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Censorship Businesses Software

Western Software Used to Support Censorship 301

Posted by Zonk
from the two-sides-of-a-coin dept.
just_another_sean writes "The NYT has an interesting summary of a study done by the OpenNet Initiative about Western software companies developing and profiting from censorship and Internet filtering tools used by repressive regimes. This particular study focuses on censorship in Myanmar, a country that is currently under American sanctions. Are these software companies simply selling a product and should not be concerned with how it is used or are they contributing to the problems of these repressive regimes?"
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Western Software Used to Support Censorship

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  • by Manip (656104) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:43AM (#13789646)
    What we should do is restrict these evil companies from selling such software, or 'censor' the software companies if you like... That would solve the problem and the world would be a more free and happy place.
    • it would appear fortinet is indirectly violating sanctions/embargos on myanmar. perhaps it's time to hold them liable -- then they might bother to actually clean up their reseller network.
    • I agree that we can not (or should not) make the selling of any software illegal (although we have done it before, just ask the PGP guy). I think a company like this should be publicly shamed. It should be presented to the public that they are cooperating with these regimes in assisting in the enslavement of their people.
      • Guess we should shame Linus for creating software that lots of oppressive regimes use.
        • That's completely different, and you know it. This is software specifically created for the purpose of denying information in a controlled manner. The issue isn't whether the software is being used by regimes we dislike, it's the purpose of said software, which is a horse of a different color.

          That said, I'm not sure trade embargoes help anything, though I do agree with another poster who suggested a public shaming of these companies. People of conscience wouldn't support American companies building tortur

          • People of conscience wouldn't support American companies building torture devices or weapons for oppressive regimes, but we'll turn a blind eye to the censorship of their people? Why is that?

            So as to avoid a flamewar, I'll forbear mentioning my ideas as to the why, but I would like to point out that a not insignificant number of Americans not only turn a blind eye, but actively support the censorship of their own people; why should we expect them to be more charitable towards others?
          • People of conscience wouldn't support American companies building torture devices or weapons for oppressive regimes,

            There is a similar situation in the UK, with a company that is making the cuffs that are used in Guantanamo Bay. These cuffs are widely regarded as instruments of torture, and there are campaigners trying to get the company to stop making them.
          • What if there isn't such a distinct line of software designed to assist oppressive regisems and software designed to be useful?

            What if I sell software designed to filter web pages based on content (i.e. squidguard)? What if Myannmar (sic) buys the software and uses it to filter web pages containing information critical of the current leadership?

      • by k3s (920880)
        Would it be better if the Repressive Regimes used Open Source Software?

        It would be easy for them to modify existing application to censor.
      • How is public censorship more acceptable then government censorship?

        I am not saying I support what these companies are doing, but bully censoring is still censoring...

        Slashdot: Food for Thought, Stuff that Incites

        • How is public censorship more acceptable then government censorship?

          One (public "censorship") is an exercising of rights, whereas the other (censorship) is a denial of rights. It's more acceptable in the same way that freedom is more acceptable than slavery.

        • You ask how public censorship can be more acceptable then government censorship. But there can be no public censorship because the public at large does not back its censorship through coercive force short of a mob going door to door threatening individuals with bodily harm if they say certain things or buy certain products. Rather, a public effort to shame a company into modifying its behavior respects the principle of individual autonomy because it invites people to participate rather than forcing people t
          • by WaterBreath (812358) on Friday October 14, 2005 @11:10AM (#13790683)
            Please forgive me using the term "public censorship". I realize that it has a built in emotional appeal, by connotation, that is somewhat intended to stifle certain arguments. I would like to avoid it, but at the moment I can't think of another term for this phenomenon.

            "Public censorship" isn't okay just because it's the public that does it. It causes it's own share of problems. It can lead to prejudice, which can be just harmful to society even when not supported by legislation. It's an indirect opression that is much harder to counteract, because any opposition is seen through the same filter as that which is being censored. It's still a "tyranny of the majority", no matter how you cut it.

