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Sell Out: Blocking an Open Net 515

Posted by JonKatz
from the corporatism:-peddle-censorship-for-cash dept.
Globalism ought to be a counterforce, democratizing the world and spreading technological and economic equality. Too often, it isn't. Take, for example, the corporatist American and European companies happily selling blocking software to countries like China and Saudi Arabia so their governments can pervert the Net to deny their citizens basic freedoms. This is a significant blow to the notion that technology will forge a more open world. And it might not be all that distant a threat. We have plenty of zealots and fanatics right here, all itching for a model way of blocking a free Net.

Governments in Muslim nations, as well as China, have repeatedly made overtures to and done business with Net-filtering companies. But no nation has used blocking software as vigorously as Saudi Arabia, according to the New York Times. By royal decree, virtually all public Internet traffic to and from the kingdom has been funneled through a single control center outside Riyadh since the Net was first introduced there three years ago. If the Riyadh center blocks a site, a warning appears in both English and Arabic: "Access to the requested URL is not allowed!" Saudi Arabia blocks sex and pornography sites, as well as those relating to religion and human rights.

Now nearly a dozen software companies, most American, are competing for a hefty new contract to help block access to even more sites the Saudi government deems inappropriate for its country's half-million Net users. In fact, the Saudi government is helping to pioneer something once thought impossible -- a sanitized Net for an entire nation and culture.

American software companies are only too happy to help them do it. Software executives say they are only providing politically neutral tools. "Once we sell them the product, we can't enforce how they use it," Matthew Holt, a sales executive for San Jose's Secure Computing, told the Times earlier this week. Secure provides filtering software to the Saudi government under a contract that expires in 2003. The Saudi government is also reportedly talking with Websense, SurfControl and N2H2 of Seattle.

The Saudi government has already spent a fortune to design its centralized control system before permitting Net use a few years ago, selecting Secure Computing's Smart Filter software from four competing U.S. products. SmartFilter came with ready-made blocking categories like pornography and gambling and was also customized to exclude sites the Saudis perceived as bad for Islam, the royal family, or the country's political positions.

This is a radical assault on the spirit of the Net, of its open, point-to-point design, its great promise to democratize information. By allies, no less. And don't for a minute think there aren't plenty of fanatics and zealots in the United States who won't love the idea as well. Remember that the Harry Potter series is now the most banned book series in American libraries.

The Saudi government, along with other non-democratic countries, are notoriously technophobic. They are eager to participate in the emerging global economy, but desperate to stanch the free flow of information that might provide diverse information to their citizens. And they have no problem finding software companies, including American ones, that are happy to help extend censorship. The corporatist rule is simple -- maximize profits at all costs under virtually all circumstances.

Countries like Iraq, Saudi Arabia and China have been surprisingly successful at wiring up certain segments of their societies while controlling information deemed insensitive for political or religious reasons. The Net can, in fact, be used to make money and suppress freedom. These governments have undercut the great promise of globalism, prosperity, technology and democracy, allowing corrupt and anti-democratic governments to prosper, in part by censoring information -- something many of us thought the Net would make impossible.

This highlights the menacing way corporatism exploits technology, undermining the most basic American values.

"We have a really serious problem in terms of the American free speech idea," says Jack Balkin, a Yale Law School professor who specializes in the politics of Internet filtering. "But it is very American to make money. Between anti-censorship and the desire to make money, the desire to make money will win out." This is a profound blow to the whole idea of using technology -- especially the Net -- to force a more open society.

That's a bitter indictment of a nation that purports to be advancing democracy throughout the world, that's supposedly fighting a war to protect freedom. The reason money will always win out is corporatism, which subverts almost every other value in the name of profit, and which has made globalism a dirty word.

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Sell Out: Blocking an Open Net

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  • by nick_burns (452798)
    Here's the solution. Have Microsoft sell the Arab nations the security software. That way, we guarantee security holes and people will then get around the software, allowing them to get to anywhere they want on the internet.
  • is there a limit? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shibut (208631) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @11:56AM (#2619176)
    The question is: is there a limit/border and if so, where is it? If it's wrong to sell to Saudi Arabia, is it right to sell to city librarys? To parochial schools that block contents? To parents that block content from their children? It seems pretty obvious to me that the parents one is OK (before you flame, wait! let me put my flame retardant on. OK, proceed). Selling to the Saudis is morally dubious at best, so where is the line?

    By the way, morality in many other aspects has never stopped old time American companies in the past. Need examples? How about Phillip Morris: is it moral to sell something to people that will harm them for sure and shorten their life span almost surely? Still, people have no problem investing in this company.
    • How about Phillip Morris: is it moral to sell something to people that will harm the for sure and shorten their life span almost surely?

      I sure hope to God you're not referring to Kraft's "Macaroni and Cheese", though I have my fears you are... :(
    • Diffrences (Score:2, Interesting)

      by autopr0n (534291)
      Well, obviously there's a huge diffrence between controlling what a child sees at home, and controlling what an entire population sees in a nation. When the kid growes up, or the patron leaves the library, they can get the internet unfiltered.

      And the fact that they our censoring out political speach is also a Bad Thing.
      • Re:Diffrences (Score:2, Interesting)

        by morcego (260031)
        You are still talking extremes. The question is about the middle point, where the line is drawn.
        Is it okey to filter the content of a kid ? What about 2 ? A library ? A company ? A state ? A country ? You can move to other countries.
        And don't tell that, for instance, chineses can't. I know a lot of chineses that came to the ocident in the last 10 years.
        Have you noticed that people are talking about ENFORCING americans way of things to other countries ? What about their liberties. DO you really think people here is happier ? The avegare John Doe ?
        I say, let they have their freedom. At least in Arabi, this kind of filtering is what the population wants.
        It's not freedom when it's enforced. There is no such thing as enforced freedom.
    • by nanojath (265940) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:34PM (#2619439) Homepage Journal
      More to the point, I'll worry about selling content blocking software to China - which is the LEAST of any Chinese person's worries as far as personal liberties are concerned - in about a thousand years, after I'm done worrying about the incredibly vast grey markets that dump millions of small arms into unstable civil conflicts, the sale of carcinogenic, toxic and persistent chemicals pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers which we choose to ban in our own country, for purposes of health safety, to third world nations, the exportation of toxic wastes, the encouragement of benighted economies to choose the quick fix of rapid industrial development to the extent that they destroy their ability to feed themselves...


