Sunday, 1 December 2002

Helping the Chinese censor the Internet

(Via Instapundit) IMAO writes on U.S. technology companies helping China censor the Internet, arguing that U.S. companies have a moral obligation not to help China.

I'm a bit torn on this issue, because it's largely a question of the exact role companies have in censorship. If they're buying "off-the-shelf" software to do it (and there's plenty out there, including free programs like SquidGuard that are included in Debian, I'm not sure about corporate complicity; after all, there are plenty of responsible uses for the software. For example, we use filtering software to keep students from surfing to random sites during physics labs. On the other hand, if you're giving them a custom-built system that keeps the Chinese away from CNN and the Voice of America, I'd have some problems with that.