            Which is worse... To fear expressing your opinion because you may be fined or put in jail for it? Or to fear expressing your opinion because you may be labeled, shunned, ridiculed, etc.?

            The societal effect of "public censorship" is stronger, harder to fight, and therefore more dangerous, IMHO, than the societal effect of legislative/governmental censorship. If you want an example, look at the battle going on right now between the "liberals hate America" and "conservatives hate freedom" camps. Both are attempts to get their patrons not to listen to anything the opposition says. Is the unending continuation of this futile battle going to lead to a better America?

            No, I'm going to have to side with Jon Stewart on this one. It can only make things worse. It fosters animosity and divisiveness, and it stifles coooperation and compromise. And no matter who wins, a huge portion of society feels like they're under the thumb of a hated enemy.
        • How is public censorship more acceptable then government censorship?
          There is no enforcement public censorship. "Name and Shame" only... And without enforcement, some would say, it is not even censorship at all...
      • I think a company like this should be publicly shamed. It should be presented to the public that they are cooperating with these regimes in assisting in the enslavement of their people.

        Sure, that'll keep Halliburton from dealing with the Saddam Hussein regime through offshore subsidiaries [freepress.org].

        I bet it'll keep us all from buying cheap goods manufactured in China, too. Get the word out. Once the weight of public shame gets out there, we'll all stop buying the stuff.

        Granted, those examples aren't quite to th

      • I thought that Soth Afrika's apartheid had tought us that the thing to do is to utterly boycot every single company in that country, making the government cave in pretty fast. It worked in South afrika, at least.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Moderators: Parent should be +1 Funny, not +1 Interesting. "What we should do is... 'censor' the software companies... the world would be a more free place"

      Yes, because censorship is certainly the path to freedom.
    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:53AM (#13789702)
      Peer to Peer applications can be sold or used for both legal and illegal purposes, ethical and unethical purposes. Same goes for word processors. Webservers. Ftp servers. Linux. Anything. Why should we concern ourselves with whether one particular subset of products are being used for ethical or unethical purposes? We shouldnt restrict these companies at all, what we should do is raise the concerns to a public level and let the individual decide if they want to do business with these companies in any form. The western world is after all a capitalist one.
    • You have to understand the first three rules of business:

      [1] Make money.
      [2] Make more money.
      [3] Fuck everything and everyone that gets in the way of making money.

      let's do an abstraction of this to a individual level:

      [1] Get what "I" want.
      [2] Get *more* of what "I" want.
      [3] Fuck everything and everyone who gets in the way of "me" getting what "I" want.

      You know what the last set of rules sounds like? The mental attitude of a psychopath[1] - a person with no conscience and no restrictions on thier behaviour.
      • Sounds like everyone I went to High School with.

        Maturity is something that nobody can afford in the current business world. It isn't a matter of getting ahead - it is a matter of if you don't do it, your competition will and take your customers. See, the customers want to be served, and they don't really care who is serving them. All they want is what they want, when they want it, at the lowest possible price.

        If you have a nice ethical business but someone else (less ethical) sells for 10% less, they w

    • IBM provided the hardware that the NAZIs used to run the concentration camps.

      Those Holocaust Numbers? IBM serial numbers.

      The west has ALWAYS made money supporting repressive regimes. It makes sense in a capitalistic sort of way. SOMEONE has to write the software, so the profits might as well go to a FREE country, Right?
    • It's a classical trap of using censorship to abolish censorhip. "If we censor the software makers, we'll get rid of censorship in these regimes."

      It comes down to this: Many a hacker consider code as a form of free speech, and that they have the right to excersize their right of free speech how they choose.

      If these companies aren't forbidden to write (and sell) their wares and views as they choose, how is it any different from censoring inflammatory political speech and propaganda?

