FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Dirty Words

Chinese bloggers using Microsoft's MSN Spaces service in its MSN China portal had better watch their language. In addition to obscenities and sexual references, the Chinese government is banning the use of such "forbidden" words and phrases as "democracy," "human rights," and "freedom."

Microsoft has been cooperating with Chinese authorities in imposing this censorship in its portal and blog service, which launched in late May and now hosts 5 million blogs. Yahoo! and Google have similarly cooperated with the Chinese government, filtering out references to the Dalai Lama and the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Authorities in China do not take these matters lightly, as violation of censorship rules can result in serious jail time.

Like most other technically advanced nations, China wants to leverage the Internet for education and business purposes. However, it will be increasingly difficult for China to reconcile those goals with its blockades on free speech.

Source: AP (Excite)