Rebecca MacKinnon, in a detailed posting about Microsoft’s latest adventures in censoring Chinese bloggers, writes:
Microsoft’s MSN Spaces continues to censor its Chinese language blogs, and has become more aggressive and thorough at censorship since I first checked out MSN’s censorship system last summer.
This is depressing, if unsurprising. China clearly understands that American technology providers are only too pleased to help censor that dictatorship’s citizens, as long as these companies can still do business in the world’s most populous nation.
Robert Scoble, the Microsoft uber-blogger, has made several postings on this. His first one flatly disagreed with his company’s move, saying, in part:
I do believe in a slippery slope. If they come after you today, maybe they’ll come after me tomorrow. Gotta stop this kind of stuff while we’re still talking about you.
But in a subsequent posting, Robert went a bit soft on the company, saying:
One thing I’ve heard is that we spell out our terms of service very explicitly on MSN Spaces. Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.
No kidding? Speech about political freedom is like child porn?
I’m betting Robert regrets writing that line. He was right the first time.