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Internet censorship

Human Rights Watch berates Google over China censorship

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: internet censorship, human rights, health news


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(NewsTarget) Political websites and blogs are being edited and erased by Google and other companies who must either conform to communist demands or risk losing access to the booming Chinese market.

Observers report that Chinese and other users in Asia are not getting the same access to information as their Western counterparts, because Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Skype are conforming to severe censorship rules mandated by communist governments. Information contained on websites, blogs and search engines deemed sensitive by the Chinese government is blocked, shut down or heavily edited.

Yahoo has come under fire in the past for providing data to Chinese officials that led to unjust imprisonment of nationals. The firm continues to be criticized today because Yahoo's censoring practices are reportedly more aggressive than other Western companies. Skype -- a free, web-based telephone company -- censors text in chats without informing users, and Microsoft has shut down blogs by Chinese writers using MSN.

Internet companies argue that censorship practices are necessary to keep their presence alive in communist China.

Besides severe censorship, New York's Human Rights Watch reports that these publicly traded companies do not let users know about edited results in order to keep company stocks high.

"It [is] ironic that companies whose existence depends on freedom of information and expression have taken on the role of censor, even in cases where the Chinese government makes no specific demands for them to do so," Human Rights Watch advocates stated.

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