      It's not illegal for some
  • ...and allow me to fan it with an analogy:

    Are these gun manufacturers simply selling a product and should not be concerned with how it is used or are they contributing to the problem of criminals?

    Flame on!
    • by Mistshadow2k4 (748958) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:49AM (#13789671) Journal
      Selling a gun to a customer and selling a gun to a known murderer are not the same thing. If you sell software that can enforce censorship to countries that practice censorship, you know that they're going to use it for that. Does that make the seller an accomplice? I dunno, ask a cop about selling a gun to a known murderer and whether they could bring someone up on charges for that.
    • Feel free to interchange "gun manufacturers" with "automobile manufacturers" or "producers of alcoholic beverages."
    • Many posts here will state that the right to bear arms is in the constitution and therefore it is not the responsibility of guns manufacturers to look out for the use of their products. Well then the "right to censor" is part of China's legal backbone, as inviolable as "the right to bear arms".

      However as I disagree with "the right to bear arms" and censorship I guess what I am saying is that documents like the constitution are just as silly and self serving of special interest groups as is the flawed Chines
      • Your disagreement with the Constitution simply doesn't matter. If you don't like it, you've got exactly five choices...

        1. Work within the system to change it...not much chance due to the fact that all of us gun owners would revolt.
        2. Revolt against the system to change it...even less chance unless you'd enjoy sharing a cell with Bubba.
        3. Leave the country. Probably your best bet.
        4. Learn to live with it...maybe you could try D.C. with it's strong anti-gun laws and low crime rate (not).
        5. Become a Darwin a
      • You advocate a government, then, that is chaotic and inherently inconsistent. A perfect example: "If a party campaigns on the right to bear arms and wins then so be it, everyone can carry a gun but it is also fair that the opposite result will also hold true."

        Let's assume that we still have 4-year election cycles. One term, the "pro-gun" party wins, and people are allowed to own guns. Four years later, the "anti-gun" party wins, and people have to get rid of their guns. Then the "pro-gun" party wins ag
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:46AM (#13789658)
    From the article:

    Myanmar, which has long been under American sanctions

    If Myanmar has long been under sanctions, wtf is an American tech company doing there? I mean, aren't American companies, especially technology companies prohibited working with such repressive governments? Or is this simply a case of a company going stealth from the American government simply to make a buck?

    • Simple enough , they just sell it from "Soft-Corp Canada" or "Soft-Corp Germany"
    • Sanctions are just another BS tool politicians use to look tough. They get to stand up in front of the voters and talk about how they're using sanctions to be tough on the turrists and commies, all the while taking campaign contributions from American companies which operate foreign subsidiaries and move product through third party resellers to avoid the sanctions.
    • This is where the U.S. Congress has license to go after these companies, legally. A few hearings ought to clear everything up for the American people, where the "two-tier distribution models" that pass responsibility for distribution on to resellers become front-page news and election issues. The problem here though, is one of significantly higher order than sanctions and software in Myanmar. For Congress to assert itself and American law in this one case would only belie the greater reality and delay the o
  • Just another example of why we need stricter trade controls. If a US company is selling technology specifically designed to censor the public or if they provide technical support to achieve such an end, they should be fined, and if the offense continues, dissolved. Of course there needs to be clearly defined limits on what constitutes such things, but it needs to be done.
    • Just another example of why we need stricter trade controls. If a US company is selling technology specifically designed to censor the public or if they provide technical support to achieve such an end, they should be fined, and if the offense continues, dissolved. Of course there needs to be clearly defined limits on what constitutes such things, but it needs to be done.

      So we should further expand our tendency to mix values with trade policy? No thanks, we do too much of that already. We're not the worl

    • If a US company is selling technology specifically designed to censor the public or if they provide technical support to achieve such an end, they should be fined, and if the offense continues, dissolved.

