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Yahoo China has the Worst Filtering Policy

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the bad-image dept.

184

rmunaval writes "Reporters Without Borders has an article on search-result censorship in China by different companies. The conclusion was made based on six politically sensitive keywords. A search on yahoo.cn resulted in 97% pro-Beijing results compared to 83% on google.cn and 78% on msn.cn." From the article: "[Yahoo!] is therefore censoring more than its Chinese competitor Baidu. Above all, the organisation was able to show that requests using certain terms, such as 6-4 (4 June, date of the Tiananmen Square massacre), or 'Tibet independence', temporarily blocked the search tool. If you type in one of these terms on the search tool, first you receive an error message. If you then go back to make a new request, even with a neutral key word, yahoo.cn refuses to respond."

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fp (-1, Troll)

TheSalzar (945163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549582)

first post Freedom wins anotha

On the third try... (3, Insightful)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549586)

It acts like it will respond, but in reality it is notifying police that people are trying get information.

Re:On the third try... (0, Offtopic)

Hamilton Publius (909539) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549651)

High Gas Prices Courtesy of Environmental Rhetoric
by Alan Caruba (June 16, 2006)

As the price of gasoline and the myriad products that utilize petroleum in their manufacture rises, Americans are going to ask why the Congress has resisted accessing the billions of barrels' worth of oil and natural gas in our offshore continental shelf.

As the realization of how dependent we are on the importation of Middle Eastern oil, plus the fact that U.S. dollars fund avowed enemies such as Iran and, in South America, Venezuela, Americans are going to ask why we do not tap our own Alaskan and offshore resources.

As a matter of national security and as a significant boost to the American economy, it makes no sense to not assure and achieve a higher level of energy independence.

So why, in mid-May, did the House of Representatives reject an end to the quarter-century ban on oil and natural gas drilling in 85 percent of America's coastal waters?

At the time, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, issued a statement that both defied logic and flatout lied, saying the vote against offshore drilling was great victory for consumers who have seen prices rise prodigiously. "In the meantime, working families are turning their wallets inside out to fill their gas tanks. It is outrageous to ask families to dig even deeper to subsidize oil drilling on undersea lands that belong to the American people."

Americans are paying more because the global price of a barrel of oil has been increased by fears of military conflict in the Middle East, probably initiated by Iran.

Americans are paying more because, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina and other hurricanes destroyed 115 oil platforms and damaged another 50, along with 183 pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and refineries in Louisiana. Despite this, the U.S. Mineral Management Service (MMS) reported that there were no significant oil spills from offshore platforms and no oil reached the coastline.

And, no, Americans do not "subsidize" oil drilling. Pelosi's boogeyman of "Big Oil." Indeed, as a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration noted in 2005, the MMS "collects and disperses billions of dollars in revenue from the sale of mineral leases. Offshore leases brought in revenues of $5.2 billion in 2000. This represents 73.1 percent of the $7.1 billion in revenues collected from all Federal and American Indian mineral leases that year."

As for those big profits enjoyed by "Big Oil", it's worth noting that a single offshore drilling platform costs about $100 million dollars to build and that comes after the equally enormous costs of exploring for oil and natural gas resources. And "Big Oil" not only pays big taxes on its profits, but also employs thousands of Americans in the process.

According to the Consumer Alliance for Energy Security, the Offshore Continental Shelf (OCS)--85 percent of which is off-limits to exploration--is estimated to have enough natural gas to heat 100 million homes for the next 60 years and enough oil to drive 85 million cars for 35 years. Thanks to the vote in the House, it remains off-limits.

When the House of Representatives voted to open the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling in late May, Rep. Pelosi again issued a statement decrying "the same, tired ideas on energy such as opening the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. We should not sacrifice the Arctic coastal plain, one of America's last truly wild places, for the sake of a small amount of oil."

Small? Well, if anyone considers an estimated 10.4 billion barrels to the nation's oil supply "small", then one wonders what they consider large? The vote was 225 to 201. In truth, only 2,000 of the nearly 20 million acres of ANWR would be needed for oil and gas production, contributing billions in tax revenue, and creating or sustaining thousands of American jobs.