      What does Mr. Katz suggest be done? Shall we declare cultural war on these countries and work openly to subvert their governments? Shall we make adoption of American cultural standards a requirement for participating in our "global" economy? No, of course not. We should take the usual liberal path (and this comes from an anti-conservative, mainly Green and Democratic voter, who is nevertheless sick to the teeth of ALL the empty rhetoric that defines our national dialog): wring our hands when we arent't sitting on them, point and shake our fingers at those who are merely playing by the world's rules as they currently exist, take the moral high ground and DO NOTHING. Shit or get off the pot, Mr. Katz: everybody knows it's a bad old world. If you don't have any more to add to the discussion than that then please just keep it to yourself.

  • are you serious? (Score:3, Flamebait)

    by turbine216 (458014) <turbine216.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @11:56AM (#2619181)
    News flash for ya, Katz...

    corporatism != humanitarianism.

    Of course American companies are going to jump on the opportunity to make a few million from the Saudi government. That's why they exist - to make money. They don't care if they're limiting the content that a bunch of people half a world away can access. Why is this such a big deal? Because a single country won't have access to the internet in its full, uncensored form? They should be happy - no porn popup ads, no Microsoft Approved content, no CRAP!! If anything, it sounds like this will limit the "Saudinet" to being *gasp* and INFORMATIONAL RESOURCE!!!!

    Dear god, the humanity!!!
    • ...is that the same people who constantly bitch and moan over "American cultural imperialism" and how American media corporations pollute other cultures with their Hollywood produced "intellectual fast food" and yadda yadda, the same people get up in arms when the same American corporations just want to sell a product and NOT bundle American morals with it. Make up your minds already, people...
      • Some moral codes are universal. Just like the Golden rule that do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is called the fair treatment of man and implies an equal regard for all man. Beyond this, all man must be free with regard to the golden rule.

        Our moral code is not just written in the law, but is held by social constraints. We are nice to each other partly because others look kindly upon nice people and it is an ideal we hold.

        Freedom of speech is universal.
        • Some moral codes are universal.

          Really? Did someone make you emperor of the Universe and gave you absolute power? Because I fail to see how else you can proclaim things to be "universal", and reality sure doesn't agree with you. Moral codes vary widely in space as well as in time. "Fair treatment of man" is something that has either no meaning, or a very different one outside of the Western world. Even the Western culture has interpretted it differently in time. A few hundred years ago, slaves were not "men". A hundred years ago women were not "men". Fifty years ago black people were not "men". Today, poor people are not "men", unless you consider lack of health care and poor education to be "fair treatment". And now you want whole civilizations with thousands of years of cultural heritage that make American history look like a bad joke to just adopt a set of values that you do not practice yourselves in your own countries, simply because of some theory about "universal moral codes" that infatuated Westerners made up? Get serious...

  • This is a nice rant but it goes to show off the egocentricity of most U.S citizens. Just because you think you have the right to free speech in the states doesn't mean thats true elsewhere in the world.

    You apply your values and morals on everyone from around the world because you can't imagine someone unlike you.

    These are different people from a different culture. If there way of life curtails free speech then so be it.

    Ask yourself this though, how many violent crimes were there in China vs. the states last year?

    There are a million ways to compare two countries. In some cases the US looks better and others China.

    My point is that you cannot just openly apply what you think of as "the norm" to other cultures and then belittle them when it doesn't match.
    • Should this comparison include the thousands of Chinese citizens that were tried for petty crimes and immediatly executed as part of the governments crack down on crime?

      -Rob
    • To everyone rushing to disagree with the parent of this post: Remember that the parent is the perfectly logical conclusion of moral relativism. If you think that you believe all morality is relative, yet you can't stomach the parent of this post, then I'd suggest a serious re-examination of your personal philosophy, because you aren't the moral relativist you thought you were.
    • These are different people from a different culture. If there way of life curtails free speech then so be it.
      The Nazi's way of life included killing millions of Jews. The Cambodian way of lfe includes killing hundreds of thousands of their own countrymen If their way of life kills millions then so be it.

      Ask yourself this though, how many violent crimes were there in China vs. the states last year?
      Since there is no freedom of Press in China, how would you know either way?

  • > Globalism ought to be a counterforce, democratizing the world and spreading technological and economic equality

    A word (ie, globalism) doesn't mean shit until the people who wield power in the economy actually /want/ to give up some of that power and wealth for the benifit of all. On what planet do you think a power/wealth weiling CEO is going to admit to shareholders that they are allowing competition in weak foreign markets for the overall health of the global economy.

    Globalism is as buzzy a word as 'democracy' is; China is communist, and you don't see the US (or anyone else?) embargo'ing them. Hell, now they're in the WTO! (With the worlds fasted growing GPD at 7% annual growth.) The US can throw around the words 'democracy' and 'freedom' all they want, but those who are in need are not fooled one bit. Globalism is the same .. it really means corperatized america turning every other country into a strip mall and a community of blue collars operating the latest opening of Starbucks or BestBuy.
    • Democracy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KjetilK (186133)

      Globalism is as buzzy a word as 'democracy' is;

      Yeah, "democracy" is pretty buzzy, but in the UN context, it has a pretty clear definition. After WWII, professor Arne Næss, whom I've met several times, lead a committee appointed by the UN to define exactly what was meant by democracy. They presented a huge report, but the definition hasn't stuck, because none of the superpowers liked it a lot....

      • Well, a true democracy would fly in the face of a ruling class (ie, corperate interests, in the case of the western world), wouldn't it?

        I'm sure many Americans and Canadians would feel comfortable with aknowledging what we are pursuing is, more or less, plutocracy, whereby policies and actions are set to benifit trade; under the guise that increased trade between nations will 'pull everyone up' in wealth. I guess what we're seeing is that the input to those types of policies are coming from the players who have already made it (the Microsofts, the Starbucks), and end up primarily benifiting the entrenched corperations that typically are centralized in the US.