      Its silly to give companies grief for selling censorware while American defense contractors sell weaponry that causes actual death and destruction. Which causes more harm?
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:51AM (#13789680)
    ... the profit motive rules all. What, you think our companies should worry about the lot of the ordinary citizen, the workers, the guy in the street? That's not American, that's not the Western way, that's communism! You're not a Communist, are you? Why do you hate America so much?
  • Should anyone... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by charlie763 (529636) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:52AM (#13789682) Homepage
    Should AutoCAD be concerned when it's software is used to design weapons? Should I be concerned about paying taxes when that money is used to kill people because they live on the other side of an imaginary line? Should Slashdot editors be concerned when their forums are used to copyright infringe entire articles?

    • Well yes... you should be concerned.
      But does that we should ban AutoCAD? Shouldn't pay taxes? Should censor Slashdot?
      I personally don't think so.
      • Just so my stance is documented, I agree and I am concerned. We should not ban autoCAD. I'm not so sure about the tax thing. And we should not censor Slashdot or anything else.
    • The only thing that happens to pacifists is they end up getting killed by those who are realists. Wars are necessary and logical, find your pair and get over it.
      • Wars are necessary and logical

        Well if NDPTAL85 says it it must be true, ... or NOT.

        Do you have a proof for that conjecture? It just seems so counterintuitive.

        I would think "Wars are unnecessary and Illogical"

        You could be right though if one limits their thinking enough.

        The war in Iraq was necessary to stop the flow of cheap oil from Iraq and provide choice no-bid contract to Halliburton and it's perfectly logical to kill and maim tens of thousands of people if there is a chance to make a quick bu

        • Killing and maiming are not always illogical activities. Wars are started and administered by very calm and thoughtful people. They have goals, they know what it takes to accomplish those goals and then they actually carry out their plans. This speaks not to morality, the rightness or wrongness of something, just to its logic and necessity.

          Most people have a reason for doing what they do, whatever it is they do, and only vary rarely is it due to stark raving madness or mental illness. While not always calcu
          • Wars are started and administered by very calm and thoughtful people. They have goals, they know what it takes to accomplish those goals and then they actually carry out their plans.

            Strange on how those same people are rarly the ones doing the fighting. Killing and maiming can be logical and even concidered sane. In one case, it doesn't involve you. You just give the orders. In the other case, it's killed or be killed.
      • The only thing that happens to pacifists is they end up getting killed by those who are realists.

        Yeah, I heard about this guy, talked about loving your neighbor as yourself, turning the other cheek, that kind of stuff. Some other guys strung him up for it. I doubt you guys have ever heard of him.
    • Yes to all? Of course you should be concerned. And you should give thought to whether or not you can do something about it. I didn't pay taxes for years to avoid having my money contribute to a war effort I thought was wrong.
    • Should I be concerned about paying taxes when that money is used to kill people because they live on the other side of an imaginary line?

      I think that our tax dollars should be spent on drawing real lines. Therefore, there would be less objection to killing people on the other side ;)

  • Evil? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BenjyD (316700) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:53AM (#13789701)
    What I don't understand is how a Western software salesman can be so blinded by profit that they can do this. What do they say to their family when they ask "What did you do today?". "Not much, I just sold a complete filtering solution to the Chinese government in order to help them supress dissent and hunt down pro-democracy campaigners".

    We're not talking about a few off-the-shelf copies of Windows here - these are large scale installations.
    • Re:Evil? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swb (14022)
      There is no ethics in business, I'm not sure if there ever was, but at least until fairly recently there were
      ethical men IN business.

      I'd wager that post-WWII many businesses were staffed by people with war experience who WOULD blanche at the idea that they were getting rich by supporting the enemies of freedom they might have personally fought and lost loved ones to.

      I think they were also much more likely to have secondary motivations (doing good work for the organization, etc) in addition to "increased sal
  • Collaborators (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbrander (73222) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:54AM (#13789707) Homepage
    The "two tier model" of which the article speaks is a pathetically small fig-leaf. There is nothing remotely difficult about imposing restrictions on resellers not to sell to repressive regimes or for any use to curtail freedom of speech.

