Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lights continue to dim across The Blogosphere

Already a place of barely flickering freedom, as reported by the BBC, China with the help of an American company cracks down on the thing that all totalitarians fear: free expression.

Weblog entries on some parts of Microsoft's MSN site in China using words such as "freedom", "democracy" and "demonstration" are being blocked.

Chinese bloggers already face strict controls and must register their online journal with Chinese authorities.

Sound familiar? It starts with registration. Like a junkie hooked on a narcotic, once a Power gains more control, it desires ever more control – and will find any justification to get it.

Also being restricted on the free parts of the site are journal entries that mention "human rights" and "Taiwan independence".

Those using these banned words or writing entries that are pornographic or contain sensitive information get a pop-up warning that reads: "This message contains a banned expression, please delete this expression."

Where is Mr. Orwell when you need him. Isn’t that phrase precious? “..Please delete this expression.” Indeed.

China recently introduced stringent regulations that require all blog owners to register their web journal with the state by 30 June.

The regulations require the writer of a blog to identify themselves to the authorities.

According to Reporters Without Borders, China is using a system called Night Crawler to patrol web journals and make sure that only registered blogs are published. Unregistered blogs will be shut down.

China today. Tomorrow?

"It is all very well to have high-minded ideals about how you want the Chinese to behave, but opposing China is going to be counter-productive."

"Microsoft is being pragmatic in its approach," said Mr Makower. "It is not up to it to make political statements."

Of course not Mr. Makeover…errr…Makower. We must be pragmatic. We don’t want to be counter-productive. Who needs high-minded ideals? Mr. Makower, freshen up your resume; I hear IG Farben and Krupp are hiring. You would fit in perfectly.

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