        BTW, I think the most frightening thing about globalism is the idea of foreign-investor settlements, where governments can be told by the likes of the WTO that social policies that inhibit the profitability of foreign investors (companies that are entering a country's market) must be changed. The governments of Chile, Canada, and the UK have all been spanked at one time or another for policies and laws that inhibit certain foreign investors. In fact, I'm under the impression that Canada is still pursuing a lawsuit against the UK for the UK's policy to ban imports of asbestos, a carcinogen that Canada has banned itself! Of course, it's no surprise that asbestos is one of Canada's larger exports .. :) Money talks, but now it seems to be heard in every corner of the world, instead of within the limited borders of a country, thus (at the time) at least ensuring that economic pursuits fell in line with the social values of the market. This is globalisms archillies heel - the idea that different cultures will accept their government softening social policies in order to gain access to foreign markets. This is where the riots come in .. who cares if they don't understand the situation; what they do understand is the control companies can have over governments, and that most of these companies' decisions will be made in different social contexts than where the company intents to implement its money-making strategy. I'm pretty sure a democracy should allow its people to set the economic policies of their government .. anyway else (ie, the world body, mandating governments' policies way) can't be a democracy, can it?

        (Full disclosure: I am Canadian.)
  • by ajuda (124386) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @11:57AM (#2619188)
    The FCC routinely blocks all sorts of content from American TV with little resistance. I don't see how Americans can be shocked when other governments do the same thing in other mediums.

  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @11:57AM (#2619193)
    Jon Katz is right!

    Corporate Corpratists are jerks! I think we should attack all countries that do not share our views on free speech and expression. We can replace the gov't of Saudi Arabia and China with truly democratic regimes.

    Before we take on nations, we need to take the fight to the Elitist Global Corporate Entities like Websense. It's about time!
    • Heh, in that case i would start at home. If i am not mistaking, between censureship of the 'war on terorism', the dmca (and alike laws) and capturing people who did not commit a crime according to 'logic', and banning books like harry potter in a lot of libraries and a large pressure to install the same internet filtering software in public places such as libraries; I think the US should be our first target, as a country who does not share 'our views on free speech and expression'. ;-)
      • I agree with you.

        It is appropriate for derelicts and perverts to sit in the public library and masturbate to internet porn.

        It's bullshit that our fascist government takes legal action against those who facilitate mass theft of copyrighted material.

        It's also bullshit that our nation aggressively prosecutes the enemy during a time of national crisis. I say tear down the metal detectors at airports and open the prisons!

        THANK YOU JON KATZ! I have seen the light!
  • So what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sharkticon (312992) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @11:59AM (#2619201)

    Not so what so much for the oppressed citizens of Saudi Arabia, but this is just the logical conclusion of the US's policy towards the country. This is just the corporate world getting their cut of the profits out of the situation.

    After all the US has been happy to prop up a corrupt, undemocratic and brutal regime there just to ensure the free flow of oil to fuel SUVs and cheap fuel. Every time a USian moans about the price of fuel they're helping to keep the citizens of Saudi Arabia under oppression. And since our country is all about money, money, money at the expense of little things like decency and human rights, why shouldn't our corporations get involved in helping? It's not like they don't have enough practice at oppression themselves.

    Sorry, but if you're getting upset about this I suggest you first take a long look at what our government has done in Saudi Arabia first. Whining about censoring the net when these people lack even a pretense at human rights just shows you're hopelessly naive.

    • Saudi Arabia is a completely repressive state that couldn't exist in its present form without strong US backing. Without greenbacks and US airbases, it would have fallen long ago to Islamic fundamentalists.

      Possibly even more repressive than the Saudis are the Kuwaitis, which of course enjoy our full and total support.

      • Without greenbacks and US airbases, it would have fallen long ago to Islamic fundamentalists.

        Which is exactly why we support them.

        I think a lot of people need to grow up and realize that it's not a perfect world, and sometimes you have to choose lesser evils. We can't snap our fingers and make the middle east a democracy overnight. But we can push and prod them toward a civilized way of life.

        Unfortunately, to short-sighted people, that makes the US look like we "approve of" regimes like that just because we support them against worse alternatives.

        • Re:Amen (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @01:13PM (#2619676)
          I think a lot of people need to grow up and realize that it's not a perfect world, and sometimes you have to choose lesser evils.

          This is also known as a "foreign policy that has no values".

          We can't snap our fingers and make the middle east a democracy overnight.

          Please. The US hasn't even made tacit overtures in this direction in fifty years. More accurately, the US doesn't care if Saudi Arabia ever becomes a democracy. As long as it keeps pumping gas.

          Unfortunately, to short-sighted people, that makes the US look like we "approve of" regimes like that just because we support them against worse alternatives.

          Well, there are always "worse" alternatives. There are always bogeymen hiding in the background. At some point you have to take a stand for some values. The US has never petitioned any of these governments to provide votes to citizens, support basic human rights, or in the case of Kuwait, make indentured slavery illegal.

          If now isn't a good time to support democracy, when is????? All your "pragmatic" approach has provided is a stronger Iraq and Iran (yes, the US supported them when the "alternatives were worse").

    • Zigaktly!

      If September shows anything, its that there is no such thing as 'their problem'. The west is seriously playing around with states like Libya, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Iraq... making peoples lives worse.

      It doesn't matter exactly how, wether its blocking software, blocking drugs, blocking imports of food in times of drought. What matters is that its wrong and to get upset about blocking the rich of these countries from accessing a few websites is petty and norrow sighted.

      /. users are, we all assume, above average intelligence and reasonably well informed. From the typical response to this type of post you seriously doubt it.
    • I saw Prince Bandar on TV saying something very apropos to this. He said that people can always change their government; in democracies you lose the election, but in monarchies you lose your head. So, you see, the Saudi regime has a very clear idea what is at stake for them. It is extremely naive to think that they were going to allow unfettered Internet access, or even a slightly free press.

      I personally believe that ideas are subversive in themselves, because of their tendency to combine with and lead to other ideas. You don't have to hand it to everyone on a platter, someone will eventually put two and two together to form a forbidden thought, and inevitably that thought will escape into the wild. The printing press was censored for centuries, but in the end censorship was futile because the medium itself is subversive. The Internet is only more so. For that reason, I think a nation with a censored Internet is more free than one with no Internet; or it is at least further down the road to freedom whether that is the intent or not.

