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This from the San Jose

This from the San Jose Mercury News' tech blog, Good Morning Silicon Valley:

You forgot "monopoly"

"This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech from this item." That's the response you'll get from MSN China if you try searching for words like "freedom" and "democracy," now that Microsoft has banned them from the site. According to the Financial Times, Microsoft removed the words, and others like them, to avoid offending Beijing's political censors who'd clearly prefer them stricken from the language entirely (see "We interrupt this Web log for an important message from state-controlled media"). Microsoft's Robert Scoble defended the move in a post to his Web log. "I have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS forcing the Chinese into a position they don't believe in," Scoble wrote. "I've been to China (as an employee of Winnov about seven years ago). I met with Government officials there. I met with students. I met with professors. They explained their anti-free-speech stance to me and I understand it. I don't agree with it, and I will be happy to explain to anyone the benefits of giving your citizens the right to speak freely, but it's not my place to make their laws. It certainly is not my right to force their hand with business power." Point taken, Robert. But as Rebecca MacKinnon points out, nobody's asking Microsoft to force China to do anything. "The issue is whether Microsoft should be collaborating with the Chinese regime as it builds an increasingly sophisticated system of Internet censorship and control," MacKinnon argues. "Declining to collaborate with this system is not 'forcing the Chinese into a position they don't believe in.' Declining to collaborate would be the only way to show that your stated belief in free speech is more than empty words. If you believe that Chinese people deserve the same respect as Americans, then please put your money where your mouth is."

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jun 15, 2005 at 12:14 PM


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