    When it's your own country that's repressed by dictators, those who help them do it are called "collaborators" by the rest of the populace. When it's somebody else's country, well... ...I still call them collaborators.
  • by digitaldc (879047) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:54AM (#13789713)
    "There's a cat-and-mouse game going on between states that seek to control the information environment and citizens who seek to speak freely online," said John Palfrey, the director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and a researcher with the OpenNet Initiative. "Filtering technologies, and the way that they are implemented, are becoming more sophisticated."
    Not surprisingly, repressive governments have been eager buyers of those technologies.


    From the CIA 'Factbook' on Myanmar (Burma):
    http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ bm.html#Govt [cia.gov]

    Economy - overview:
    Burma is a resource-rich country that suffers from government controls, inefficient economic policies, and abject rural poverty. The junta took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism", but those efforts have since stalled and some of the liberalization measures have been rescinded. Burma has been unable to achieve monetary or fiscal stability, resulting in an economy that suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including inflation and multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat. In addition, most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta began to suppress the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently ignored the results of the 1990 legislative elections. Economic sanctions against Burma by the United States - including a ban on imports of Burmese products and a ban on provision of financial services by US persons in response to the government of Burma's attack in May 2003 on AUNG SAN SUU KYI and her convoy - further slowed the inflow of foreign exchange. Official statistics are inaccurate. Published statistics on foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and unofficial border trade - often estimated to be one to two times the size of the official economy. Though the Burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, a better investment climate and an improved political situation are needed to promote foreign investment, exports, and tourism. In February 2003, a major banking crisis hit the country's 20 private banks, shutting them down and disrupting the economy. As of January 2004, the largest private banks remained moribund, leaving the private sector with little formal access to credit.

    I wonder what the executives at companies like Microsoft, Yahoo and Cisco feel about using their technology to aid oppressive regimes? The whole idea of information sharing and transferral is thrown out the window when you can no longer criticize your goverment or those in power. You then have a dumbed-down version of the software, with no reason to trust or believe anything you read through them since they are easily monitored, and easily censored.


    Do the executives at these companies have any morals? How far must it go before they will object to censorship? Is their complacency indicative of their need for more sales or that they just don't care?
  • by moz25 (262020) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:55AM (#13789718) Homepage
    The solution is quite easy: just make laws that forbid companies from supplying such assistance to those regimes. The goal of a company is to make money, preferably within existing laws. It's pretty sure they're not breaking the laws of of e.g. China and Myanmar, so people can only be surprised that companies in the business of making money are trying to make money.

    If people are so concerned about democracy, freedom of speech and other bla bla, then why import so many goods from China (repressive communist regime) or import oil from Saudi Arabia (fundamentalist Islamic)? At the end of the day, it's all about the money and practically no one is even marginally innocent in this.
    • Don't US laws apply to americans outside the US? If I go on vacation and kill someone can't I be prosecuted when I get home? Or does it depend on weather the victim was American? Along the same lines, if censorship violates the first amendment at home, isn't it also forbidden overseas? And if it does depend on who the victim is, what about Americans visiting these countries?

      I see a familiar double standard. The rules only apply to people, not big companies.

      • Restricted or limited liability/accountability was the very point of introducing those forms of organisation. It's even in the very names of those forms of organisation. So if you don't like when they do what they are supposed to do, then it's of no use to cry over a double standards.

        Those forms are introduced for a reason: because they are wanted. If you don't like the idea of having certains forms of organisation that gives some people carte blanche to do whatever they want to do, well, then work towards
      • Sorry, if a US citizen kill someone in Canada, you might get extradited to Canada for prosecution, but there is no way you are going to be prosecuted in the US.

        Same with killing someone in Brazil. Or Mexico. Or anywhere else for that matter.