      So I say, let the filtering companies sell to China and Saudi Arabia. People weren't going to get Internet access any other way, and we'll only know historically whether it was a good thing or a neutral thing in the cause of personal liberties.
    • Re:So what? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Saahbs (174999)
      > After all the US has been happy to prop up corrupt, undemocratic and brutal regime there just to ensure the free flow of oil to fuel SUVs and cheap fuel.

      Do you suggest that if all americans drove econoboxes it would change anything? Oh sure, Saudi Arabia would not be as wealthy as they are right now. Of course none of enlightened european powers are consuming Saudi's oil. Neither are they paying good money for the only resource which allows Saudi Arabia to be something more than just a spot in a desert. Think of it this way, if not for their oil, Saudi Arabia could support (as in FEED!) only part of their population. Aside from a destination for pilgrimage to all Muslims they would be NOTHING.

      > And since our country is all about money, money, money at the expense of little things like decency and human rights

      BS!!! STFU!! Go to europe and live there for few years. Europeans are just as money motivated, corrupt and dependant on the technologies, oil and other "goods" of globalization as is US of A.

      What do you suggest? embargos? Nothing that America will or will NOT do, can help average Saudi. If Saudis want to change their system then THEY have to take the initiative. It will take time, maybe as much as two or three generations, but the results will be long lasting. Forcing our (american/western) ideals on Saudis will not succeed. Look at eastern european countries, there was very little blood shed when abandoning so called "communism". Eastern Europeans wanted their freedoms and rights, they risked their lives, proffesional carrers, opportunities to go to college and after five decades succeded. There is no chance that Poland, Czech Rep. or Hungary will go "back".

      BTW it was american companies "helping" restrict flow of information and not _evil_ american government! Grow up, get involved, don't invest in companies that YOU find morally questionable.

      --
      That giant sucking noise you hear is my computer loading msnbc.com
      • Or did you just not read my post? I'm really not sure...

        Do you suggest that if all americans drove econoboxes it would change anything?

        Hmm, let's see. Being less reliant on foreign oil would mean less impetus for meddling in the affairs of oil-producing countries and propping up dictatorships. And history has shown that before US interventions much of the Middle East was heading towards greater democracy. Without US-planned and funded overthrows of elected governments, the region would undoubtedly be much more stable.

        What's the most democratic country in the region? Iran. Sure they have their problems with the Ayatollahs, but being free from US meddling has let them re-establish democracy. Their government has a greater percentage of women in it than the US does you know.

        Think of it this way, if not for their oil, Saudi Arabia could support (as in FEED!) only part of their population. Aside from a destination for pilgrimage to all Muslims they would be NOTHING.

        Did I say stop Saudi Arabia selling oil? Oh no, that's right, I didn't. Idiot.

        BS!!! STFU!! Go to europe and live there for few years. Europeans are just as money motivated, corrupt and dependant on the technologies, oil and other "goods" of globalization as is US of A.

        *yawn* Yes, I know Europe is as advanced as America. But if you look at the history of the region for the last fifty years, it's not Europe that has been constantly meddling is it? They were too busy rebuilding after WWII (and being gouged by US companies) to be stomping on countries across the globe.

        What do you suggest? embargos? Nothing that America will or will NOT do, can help average Saudi.

        Stop propping up the corrupt and hated regime in charge, and change will come naturally. I don't expect the US to do anything else. The problem is not that the US doesn't meddle, it's that it does! Without such outside influence the people will determine their own path.

        BTW it was american companies "helping" restrict flow of information and not _evil_ american government! Grow up, get involved, don't invest in companies that YOU find morally questionable.

        Wow! Really! Thanks! I know that, read my fucking post you moron. Until you start learning basic reading comprehension, why should I listen to a word you say?

    • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @01:18PM (#2619719) Homepage Journal
      Don't get off blaming the US for Saudi Arabia's treatment of its people. They have been doing this for many years before we needed their oil. Its common throughout the Islamic world for the people in power to thwart any freedom for their people. Its not OUR fault, it is not the West's fault.

      We don't prop up Syria or Iraq yet they do the same as Saudi Arabia...

      Its very politically correct to blame America for the worlds woes, but sometimes, just maybe, you have to blame those other countries for their own plight. In fact, dare I say it, Shirah is the primary source of Saudi Arabians oppression - its implementation has nothing to do with our oil or capitalistic needs but everything to do with THEIR culture and religon.
      • We don't prop up Syria or Iraq yet they do the same as Saudi Arabia...

        BZZZT! Please visit your local library.

        The US bankrolled Saddam Hussein. He wouldn't be in power if it wasn't for the US backing him during the Iran/Iraq war.

  • by tcd004 (134130) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:00PM (#2619207) Homepage
    Read it here China's Dot-Communism [ceip.org]

    and read about the restriction of innovation on the internet here: The Internet Under Seige by Lawrence Lessig [foreignpolicy.com]

    tcd004
  • by Knunov (158076) <eat@my.ass> on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:00PM (#2619208) Homepage
    "Take, for example, the corporatist American and European companies happily selling blocking software to countries like China and Saudi Arabia so their governments can pervert the Net to deny their citizens basic freedoms."

    Or, look at them as providing the necessary obstacles to encourage entire legions of new hackers. There is no better way to motivate a person, especially a young person, into doing something than by telling him/her that s/he can't do so.

    The Americans/Europeans get to profit from these oppressive governments while simultaneously and surreptitiously undermining those very regimes.

    Perfectly brilliant plan, in my opinion.

    Knunov
  • I don't know any details about the Saudi firewall, but why doesn't someone set up a publicly accessible http tunelling system that gets around this? You could have a (moving?) node in the US which accepts http requests for 3rd party web pages and then "encrypts" (rot13?) them so that they aren't recognized in transit through the Saudi system. Then client software is accessed by the browser (at localhost) as a proxy and connects to the central node, doing the translation work and returning the page to the browser. There is always a way, using technology.
    • Except that all of their Internet access flows through one central point. Which makes it extremely easy to block anything. Which about makes your entire idea useless. So they can't block the websites you're trying to get to. Now they just block the "central node" or whatever of your tunnelling system. So what? Setup another? They block another. They've got the resources and I bet are much more willing to keep playing the cat-and-mouse game if it makes sure you aren't seeing anything you shouldn't be. Sure there may be some other way that the most hardcore could use to get through to whatever they wished, but it will never happen en-masse. This is simply because once everyone starts doing it, it won't be long before theres a way to block it. And once people start playing games and trying to get around their censoring software, they'll go right to firewall, if they havent already. The website you want to see doesn't operate on port 80? Tough.

