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U.S. Tech Companies Have Been Selling Censorship for Years

  • USA Today, Wednesday, February 22, 2006 10:30 AM
With all the hoopla surrounding the U.S. Internet majors and censorship, we tend to overlook the fact that online censorship is something U.S. companies have been exporting for some time. For example, San Diego-based Websense and Sunnyvale-based Blue Coat Systems provide the Yemen government with tools to block Web sites devoted to sex and beer. USA Today columnist Kevin Maney says there's nothing at all special about Google or Yahoo's decision to censor its Chinese search results. In fact, he says, U.S. tech companies have been helping "repressive regimes around the world sift, block and censor the Net... for years." He adds that Congressmen reacting negatively to the "revelation" are either "grandstanding" or "ignorant."  Maney says China's Internet is loaded with products from U.S. tech companies like Cisco and Sun Microsystems. Of course, U.S. Web filtering companies will also be clamoring to do business there--and why shouldn't they? Maney asks.  How is selling their products any different than selling the Chinese cell phones on which the government could make calls about arresting dissidents? 

 

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