        Now, the US Justice Department would probably look favorably on an extradition request from just about anywhere for a murderer. And, US law enforcement would probably not bat an eye at helping out in the capture of said murderer. But there is no way they would be pro
    • I forsee a huge problem with this a year down the line. I agree that your solution, forbidding companies from supplying assistance to oppressive regimes could pass Congress and become law. But I'm afraid of what would constitute "supplying assistance." What if they use Slackware in their network filtering kit? What if they modified their routing hardware to use Linux? What are the consequences to a group dedicated to providing good software for everyone when a demonstrable subset of "everyone" is evi
  • Of course they are simply selling a product. In much the same way that gun manufacturers aren't supporting armed crime, and producers of poorly secured software aren't supporting on-line fraud. Heck, they could be selling gloves but that doesn't mean they support "happy slapping"!
  • Are these software companies simply selling a product and should not be concerned with how it is used or are they contributing to the problems of these repressive regimes?"

    Are they selling their product as a censorship product, or as something with multiple uses? Are there "good" uses for products like theirs?

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday October 14, 2005 @08:58AM (#13789737)

    What about Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc? All of which are falling all over themselves to serve the Chinese market?

    Falling over themselves so fast and hard, they're perfectly happy to turn over the names of political dissidents and censor web results so the Great Firewall of China doesn't stick out like a sore thumb? Seems pretty "evil" to me.

    Always amazes me that Slashdotters get all up in arms about filtering at their school or work, scream blue bloody murder about censorship...but when Google filters for a whole country, nobody gives a damn.

  • by craznar (710808) on Friday October 14, 2005 @09:01AM (#13789757) Homepage
    From country that exports death in a thousand forms - you are worried about a company selling software used for filtering internet traffic.

    Is this the same ideology that blanks out Janet's tits, but allows 100 people to be shot in a half hour TV show ?

    Get your priorities right.

  • by ameline (771895) <ian@ameline.gmail@com> on Friday October 14, 2005 @09:02AM (#13789760) Homepage Journal

    This story certainly reminds me of what V.I. Lenin said -- "The capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them."

    (Quote attributed to Lenin, but there's no real documented evidence to support his saying it. Stalin, on the other hand, definitely paraphrased it on at least one occasion.)
  • by jmv (93421) on Friday October 14, 2005 @09:05AM (#13789777) Homepage
    ...who cares where they come down? That's not my department. -- Wernher von Braun

    If we make money off it, who cares some will suffer? -- Corporate world
  • Priorities (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bob3141592 (225638) on Friday October 14, 2005 @09:16AM (#13789836) Homepage
    I am appalled that US software is being used to suppress individual rights overseas, when there's obviously so much more that needs to be done to suppress individual rights here at home.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Friday October 14, 2005 @09:19AM (#13789859)
    And have any writers of "free software" stopped to think what terrible things their software can and is being used for? Should we stop free software makers from distributing their software to anybody who wants it? Or, if a free software program is used to commit, say, war crimes, should its creators be arrested and tried?
    • I see this argument posted about 30 times on this thread. I can't believe that the posters are not able to see the difference between knowingly selling software and services to oppressive regimes, often in defiance of a trade embargo, and having some anonymous person download or buy off-the-shelf software.

      Cisco and Microsoft, for example, are quite happy to cooperate with the Chinese government over the "Great Firewall of China". They know who they are selling to and the exact purpose to which their product
  • Why aren't they outsourcing this to China?
  • Sellilng software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bastian (66383) on Friday October 14, 2005 @09:20AM (#13789866)
    If these companies are just selling a product and needn't concern themselves with how it will be used once it leaves their hands, we should be consistent and apply the same thought process to our handling of your local pharmacy's policies on selling opiates or your local gun dealer's policies on selling guns.
  • Unsurprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Friday October 14, 2005 @09:22AM (#13789884) Homepage
    Under circumstances where money and profit are the moral, religious and primary motivation for business, it's unsurprising that they fail to account for contributing to human suffering or oppression. Look at Nike!