      I'm not saying its right or I agree with it-- I would certainly hate to live in a country such as that. But at the same time, these people have lived in that type of culture their whole life. I find it hard to believe that their government censoring the Net comes as big shock to them. I think this whole thing is a much bigger deal to people of our society, where the thought of censoring the Net is such an unheard of thought that we can only react this way when it happens.
  • by Astrogen (16643) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:02PM (#2619225) Homepage
    I don't think that there is any selling out going on here. There is a difference between globalization and communism.

    The fact that people are selling the software to China and elsewhere is proof that globalization is occuring, we are all seeing each other as neighbors, and business partners now. That means if I don't sell them my software someone else will.

    It is not up to us to judge our neighbors, we may or may not like how they do things, we may even use other methods to try to "encourage" them to change but Im not going to let my competitor sell them my legitimate product because I disagree with how they use it; thats up to their government.

    Business is business, and business in a global economy as in any "free enterprise" economy means you supply the consumer what they want, because if you don't someone else will. This does not mean that business is relieved of any moral obligations; however in this case the businesses are not supplying weapons to terrorists; the business is merely respecting the governments attempts to "protect" (and yes I agree its not the best way to protect) their citizens from outside influences. But what China is doing is not really that much worse than what Australia has been doing in recent years.
    • I think the most annoying thing that makes the issue so complicated is the hypocracy. On one hand, we denounce China for being communist; but then, we let them into the WTO. Why? Money. Actually, fastest growing GDP annual, at 7%. But Cuba? Still no access to the largest economic market in North America. It's the hypocracy that bothers 'the people'. I think it's quite clear that if a consumer has money (say, China), all values are thrown out the window. (Communist state? Yeah, we called them 'reds' for 60 years, but now that they can start buying our shit, we're all buddy buddy.) Then Cuba ... communist dictatorship, but .. no money to be a consumer of American exports. So they end up being the poster child for 'bad communist'. Basically, the frusterating thing is that these words like 'freedom' and 'democracy' and 'communism' get thrown around like so much water, but when it comes down to it, a 'socially/morally bankrupt consumer' with deep pockets (China) is A-OK, while a 'socially/morally bankrupt consumer' with no money to buy (Cuba) is made an example out of. And that's the hypocracy that I find so hard to swallow.
  • by night_flyer (453866) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:05PM (#2619238) Homepage
    they can fight for it, just like the US did, after all, a people that gives up freedoms for security deserve neither. The Saudis have the power to change, *IF* they want to change, thats *their* option...
  • Before you tag this as flaimbait for the title, consider this. Without any blocking, there may be no access at all. With blocking, stuff will leak. To see what I mean, think MP3 file trading. No access at all will kill trading. (think computer with no modem or NIC) Blocked access is not 100%. Stuff will get in. (think cyber patrol) Don't expect the leaders to freely open the doors just because it is there. There is lots of stuff out there to be afraid of. Getting a foot in the door is a step in the right direction.
  • by caesar-auf-nihil (513828) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:07PM (#2619256)
    "This is a radical assault on the spirit of the Net, of its open, point-to-point design, its great promise to democratize information."

    I'll agree with some of what you write, but, I can't agree with all of it. We look at other governments and their policies through our own set of lenses, which paint things in terms of democracy, liberty, and all sorts of other American ideals. Now while I'm not saying the censorship certain nations apply should be aplogized for or encouraged, those nations have their own set of ideals and therefore, may not see things the way we do when it comes to certain civil rights. Take Saudi Arabia for example. You have a monarchy which has a strong fundamentalist religious belief system. So Saudi Arabia prevents its citizens from seeing porn and subversive material. We take offense. Did it occur to you that the majority of the Saudi Arabian citizenry may actually WANT those things blocked so their children or family cannot see the things which may offend them? Just as there are southern baptists who rant and rave over the local Rock and Roll concert and demand that it is banned, I suspect there are those in Saudi Arabia who do the same thing. The big difference is that for the most part, those rabid baptists get ignored. In Saudi Arabia, they are the majority and cannot be ignored. Certainly, there may be citizens in Saudi Arabia who don't like the censorship, but there is probably an equal or larger number who are glad that it is there. If the majority of the citizens don't want that information available, then they have the right to ask their government to block it.

    Since different cultures have different belief systems, and put emphasis on different values, their version of the Net will be different than ours, and therefore, blocking certain information makes sense to them. So this isn't a radical assualt on the whole Net, just the American Centralized view of it. If the Internet is supposed to be the great democratizer, then no wonder it is viewed as a threat to a government or nation's culture. We already do a wonderful job destroying world cultures with our consumer-based culture, and now we have a method to send it out as fast as possible. Since a majority of the world's internet sites are US based, and designed by those with US values, the Net therefore looks like an American value-based highway of information. Perhaps the censorship, while not always good, may allow for the creation of local culture-based website, un-inspired (untainted perhaps?) by American-based web/net culture. Then they can send this information back out to the Net and we can learn about their unique point of view.

    Let me say again that I don't support censorship, but I also don't agree that our value system should be shoved down other people's throats. For that matter, I don't think anyone's value system should be forced upon anyone else. Make the information available, but don't shove it. If they don't want to hear it, fine. Go pass it along to someone else then.
  • Terrorism is an alternative for of communication. People who feel they have no effective means of expressing their concerns about the government, etc, get frustrated and try to find a way to get their message out. When communications channels are closed down in a heavily censored state, it drives people to the only means they have available, getting guns and bombs (and germs?) and wreaking havoc.

    One of the reasons this country has had a consitent government and relative stability despite the dramatic changes we've made over the last 200 years is the freedom of speech. We don't feel as compelled to resorting to violent revolution, etc, because for the most part we feel we have a voice for our grievances. It is only when people feel powerless that they start resorting to to terrorism.

    So, interestingly by promoting existing powers in certain countries who are oppressive we are sowing the seeds for more future terrorism. Of course that terrorism won't stay within their borders because we are acting as backers and are thus guilty by association.
  • I both detest the Saudi govenment and would love all Saudi's to have unfiltered Internet access.

