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China: Human Rights Watch report accuses Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Skype of aiding govt. censorship - calls for US & EU legislation

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10 August 2006

China: Internet Companies Aid Censorship

Author: Human Rights Watch

Legislation and a strong industry code of conduct are necessary to end the complicity of Western Internet companies in political censorship in China, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today... [The report] documents how extensive corporate and private sector cooperation – including by some of the world’s major Internet companies – enables this system of censorship... “Western Internet companies are complicit in actively censoring political material without telling users what’s happening and why,” said Rebecca MacKinnon, a consultant to Human Rights Watch. “...It is time for Internet companies to decide whether they want to be part of the problem or part of the solution.”...The report vividly illustrates how various companies, including Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and Skype [part of eBay] block terms they believe the Chinese government will want them to censor... Tests showed that Chinese Internet users can access greater amounts of information using the censored www.google.cn and MSN Chinese search engines than they can using providers based in China. But the tests showed that Yahoo! China’s level and method of search censorship is as bad and in some cases worse than the heavily censored Baidu...

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1 August 2006

"Race to the Bottom": Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship

Author: Human Rights Watch

Some companies not only respond to instructions and pressures from Chinese authorities to censor their materials, they actively engage in self-censorship by using their technology to predict and then censor the material they believe the Chinese government wants them to censor... In this report, we have documented the different ways in which companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, and Skype are assisting and reinforcing the Chinese government’s system of arbitrary, opaque and unaccountable political censorship. [also refers to Cisco, MSN Spaces (China) (joint venture Microsoft & Shanghai Alliance Entertainment), TOM Online, Secure Computing, Alibaba.com, MSN China (joint venture Microsoft & Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL)), Hotmail (part of Microsoft), Gmail (part of Google), Blogger (part of Google)]

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