I have blogged before about the immoral actions of Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft in their drooling effort to capture the Chinese market. I am torn in the same way I am sure upper management at these Internet behemoths are. On the one hand the very existence of the Internet and access to it is a very powerful contributor to the spread of knowledge and one hopes, inculcates free thinking wherever people have access to it. But why help the Chinese government police their own people?
Would any of these companies have supported apartheid in South Africa? The Nazi government of pre-war Germany? Would they have weighed the moral issues off against the potential for commercial gain?
According to Rebecca MacKinnon's blog:
On New Years Eve, MSN Spaces took down the popular blog written by Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti.
First of all, MSFT, Yahoo! and Google, while receiving a huge share of hits do not define the Internet. So, thankfully, free thinkers can still find places to post their thoughts. I hope Zhao Jing finds a place to park his blog that at least will not be censored by his host. Leave that to the Chinese censors who have quite a task ahead of them.
Kudos to Ms MacKinnon for further blogging the results of her testing of MSN Spaces and discovering the active censorship going on there. Phrases like "Tibet Independence", "Falun Gong" are singled out as forbidden language. I wonder if "overthrow totalitarian state" is also censored?
Question for Microsoft and the people who work there: Are you really from the same country I am from?