    So, following JK's logic (well, there's none really. Notice no real suggestions, it's just a well-intentioned rant), "we" (the West) should maybe stop the sale of any filtering software to the Saudis. And what have we achieved then? We've ensured that Saudi's then get NO Internet, filtered or not.

    Filtering is undesirable, but in practice is, in the best possible sense, the thin end of the wedge: i.e. give them some access and it will improve their society just a little. Then maybe the filtering will ease just a little. And so on... Iterate until sanity achieved.

    Sure, it's not certain to work, but what else should we do?
  • Like it or lump it, the natural order of things:

    1. Money
    2. Power
    3. Freedom
  • by graybeard (114823) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:11PM (#2619294)
    then why do Brits get to see tits on the telly & we don't?
  • The Net can, in fact, be used to make money and suppress freedom.

    I'm not sure quite what Jon means here. Sure some companies make money by restricting information, but that's been true for a long time. Most school districts in the U.S. have some sort of filtering software in place and there are plenty of firewall companies out there, some are even Open Source.

    But suppressing freedom? I think that even heavily filtered Internet access is better than nothing. How are Saudis less free by having 90% of the Internet available to them than by having no Internet?

    Finally, if I'm reading it correctly, even the Open Source Definition [opensource.org] wouldn't prevent companies from doing business with Saudi Arabia, so I'm not sure how critical we can be of companies doing business as usual.
  • Why do I always feel like Katz asks such sophomoric and naive questions in his rants?

    The US has been aiding the oppresive Saudi regime for years. Hell, the US went to war for the Kuwaiti regime - one of the most backwards and repressive in the already repressive Middle East.

    You can bet that if the dollars dictate, the US will prop up China too. Look at how we have already backed down on Taiwan.

    Look at Chile back during the cold war - the US wasn't beyond toppling an elected leader to put a US-friendly dictator in charge when it suited their purposes.

    How naive are you Katz?

  • by elefantstn (195873) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:29PM (#2619409)
    When it comes to the DMCA, Katz correctly argues that a tool must be separated from its use when it comes to the law. The fact that some people use the tool Sklyarov's company wrote to infringe copyrights should not mean that the tool should be outlawed and its authors jailed.

    Why, then, is it different now? A company writes software that can be used either for "good" or "bad" purposes, and all of a sudden it's wrong? What is Katz trying to say?

    In my opinion, it's clear that Katz does not really believe the tool/use argument, it's just rhetoric. He believes that information should be free, and takes the appropriate position at opposite sides of the "can a tool be intrinsically bad?" argument in order to further his views. There's nothing wrong with thinking that, but he is being dishonest by arguing both sides on the same question depending on who the protagonists are.
    • Not really (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dachshund (300733)
      When it comes to the DMCA, Katz correctly argues that a tool must be separated from its use when it comes to the law. The fact that some people use the tool Sklyarov's company wrote to infringe copyrights should not mean that the tool should be outlawed and its authors jailed.

      Why, then, is it different now? A company writes software that can be used either for "good" or "bad" purposes, and all of a sudden it's wrong? What is Katz trying to say?

      In this case, the companies writing the tools are actively trying to get their tools used for this purpose. They're seeking contracts with the Saudi government to support or even operate a system that has mass-censorship as its purpose, and they know it.

      So the solution to your dilemma is: a company shouldn't be blamed if people use their net-censoring software to do "bad things"-- and certainly, the software should not be outlawed. On the other hand, if a company is actively supporting an particular immoral use of their tool they should be credited with at least some complicity in that particular incidence of wrongdoing.

      Now, this sort of behavior isn't against the law. For better or for worse, the corporations are legitimately doing what corporations do-- trying to improve their balance sheets-- and the Saudi government is just doing what oppressive governments do.

      Now all that said, even if it were possible to prosecute the American companies involved, I still don't think that would be a proper reaction to the situation. And I really don't think that would be a good enough excuse for the government to ban distribution of the tool, and ride roughshod over anybody's First Amendment rights.

  • So what do you say we do, Katz? Block companies from producing their software? Block who they sell it to based on an "Internet moral code", as dictated by the U.S. Government?

    Give me a break. Attack the policy of the restrictive nations; don't attack the software makers.

  • With the cost of legally buying software products from the United States and Europe, and with piracy being a very attractive option to Saudis (and citizens of any other country), of course these corporations are willing to donate blocking software to ISPs. It's in their best interest, especially if they are funded by large software corporations like Microsoft.

    Notice how most business and Windows software boxes say "Not for Export". Microsoft sells special localized software to regions such as the Middle East. And guess what, it's more expensive. Big surprise there. And because of this, piracy is a really big problem. Nobody (except the rich princes) is going to spend almost twice as much on their operating system. This is unfair, really. It's the same sort of control that the MPAA has over movies distributed internationally, with price-fixing and such.

    If anything, this should end up promoting open source to these parts of the world. I'm sure there are plenty people who said: "Screw paying Windows, I'm installing Linux." We already have this widespread sentiment in the U.S., where Windows is cheapest. This sentiment is probably amplified elsewhere.

  • There are some real serious underlying issues not mentioned. Basically, is the value of culture relative, or is there some absolute standard? The Saudi people (as mentioned by some other posters) are currently accepting the restrictions placed on them by their government. Theoretically, they could revolt over this issue or any of a number of others, and replace the government with one more appropriate to their desires. In practice this takes a long, long time. Globalization/Globalism (not the same things), may eventually be a force which "helps" this process of building a revolution. It is kinda like potential differences in electrical charge: if the potential gets large enough it breaks through the dialectric and zap - sparks fly! Anyway, in the West, we put a very high value on freedoms. The fact is that I don't feel there is any conclusive evidence that these extreme freedoms are much different philosophically from extreme restrictions: both have some pretty harmful effects and both seem to be okay for the majority of people (note: by extreme restrictions I don't necessarily mean violent oppression). As for the companies selling to the Saudis, if you really don't like it, start a revolution: that's exactly the sort of attitude we often have towards those who are somewhat restricted. Don't forget: you can't have it both ways. Either you have extensive freedom which means that people can support "immoral" goals, or you have restrictions which are going to bug some people.
  • by Dana P'Simer (530866) <dana,psimer&dhptech,com> on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:37PM (#2619449) Journal
    Your point that corporations are to blame for the suppression of information on the internet is based on some false assumptions. First, you assume that what is good for westerners in necessarily good for Arabs. Second, you assume that corporations have an obligation beyond the pursuit of profit. Third, you seem to think that the NET exists because people like you want it to.

