Sunday, January 15, 2006

China and the Internet

Today's New York Times has a good overview of China's attempts to censor the Internet, and the complicity of American companies such as Microsoft in this effort:

IT wasn't so long ago that the Internet was seen as a trap for China. The country desperately needed to foster economic growth, and in the early 1990's much of the globe was plugging itself in.

Sooner or later, the thinking went, China would have to plug into the Web, too, and however efficiently its leaders might have controlled information in the old days, they would be no match for this new democratic beast, decentralized and crackling with opinion and information from the four corners of the earth.

Things didn't exactly turn out that way.

The following passage best expresses my views on this issue:

"When is 'the long run'?" said Julien Pain, head of the Internet desk at Reporters Without Borders, which tracks censorship around the world. "Because I don't see the impact of Microsoft over there. The situation is not improving. Microsoft is behaving just as a Chinese company in China would."


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