Monday, October 17, 2005

Can Companies Facilitate Censorship?

This NY Times article points out that some US companies are involved in helping some repressive governments filter access to the Internet in their countries.
It should come as no surprise that the Internet in Myanmar, the southeast Asian state once known as Burma and in the iron grip of a military cabal for decades, is heavily filtered and carefully monitored.
Of course it is no surprise, because they've been doing it for years. And as distasteful as it may sound, I don't think it's a problem at all that US companies are involved. In fact, I doubt most people had any idea of exactly how much filtering goes on in these countries before. If anything, I think our business involvement has brought more publicity to the problem than anything else in recent memory, and it makes it more and more obvious to the world just how repressive these places are.

Countries like China try to put on a good PR face to the world and show off modern cities like Shanghai, but it is a thin veneer over a terrible system of government. So I applaud the fact that this business takes the mask off of these states and shows them openly for what they are as they wouldn't be otherwise.

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