    I lived in Saudi Arabia from the age of 9 until I was 20 years old. My father lived there for an additional 7 years. That is from 1977 to 1997. We know Arabs and they are some of the most loving, gracious, and hospitable people in the world. As long as you don't try to change their culture. They are happy to do business with outsiders but the will not allow them to attempt to change their society. You and I agree, freedom is the natural state of humans. Oppression is not moral. However, if you demand that these people to change overnight then they will react violently. The internet would not even be in Saudi Arabia today if it were not for this filtering technology. And keep in mind, it is just technology, the determined mind can find a way around it.

    Corporations exist solely for the production of profit for their shareholders. There is no other reason for their existence. A corporation is like a farm that is owned by several people, they will not continue to operate the farm if it does not produce crops. Likewise corporations. The very fact that a corporation has chosen the internet filtering sector as its market means that the people investing in the corporation and the employees working for it have no compunction against this technology and railing against their attempts to perpetrate that business is useless.

    The NET in it's current form would not exist if it were not for "corporatism". I was on the internet in 1993. I had a shell account, no fancy PPP or SLIP connection, and got my first taste of the Internet's power. But the internet didn't really turn into what it is today until corporations decided it would be a good way to make money by providing internet access to "the masses" and then selling on the internet. Most of the internet users out there got access so that they could access information, mostly provided for profit, that they wanted.

    Idealism is a nice thing as long as it stays out of the real world. As soon as you attempt to apply your idealistic ideas to the real world they break down. No, your morals are not necessarily right for everyone and No, corporations have no other obligation than to make money, and No the internet has not defined purpose, only the purposes we use it for. It is a tool and not an end.

    • You and I agree, freedom is the natural state of humans. Oppression is not moral. However, if you demand that these people to change overnight then they will react violently.

      No, there has been plenty of "overnight change" in the Middle East, most of it for the worse. If you lived there then surely you have read of the region's rich history, when once it was seen as the light of the civilized world. The Middle East has only recently (in thast 100 years or so) turned into such a hotbed of opression, and it all has to do with oil and foreign involvement.

      Idealism is a nice thing as long as it stays out of the real world.

      Where but if not for the real world???

      This is another classic feint of totalitarian regimes - the notion that basic freedoms aren't pragmatic

      • by TheSync (5291)
        The Middle East has only recently (in thast 100 years or so) turned into such a hotbed of opression, and it all has to do with oil and foreign involvement.

        What exactly do you mean? That there used to be Middle Eastern democracies before 100 years ago? That there was "free speech"? That Shariah was not the law of the land? That women had equal rights with men? That Muslims espousing "heretical" views were not put to death before 100 years ago?

        The main difference between now and 100 years ago in the Middle East is that the countries there with oil have more money, which is being distributed in some amounts to the otherwise dirt-poor peasants (making them slightly less than dirt-poor).

        As a side note, I will add that you were much better off as a Jew in an Islamic country than a Christian country in the past (esp. 1400-1600). Jews are probably better off in a Christian country today.
  • At first I thought the word 'corporatist', a label that Jon Katz liberally peppers his articles with, was just a way to add glitz to his editorializing. However, the more I think about it, the more fitting and usefull an adjective I find it to be. Take the root word, corporate, and then ad the 'ist suffix to it and voila!, you've got a handy word that pigeonholes a certain group of people. Individual people I might add, and that's an important distinction because corporations are really just fictional creations used to describe the relationship of certain groups of people to each other and the rest of society. A comparison between corporations and countries would yield the surprising results that many corporations are by far the wealthier and influential of the two in some cases. The more I think of countries and corporations as fictional entities set up to secure the interests of groups of individual people; the more I realize that corporations by design will attempt to make an end run around the democratic principals of nation states.
  • by mttlg (174815) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @12:41PM (#2619483) Homepage Journal
    How dare a country not give its people full access to the internet! What's next, companies that charge monthly fees for an internet connection? We will never be free individuals until every available piece of information is beamed directly into our brains free of charge!

    Seriously though, instead of looking at things from the "Information wants to be free ... or else." perspective, let's start with no access as the reference point. Ok, so these governments are so insecure that they don't trust their people with information about bombs or the water supply or... Oh, sorry, wrong country. Where were we? Right, Saudi Arabia and that bunch. So these governments don't like new ideas. Like it or not, these are independent entities outside the US (or whatever country you are associated with). We can't just go around trying to enforce our laws inside their borders. Wait, sorry about that, apparently we can... Ok, this is getting confusing. The point here is that if a government wants to block information from its people, that's an internal matter for that particular country. We can't force every country to allow access to all information any more than you can demand that your neighbors teach their children all about homosexuality, witchcraft, or Linux. As for American countries selling the tools to block information, they sell the tools that allow your neighbors to block similar information from their children. In both cases, these are areas outside your control, regardless of your opinion on the matter. If your hypothetical neighbors (different ones this time) were forcing their children to participate in the creation of child pornography, you can't just go over there and start beating them up - only the proper authorities can intervene. You can forbid your children from visiting them, you can stop inviting them to your backyard barbecues, and you can refuse to buy those overpriced candy bars that their kids keep selling, but that's about all you can do directly, just like the US isn't in a position to force other governments to treat their people fairly (not that this has ever stopped the US government, but in theory...) - that's a job for a global governmental body.

    On the bright side, at least the people in these countries have some access to the internet. Without these "filtering" systems, there might just be a Taliban-style ban (of course, that could be on the way, but taking things away tends to upset people more than not giving them something they never had in the first place). Whether or not that is acceptable is up to the people in those countries, not us. We can't just force our way over there and impose our values on them (well, we could, but that sort of thing doesn't usually go over too well), and we can't ban companies from helping other countries do something we allow our citizens to do to people under their control (again, we could, but that wouldn't make much sense, not that export controls have to make sense). What was the question again? Was there even a point in the first place other than the whole misguided "information wants to be free" type of complaining about limiting access to information?

  • You cannot just issue a fiat and make something nice. That would be like passing a law mandating the admiration of bill clinton, bill gates, or george bush.

    The only really effective way to handle all of this is to get through to people on a one by one basis. This makes it difficult as the task is enormous.

