companies that wouldnt even exist under a chinese-like regime.


Double standard
By vxmqzz on 2/16/2006 10:52:40 PM , Rating: 3
well, it seems everything is chancged when it comes to China. US gov argues that wiretapping is legal while blaming China for censoring the internet.




Proxies?
By xtknight on 2/16/2006 11:54:00 PM , Rating: 3
I wonder when the Chinese people will start using proxies to get by this crap. :P




By qwertynerd on 2/16/2006 10:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
When you finally begin to understand that US corporations, their massive wealth, and their associated bribes (err . . lobbying) are the puppeteers in control of the US government, you might start to understand the motivations involved in this debate more deeply. Yes, one unfortunate side effect of capitalism is that most decisions come down to how they affect the bottom line ($ profit, for the layman). No system is perfect. Does anyone remember Rome and see any parallels recently in the US?




"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997











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