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Businesses Censorship Google Microsoft Your Rights Online

We're Staying In China, Says Microsoft 249

Posted by Soulskill
from the swinging-the-ethics-bat dept.
ericb tips an article at the Guardian which begins: "Hopes that Google's forthright stand on censorship in China would inspire other companies to follow suit appeared unfounded today, with the move instead threatening to widen the rift between some of the world's most powerful internet companies. Microsoft, which has considerable interests in the country, including its Bing search engine, responded directly to criticism by Google's co-founder Sergey Brin, who this week accused the company of speaking against human rights and free speech. Brin, who pressed for the closing down of Google's self-censored Chinese search engine, said yesterday: 'I'm very disappointed for them in particular. I would hope that larger companies would not put profit ahead of all else. Generally, companies should pay attention to how and where their products are used.' Microsoft rejected Brin's critique, saying it would continue to obey local laws on censorship in China."
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We're Staying In China, Says Microsoft

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  • How good of them. (Score:5, Informative)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:37AM (#31625220)

    It's always nice to see companies following local laws. [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:How good of them. (Score:4, Informative)

    by MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:07AM (#31625604)
    It's always nice to see companies following local laws.

    Examples of immoral behavior aside, yes it is.
    If a country has say, a ban on advertising cigarettes to children, then that's a perfectly sane thing to comply with.
    If a country doesn't have the draconian copyright laws the US has, refusing to enforce them there is perfectly sane as well.

    OTOH, assisting in silencing political speech is hardly moral. If only there was some universal minimum standard for what's okay and what's not...

    Oh right.. there is: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org]. (Which didn't exist in the 1930's, although I don't feel that excuses IBM - considering the Allies penalized the German corporations who assisted the Holocaust)
    And from that declaration, it's entirely clear-cut the first two examples are fine, and the third isn't okay. While we all know that China doesn't give a damn about the UDHR, it doesn't change the fact that they've ratified it (and in fact, Nationalist China was involved in drafting it). They can't legitimately complain about 'cultural bias' or respecting their system or whatever.

    It's a matter of holding them to their own words. And holding our corporations responsible to follow at least those basic rights.
  • Re:Torn (Score:2, Informative)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:47AM (#31626274) Homepage

    Wait....

    Bush Doctrine?

    Clinton bombed Iraq. [wikipedia.org]

    Clinton bombed Yogoslavia. [wikipedia.org]

    Clinton ordered missile strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan. [wikipedia.org]

  • by PNutts (199112) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:15AM (#31626736)

    The majority of posts here (and the article) accuse Microsoft of putting "profit over all else". However, when you do so you should also participate or risk becoming a Limousine Liberal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limousine_liberal [wikipedia.org]. The easiest thing to do is stop buying items "Made in China". The harder part is to research each product you buy to determine how much Chinese labor /goods / profits are in that item. Some tech items are straightforward (Lenovo laptops and Cisco providing equipment to the Great Firewall), but according to CNN it isn't easy for consumers http://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/wayoflife/07/26/china.products/index.html [cnn.com] (50% of apple juice for example).

    When you take a stand against Microsoft for their business practices in regard to Chinese rights then you should apply that standard across the board and avoid the businesses and products that conflict with your beliefs. /soapbox

  • Re:Is Brin serious? (Score:4, Informative)

    by khchung (462899) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:17AM (#31626782) Journal

    I find this absolutely hilarious coming from Brin, pretending Google is some sort of moral authority now that they've pulled out of China due to the recent incident, having sold out to the Chinese government for many years previously providing services customized according to the state to oppress its citizens and restrict their access to news and information!

    No need to take him seriously, he is just doing what any manager would do -- capitalize the most PR value out of his company's actions and taking credit for it.

    Just look at any company that has done anything that got into the news, their managers will come out and saying anything to generate goodwill for that action, and also gain themselves credit in one swoop.

  • Re:How good of them. (Score:4, Informative)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:53AM (#31627274) Homepage Journal

    IBM does have a long history of being the meanest nastiest competitor on the planet but I really think trying to blame them for the Holocaust is pretty unfounded.

    The service contract for the concentration camp management systems was written and served out of, and paid to, IBM in Armonk, NY. Nobody is blaming them for the holocaust; the whole thing was reported to the US government pretty early on, and those in power pretended nothing was happening, then acted surprised later.

  • Re:How good of them. (Score:2, Informative)

    by sa666_666 (924613) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:00PM (#31627368)

    I like the way my country is setup. Don't believe everything you see on TV. I watched the NBC coverage of the Olympics in Vancouver and couldn't believe how much BS was being spread about Canada. They are talking about all our customs, etc, Brian Williams was a fucking moron (US Brian Williams, not CTV Brian). He stopped a few NEWFIES on the street and that is where he got most of his information. WTF! Newfies are very different from the rest of the Canadians. And no, we don't live in Igloos! And I don't know Jill or Jack from Canada!!

    Hey, watch it with the Newfie discrimination. While the rest of Canada and pretty much all the US are going through a major recession (which it is, whether people will admit it or not), Newfoundland has never seen better financial times. Provinces in the past that have called us a 'welfare state' are now doing much worse than we are. So maybe we really are different than the rest of the Canadians; we know how to stay above water in tough financial times.

  • Re:How good of them. (Score:2, Informative)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Friday March 26, 2010 @12:17PM (#31627646)

    Each country has their own laws and many are considered 'odd' or 'repressing'

    I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that slavery is simply "odd" or not repressive.

    People tell me all the time how I'm so hard done by because of the taxes and the limits of our free economy compared to the US.

    Taxes aren't quite slavery though, so I'm not sure why you brought this up at all, especially since we're talking about China, not Canada.

    He just had an $80, 000 operation and I asked him how he felt that it would have been $0 in Canada, other than your taxes.

