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[liberationtech] Dalai Lama quotes? There's an app for that ... except in China

Yosem Companys ycompanys at
Wed Dec 30 15:02:14 PST 2009

>From Mercury News Technology Blog:

> I suppose we should be used to it by now, but it's still disheartening to
> see U.S. tech companies whose success has been tied to the free flow of
> information so readily accommodate government censorship elsewhere. The
> latest examples: Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft.

According to a report in PC
> Apple's iPhone App Store includes a number of apps featuring quotes from or
> information on the Dalai Lama that can be downloaded by people all over the
> world ... but not in China, where the government regards the exiled Tibetan
> spiritual leader as a "devil with a human face." Also unavailable to the
> hundreds of thousands of Chinese now snapping up iPhones from China Unicom —
> an app related to a documentary on Rebiya Kadeer, an exiled leader of
> China's Uighur minority group. Apple's justification for the absent apps is
> the familiar one. "We continue to comply with local laws," spokeswoman Trudy
> Muller told PC World. "Not all apps are available in every country." James
> Sugrue, developer of an app called Dalai Quotes, was disappointed but
> resigned. "I didn't know the app had been pulled, and wasn't informed," he
> said. "Apple reserves the right to do this sort of thing, and while from a
> censorship point of view I disagree with this, I can understand why they
> did."

Meanwhile, India's latest anti-pornography measures are getting an assist
> from Yahoo and Microsoft<>.
> The Guardian reports that as of earlier this month, Indian users of those
> companies' search sites are locked into the most restrictive filter setting
> for their results. Should a user try a search for sexual material on
> Microsoft's Bing, for instance, a notice will pop up explaining that "your
> country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters
> out results that might return adult content." And given the nature of
> filters, that likely means some legitimate sites on sexual subjects will be
> rendered invisible as well. Apparently the filters were clamped on after a
> recent change in Indian law that greatly expanded criminal liability for
> publication or distribution of porn. Here, too, Microsoft's justification<> was
> of the "when in Rome" variety: "Microsoft is committed to helping advance
> the free flow of information, and to encouraging transparency, due process
> and rule of law when it comes to Internet governance. Our products fully
> comply with Indian laws governing adult content."

And so it goes — a nod to cultural differences here, a bow to business
> realities there, interspersed with occasional abject kowtowing to
> authoritarianism, and gradually the concept of a single, truly worldwide Web
> starts to fracture. I know, it's just a matter of being practical. But it
> makes you wonder just how outrageous a censorship demand would have to be to
> get somebody to say no.

> on this post<>
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