    But we certainly don't need more laws or restrictions on its own. What we need are more people who care about the problems and are willing to display the shameful for who and what they are. I think one of the biggest problems in today's society comes from anonymity. After all, if no one knows who you are, then no one will know what you have been doing or whether you are responsible for this that or the other. No face, no shame and somehow no guilt.

    The Nike example shows that they are not proud of their approach to manufacturing and will even display signs of shame (even if through denial) for the murky areas in which they are engaged. I don't think that these other companies would be any different... the problem is how to get that stuff exposed in a way that gets enough attention. The media is now owned by the same club membership that is responsible for a lot of the activity we find so repugnant so the dilemma is clear and obvious.
  • How is this different that Western guns, warplanes, and bombs being sold to repressive regimes? To paraphrase Captain Renault in Casablanca [imdb.com]:

    "I'm shocked, shocked to find that Western software is being used in repressive regimes!"

    "Your liscencing fees, sir."

    "Thank you very much."
  • oh whooops, this isn't politics.slashdot.org!
  • Happens Here too! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Pooldraft (756431)
    Everyone gets upset when you hear about another country censoring their population for one reason or another. It happens here all the time though. Next time you hit google up type in "kazza" now go to the bottom and you will see this "In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 2 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org." Now how is that censorship any different then othe
  • Maybe she has something to say about a free press and not sucking the government's cock.
  • Technology, as a whole, is a tool. A neutral tool, no matter what form it takes. It can serve to hurt or heal with equal facility, all depending on how it's used. Each individual manufacturer of "censorship software," as it were, is going to have to make their own decision, based on their owner(s) beliefs.

    I would add that censorship of this nature is not going to solved by suppressing sales of the necessary software or other technological tools to 'problem' countries. If a repressive regime is shopping for
  • So let me see if I understand.

    Slashdotters are generally libertarian in their views of government involvement in the body private. They are opposed to "government" placing (what they consider) morally arbitrary controls or limits on just about any personal behavior, be it from downloading mp3s without paying for them, all the way to antisodomy laws and abortion restrictions.

    Yet when it crosses YOUR moral line - i.e. when individuals or corporations do something that offends your personal sacred cows - then
  • by RexRhino (769423) on Friday October 14, 2005 @12:56PM (#13791596)
    I mean, yes, Casto doesn't allow his people to access the internet except with government permission, and even then content is filtered, but that is a reasonable man simply trying to protect his people from harmful ideas... BUT DAMN THOSE EVIL CAPITALIST FOR OPPRESSING THE CUBAN PEOPLE BY SELLING CASTRO FILTERING SOFTWARE!!!

    Oh, wait a minute? The United States doesn't allow companies to sell to Cuba? Those egotistical, arrogant, imperialist bastards! Cuba should be free to buy and sell whatever it wants from the U.S.. How dare those evil capitalists try to force their views on Cuba by refusing to sell them stuff!


    Geez... why can't people just admit that they are reactionary whankers with no real ideology... just some vauge dislike of "capitalism" (without any real consistant definition of what capitalism is... they call Stalin "capitalist" for god sakes, and in the next sentence call Western Europe "socialist")...

    I mean, when the U.S. doesn't trade with Cuba, or England doesn't trade with Zimbabwe, this is considered "imperialism" (whatever that means, they don't have any consistent definition of that either)... but if U.S. or European companies trade with China or Saudi Arabia, they are guilty for "supporting oppressive regimes" (somehow it is not "arrogant" to call China or Saudi Arabia "oppressive regimes", but call Cuba or North Korea an "oppressive regime" and it is not only "arrogance", but "imperialist hate speech").

    I can understand and respect people with different ideologies than me... we don't all have to agree. But please, GET AN IDEOLOGY before you start your self-rightous preaching! Enough of the self-contradictory, reactionary drivel that passes as "political correctness" nowadays!

Saliva causes cancer, but only if swallowed in small amounts over a long period of time. -- George Carlin

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