Web firms attacked over Chinese collaboration

By Derek Sooman on August 14, 2006, 8:23 AM
Large companies who provide Internet services such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! have once again come under sharp criticism for their complicity in Chinese Internet censorship. MPs in the UK have dubbed the agreement of these companies to block the access of computer users to certain information morally unacceptable. There have now been calls for the British government to put pressure on China's political leaders to rethink and relax their stance on restricting the Internet access of Chinese citizens.

The counter argument of the Internet firms is that, for Chinese users, some access is better than no access at all. But that has not stopped human rights groups and US politicians from criticising the firmsí actions.

But the committee concluded: "The collaboration of Western internet companies in the censorship and policing of the internet for political purposes is morally unacceptable."

It agreed all users should have access to the maximum possible information and said the UK should pressure China to relax its restrictions and point out the economic damage such measures caused.

Personally, I believe that firms like as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! are so desperate to get into emerging markets like China that they will do just about anything. Once again we see an example of companies who already make huge profits doing whatever they can to increase their customer base, even if it means taking morally dubious steps.

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