    There are also the subtle points made in this article I cames across on Jefferson and his slaves [zolatimes.com]

    Jefferson, looking at the history of Revolutions and the later confirming experiences of the French revolutionary disaster, understood well with his contemporaries the subtle danger. A serf's idea of freedom is not to sit at his homestead, polishing his gun, saving his wealth while his son read Milton. His idea of freedom was to enslave someone else. His idea of democracy was the government as feudal lord, providing all needs, just nicer and with an occasional say.

    the article is providing me much food for thought on many levels.

    Because this precise issue is what we are encountering in the internet around the world, where some people's idea of freedom = they can be the dictator.

    Because they have never figured out what it is to be a truly free person. They do not know what a true culture of freedom is.

  • I agree (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Pituritus Ani (247728)
    People are giving the /. editor that posted this article a bunch of crap because these people are just trying to make a buck. Take a minute and think about whether you would be where you are today without the free availability of technical knowledge that's a direct result of the free speech most of you enjoy.

    Now picture yourself as the technically knowledgeable person you are, except that you're making ph@t bux under contract to one of these scum multinationals, helping to censor the Net in China or Saudi Arabia.

    If you're not repulsed by that, you should be up against the wall with these traitors to humanity come the revolution.

  • "This is a significant blow to the notion that technology will forge a more open world. And it might not be all that distant a threat. We have plenty of zealots and fanatics right here..."

    Hate to say it, Jon, but technology is value-neutral. It has no master plan. It has no ideology. It is created, used, adapted, modified, deified, and villified by humans.

    Perhaps some of those humans place too little credence in the democratizing powers of technology, perhaps some place too much ;-).

  • The poor poor "globalism" horse. Its been beaten, shaven, racked, hung, torchered, beheaded, quartered, and the various body parts buried in unmarked gravies in various countries around the globe (no pun intended).

    Now the important question. Since when is globalism (and most of politics, for that matter) news for nerds? Seriously, this isn't your average slashbot katz bitch. Can we switch to something more technical? Between globalism and the infamous "email from kabul" (that Katz STILL hasn't proven is real), there isn't much. I'd like to hear something along the lines of the From the Hellmouth series, but, Jon, you're starting to venture off into the non-nerd areas.

    That's not what we want here. You aren't getting many pro-active posts like you usually do, which should prove that you are venturing into the danger zone of journalism.

    Lets talk about something technical next time(with links, so we can see your background and were the info and facts are coming from).
  • ...and what you're dealing with is a cultural reaction. Cultural conflicts (or civilizational conflicts depending on the scale) are the norm in today's society. The Saudi government is doing what it feels is best for its people's & its stability based on its culture. (i.e its traditions, religions, etc.) China, other Muslim govenments will follow suit. All "the net" embodies is a new technology, as such, it will be used by cultures differently.

    To see a more thorough argument read some of Samuel P Huntington's work [coloradocollege.edu]

  • When if first heard about this 3 years ago i was amazed. One finnish company is behind all of the infrastructure and filtering in Saudi Arabia. Well good for them but i would have thought that noone in Finland would have that kind of greed for money to start business so unethnical. Well ofcourse this is just my point of view but still ...

    But anyway, the company behind this is Nixu OY. Feel free to /. their servers [www.nixu.fi] to oblivion!

  • Although it may seem counter-intuitive and it certainly offends the sensibilities of social libertarians, filtering software actually encourages the use of the net.

    Without filtering technology to make the internet a little more palatable, many countries might be tempted to ban it altogether.

  • The reason money will always win out is corporatism, which subverts almost every other value in the name of profit

    I'm curious to know what values AREN'T subverted by corporate greed?

    I certainly can't think of one.

    Rich...
  • Readers of this thread might want to take a look at my essay:

    Thoughts On Winning An EFF Pioneer Award [sethf.com]

    I discuss a similar theme, but from the perspective of having been on the Internet for since the early 1980's (that's 1980's), and having done quite a bit against censorware.

    There's an interesting contrast from my programmer/activist writing, and Katz's journalistic style.

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]

  • I wouldn't have a moral issue if I was offered a job make a program that blocks users from acessing information on the internet. Although I beleave that people have the right to read the information. But it is not nessarary good for every country. The First Admenment only aplies to the laws of the United States not for other countries. Other may choose free speach and others may not. And their are logical political desisions for choosing one or the other. Free Speach has its benifits and the concequences. Other countries have goverment with more restriced free speach that allowed for a different set of Beneifits and Concequences. The most basic function of a government is to protect its citizans. And full access to the Internet gives people information that is or could become harmful in their own opionion. So they choose to block the information in an attempt to keep the population safe and the government stable. Free Speach worked great in America but giving it to cultures that is not use to all the information could be harmful. To put it in more geeky terms it is like the decisions you make when setting up a network. for a school enviroment. Do you want the network to have tight security and only allow the students to do what they are expeced to do on the network thus reducing the chances apps being broken and easier long term administration so the computers are available to more people because of less downtime for resintalling the system. Or have the systems in a more open type where the students are allowed to explore and learn past what is expected of them although it risks higher chance of your network being hacked or programs breaking on you and a bunch of silly apps installed on the system filling up space. It is all about choosing the benifits over the conquences.
  • by HanzoSan (251665) on Tuesday November 27, 2001 @01:42PM (#2619906) Homepage Journal


    I think USA should not try to force every country to be like US. You see, Thats why people like bin laden hate us, not because we are free, but because we try to force other countries to be like us.

    I say let China be China, eventually they'll find an identity, and become a more free nation, yet presure their culture.

    You see, China thinks Culture is more valueable than freedom. Sometimes the cost of freedom, is the destruction of culture.

    Chinas Culture according to older Chinese government people, is becoming too American. They dont want China to become like America, They want China to be China. I respect them for that, If they want to censor the internet, and seperate the internet so they have their own Chinese internet, They have a right to do this, This is the kinda freedom that they want. They want to be independent, not depend on the USA for ANYTHING.

    When you understand this, You'll have respect for China even if you may not want to live in their country, you can look at China and see the culture wasnt completely ruined by American Capitalism like some other countries we can take a look at.

    Such as Africa, Japan, a few places in the middle east, If you look at these countries, they are slowly morphing into a smaller version of America.

    Perhaps some country dont WANT this?

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