    But if you add in taxes, over your lifetime you've likely put in well over $80,000. Worse, if you never need that surgery, you never benefit from paying in. Seems closer to stealing at that point. I'd love to know, do you have a specific line item for "healthcare tax" on your paycheck, or is it just lumped in with the general tax?

    Also, I live near the boarder to Canada; please explain why so many Candians are coming HERE for healthcare. Careful, I know more about healthcare in this area then you'd expect.

    Everyone loves not paying taxes until you need a service that you willingly voted against, or decided to stop (like car, house, health insurance).

    Yup, which is why smart people wouldn't cancel their car, home, or health insurance. If someone ditches homeowners insurance, and loses their house, I don't see why I should feel bad. I also don't see why I should be forced to pay for healthcare for someone that can't be bothered to take care of themselves by eating right and exercising. Its not hard. Well, physiclaly its not, its just the mental part, but much as I'd love ice cream every night, I don't because I know the consequences.

    I like the way my country is setup. Don't believe everything you see on TV. I watched the NBC coverage of the Olympics in Vancouver and couldn't believe how much BS was being spread about Canada. They are talking about all our customs, etc, Brian Williams was a fucking moron (US Brian Williams, not CTV Brian). He stopped a few NEWFIES on the street and that is where he got most of his information. WTF! Newfies are very different from the rest of the Canadians. And no, we don't live in Igloos! And I don't know Jill or Jack from Canada!!

    I didn't even watch the olympics, and my knowledge of Canada comes from dealing with Canadians, so I don't know what your point is. As far as TV / news reporting goes, Canada is rarely even mentioned.

    We see everything about how China jails protesters and censors information.

    Are you saying it doesn't happen or that if the Chinese are a-ok with it, we should be too?

    Well, in Canada, all we see about the States is how there is another gun murder

    Well, in the US we don't really see Canada, period. So I'm not sure what your point is. Of course most of the gun violence is drug related, which makes me wonder why we continue to ban certain drugs.

    how the white cops beat black people

    Ya, it happens.

    how stupid Bush was

    So you're getting fairly accurate information then.

    Some of the most interesting perspectives in life come from watching another country's news about your own.

    Indeed, which is why I sometimes watch one of the two Canadian channels available to me. Also BBC American, but I'm not sure if that really represents a British take on American news.

    There will be a slant, either with the wording, omissions, or the omission or inclusion of entire stories. Just because most of it comes from AP or Reuters, doesn't mean it won't be slanted.

    Indeed I know there is a slate, and how simply changing from active to passive voices can influence things. Most notible of this was when NBC "convinently" forgot the word "Interstate" when quoting the Consitution on how the feds can regulate commerce (only interstate commerce though).

    Now, I'm not trying to dismiss China - we can all agree it is on an en

  • Re:How good of them. (Score:3, Informative)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday March 26, 2010 @01:25PM (#31628998)

    The oddest historical hookup I remember how well Ford worked with pre WWII USSR they did all sorts of deals with Stalin and company. Which if you think about it should really make your head hurt.

    Uh, why? We were allies. The US Government itself advanced the Soviets $11e9 through the lend-lease [wikipedia.org] program.

    Are you sure you don't mean Henry Ford's relations with Germany [wikipedia.org]?

    Ford and Adolf Hitler admired each other's achievements.[33] Adolf Hitler kept a life-size portrait of Ford next to his desk.[33] "I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration," Hitler told a Detroit News reporter two years before becoming the Chancellor of Germany in 1933.[33] In July 1938, four months after the German annexation of Austria, Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest medal awarded by Nazi Germany to foreigners.[33] Ford disliked the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and did not approve of U.S. involvement in the war.

  • Re:Torn (Score:2, Informative)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Friday March 26, 2010 @02:53PM (#31630506)

    And I was pointing out that that does not make it okay, and that there's a substantial difference between minor censorship (primarily in open-access media, with the exception of CP) and full-out political censorship complete with secret executions and imprisonment are two entirely different things, and it's perfectly consistent to think the level of censorship in the US justified while the level of censorship in China is morally reprehensible.

  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday March 27, 2010 @12:21AM (#31636692)

    identifying the people who go to the gas chamber

    I don't know if there were databases, other than paper files in file cabinets, but if so then they could also be used to keep track of European Jews who wanted to emigrate. See, it's a fable or lie to say the NAZIs wanted to exterminate all Jews. What the NAZIs wanted was to get rid of Jews in Europe. The NAZIs actually signed an agreement with the Zionist Federation of Germany to assist Jews emigrate to Palestine. This agreement was the Haavara (Transfer) Agreement [wikipedia.org] and was signed in 1933. As late as 1940 NAZIs were aiding Jews move to Palestine. Heck the Stern Gang [wikipedia.org] or Lehi offered to fight with NAZI Germany against Britain. Back then Britain called them, the Jewish Stern Gang as well as others such as the Irgun [wikipedia.org] and the earlier Haganah [wikipedia.org], terrorists.

    Those early Jews were Zionists who wanted an ethnically purified Israel for Jews only. David Ben-Gurion [wikipedia.org], who Declared Israel's Independence [wikipedia.org] and was it's first prime minister, stated "Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country ... There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations' time, but for the moment there is no chance. So it is simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army." In the article The Long Path Out of Denial: Zionism, Heartache, and a New Vision of Israel and Palestine [tikkun.org] the Jewish magazine "Tikkun" has more quotes from some of Israel's founders, such as this one:
    Shlomo Lavie, a well-known leader of the Israeli Labor Party, the Mapai, declared that the "transfer of Arabs out of the country in my eyes is one of the most just, moral, and correct things that can be done."

    There's plenty of blame to go around.

    Falcon

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