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On Wednesday Republicans and Democrats in Congress rebuked Microsoft for participating in Chinese censorship. Bill Gates, company founder defends the decision, stating, "You've got to decide. Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you're in, or not?"

Chinese people show their appreciation for Google's decision to stand up to their government's censorship.  (Source: Guardian UK)
Rep. Smith, R-N.J.:"They [Microsoft] need to get on the right side of human rights rather than enabling tyranny, which they're doing right now."

There has been much talk about Google's decision to pull out of China while Microsoft has remained directly complicit in Chinese internet censorship.  Today a bipartisan U.S. Congressional panel praised Google's actions, while admonishing Microsoft.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D warned, "China wants to participate in the marketplace of goods but keep the marketplace of ideas outside their country.  Only when China respects human rights and allows the free flow of ideas ... only then will they be treated as a full member of the international community."

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. praised Google, commenting that the company's decision to uncensor its Chinese search was "a remarkable, historic and welcomed action."

GoDaddy, the popular domain registration service, also was praised by Rep. Smith for pulling out of China due to privacy violations.  Microsoft, however, received a rebuke from the Representative.  He stated, "They [Microsoft] need to get on the right side of human rights rather than enabling tyranny, which they're doing right now."

Microsoft insists it is merely following the local law.  A company statement read, "We appreciate that different companies may make different decisions based on their own experiences and views.  At Microsoft we remain committed to advancing free expression through active engagement in over 100 countries, even as we comply with the laws in every country in which we operate."

The statement echoes the words of Microsoft former CEO, co-founder, and renowned philanthropist Bill Gates, who in January remarked, "You've got to decide.  Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you're in, or not?"

China agrees.  Its China's State Council Information Office comments, "Foreign companies need to abide by China's laws when they operate in China.  Google violated it's promise."

The issue is made more complex by the fact that Google has in the past censored search results in other countries, such as Thailand, Turkey, France [see the Wikipedia page on Google's past censorship for more info].  Google has made no suggestion that it will reject censorship in the future.  Nonetheless, its uncensoring of its Chinese search is perhaps the highest profile example of defiance against online censorship in terms of number of people affected.

Microsoft, on the other hand, says it is opposed to Chinese censorship, but continues to participate in it.  It enjoys a wonderful opportunity to capture more of China's close to 400 million internet users with Google out of the picture

A new law may make it more embarrassing for Microsoft to stay this course.  The Global Online Freedom Act, a bipartisan initiative pending in Congress, would force U.S. firms to disclose what materials they are censoring in foreign nations -- including China -- in effect airing search firms' dirty laundry to the public.

Back in China, the government imposed backlash against Google picked up in earnest with China Unicom and other business officially giving the Google search engine the boot.  China Unicom, the nation's second largest carrier, did not announce and immediate replacement.  It has been speculated that it may stop selling Android handsets or at least stop releasing new models, however, those claims have yet to be validated.  It seems clear, however, that the Chinese government is infuriated and Google will likely face more repercussions in coming weeks.

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RE: Why pile on Microsoft?
By Lerianis on 3/28/2010 9:39:49 PM , Rating: -1
Wrong. The fact is that we have had the same level of education as numerous other countries for many years. It's just that in the past 10-20 years, we have gone from 'children should have time to play and be children' to 'children must be learning every single second of every single day....... 25/7!'

Yes, I put 25/7 there to make a point, in that the real issue is that OTHER countries are pushing too hard on children to 'learn, learn, learn' and 'pass the test, pass the test, pass the test' to the exclusion of FUN in their lives.

And frankly, most times when I have seen children talking back to their parents.... their parents DESERVE to be talked back to, because what the parents are saying doesn't make ONE LICK OF SENSE!
Oh, and if parents DID try to slap a child across the face.... then they deserve to be put in jail, because if you have to resort to physical violence to prove a point, you HAVE NO POINT!

No, to children today, life is not 'one big party'.... they are simply REJECTING the ideal that some idiots like you have that 'work, work, work, work, work' is the ONLY thing that is important in life, and who allow businesses and other to take advantage of them by turning them into wage slaves.

RE: Why pile on Microsoft?
By Hieyeck on 3/29/2010 3:39:52 PM , Rating: 3
Thanks for proving my point: there are only 23.98 (practically rounded off to 24) hours in a day, not 25. You are exactly the problem. The product of parents from a nanny-state, raised by a generation too high to raise their own kids.

My immigrant parents instilled in me those values from "OTHER" countries. The one impressed upon me most was focus. Work is work, so get the f*** to work. When work's over, work's over - enjoy your family and friends and tell work to screw off (unless they come to me with delicious overtime, but even then there's a limit). Multi-tasking has been proven ineffective, so why the hell are you trying to make work fun and make fun work? Focus your life. Of course, that's just me. But it also got me a job ahead of the curve, because when my boss hired me to do 8 hours a day, she knew she was getting a more effective 8 hours than the next guy over busy sipping his latte and chatting up the hot assistant in marketing.

Frankly, I prefer nanny-parents over nanny-state. I prefer them being able to customise the parenting to suit my needs. I prefer that when I could've royally pissed of some stranger if I weren't some snot-nosed kid, that they took me aside and made sure I knew it, so I didn't find out the hard way later in life and get stabbed or shot. Just sayin' I prefer being slightly bruised over seriuosly maimed or dead. I prefer them doing their jobs and the state staying out of it.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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