Pavlos (pavlos) wrote,

  • Mood:

Censoring the what?

What is this non-issue that has grabbed the headlines about major US-based internet companies "co-operating with China" to "censor the internet"? Briefly Google, Cisco, Microsoft and Yahoo have been called into some kind of US government hearing because their Chinese operations have allegedly adapted their products or otherwise co-operated with the Chinese authorities to let them control what internet users in China can and cannot see. Here's a reasonable news story:

This is, like, Shoo! Shoo! Bad internet companies! You have allowed your IT products, which are supposed to be progressive and democratic, to be used by your oppressive regime customer to curb their subjects freedom of information. Stop it! Do like the defense companies, whose products are correctly used by their numerous oppressive regime customers to murder, torture, and otherwise suppress their subjects freedom of existence. Or you could take advantage of the oppressive regime's service of oppressing the local workforce, like the extracting and sweatshop companies do. But perverting IT products to censor internet content is bad, bad, bad!

So, I don't feel I know enough about the story to guess what is actually going on. I just don't believe the US congress has been struck by a sudden love of democracy abroad. So please enlighten me, what are they actually trying to achieve with this?

What is the agenda of the US congressional hearing on IT companies "co-operating with China to censor the internet"?

What it claims. They really want to promote democracy in China.
Geo-politics. The US government knows its point of view dominates the internet and wants to demolish a 1bn-people castle that thinks differently.
Home politics. It's a misdirection from some other practice of the IT industry such as spying at home, or some broader issue.
An attempt to take control of Chinese internet infrastructure away from the Chinese government and back to the West
An attempt to open up a discussion of Chinese internet with the aim of policing intellectual property rights.
The beginnings of some kind of sanction against China, for example to worsen its access to IT and the internet.
Some kind of trade/opium war. The US wants to sell porn, gambling or some other such good to China.
It's all about cabbages. The Chinese love them, so do the Americans, and there just aren't enough for everybody.

  • On Myth

    Hey! I'm mostly living in my shell these days, but here's a long-overdue essay from my other blog. Paul and Alison in particular have been formative…

  • Chomsky on Gaza 2009

    Everyone should read Chomsky's excellent article on Gaza 2009. Usually, Chomsky on the…

  • New blog

    Hi! This is just to let you know that I exist, although I don't really feel that blogging about my life is very interesting any more. I still live…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 1 comment