Opening ANWR and the Offshore Continental Shelf would bring many benefits. Put simply, more oil and natural gas means lower prices. With it come greater national security and more independence from the vagaries of Middle Eastern politics.

Speaking for the Democrats and echoing the cries of environmental organizations opposed to energy independence, Rep. Pelosi called for "home-grown renewable energy, innovative technologies, and efficient use of energy in our homes, vehicles, workplaces, and factories." Blah, blah, blah!

This is the kind of empty environmental rhetoric that has left Americans paying higher prices for oil and natural gas than ever before. It posits the use of wind and solar energy on a scale that is neither viable, nor realistic because neither will ever produce enough energy to replace conventional sources.

Rep. Pelosi said that, "America's farmers will fuel our energy independence", apparently by "rapidly expand[ing] the production and distribution of biofuels, encourage[ing] the deployment of new engine technologies for flex fuel, hybrid and biodiesel vehicles; and encourage[ing] cutting-edge research to develop the next revolution in renewable energy."

The notion that America or any of the other industrialized nations of the world will be able to depend on energy sources from corn and other agricultural products in the near future is absurd. Moreover, it ignores the vast reserves of known and yet to be discovered of oil and natural gas that exist.

The problem, of course, is getting Congress to permit America to actually access its own resources! The effort to open a relatively small portion of ANWR has been stalled for three decades. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act was passed in 1953! It authorized the Department of the Interior to lease defined areas for development. According to the Energy Information Administration, "The offshore has accounted for about one-quarter of total U.S. natural gas production over the past two decades and almost 30 percent of total U.S. oil production in recent years."

"In 2003, MMS estimated that there was 406.1 trillion cubic feet of remaining undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas and 76 billion barrels of oil in U.S. offshore regions."

So why, in 1990, did former President George Walker Bush enact a blanket moratorium on all unleased areas offshore of North and Central California, Southern California except for 87 tracts, Washington, Oregon, the North Atlantic coast, and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico coast? The moratorium was extended in 1998 by former President Clinton through 2012.

Why has the Congress of the United States refused to permit the exploration and extraction of our nation's own natural gas and oil resources? Why does a coalition of 27 of the nation's leading environmental organizations continue to campaign against access? And why do ordinary Slashdot readers have to remain at the mercy of Middle Eastern nations and major suppliers like Venezuela?

There are literally trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and billions of oil barrels extant in the offshore continental coast of the United States. Every day on 4,000 offshore platforms natural gas and oil is extracted from Federal waters in an "environmentally sensitive" manner.

There is an extremely dangerous game being played by the White House, Congress, and environmental organizations that is placing the economy and the security of America at great risk. If energy independence is what this nation needs--and it does--it is ours for the taking.

Re:On the third try... (2, Interesting)

wr0x2 (840346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549726)

You realize what bullshit this is, right? They have millions of internet users, and a huge number of such requests each day. The only possible course of action to take against users searching for this stuff is timing out their requests for a while.

Re:On the third try... (1, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549888)

The only possible course of action to take against users searching for this stuff is timing out their requests for a while.

Or they could simply allow the search.

Re:On the third try... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550230)

It takes practically no time to reject a search that matches "naughty" keywords. This is a non-issue. In fact you could probably hardcode them, and keep them in memory all the time, so you don't even have to load anything but the filter code (assuming THAT isn't persistent) to filter requests. Hopefully it's ALL persistent, with some kind of database caching mechanism to speed things up ANYWAY - so there's REALLY no reason they should be denying subsequent, non-filtered-keyword requests.

Re:On the third try... (1, Informative)

Sexy Commando (612371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549874)

I think it's the Great Firewall that's doing the blocking, not Yahoo, according to the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] . Basically TGF sniffs all HTTP packats and attempt to find sensitive keywords in strings and put the IP on temporary blacklist for 30 min. or so.

Re:On the third try... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15549965)

It acts like it will respond, but in reality it is notifying police that people are trying get information.

Wait, are you describing yahoo! in China, or a White House press conference?

Got to stay competitive. (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550041)

[Yahoo!] is therefore censoring more than its Chinese competitor Baidu.

That's would be like IBM packaging a can of Zyclon B with every punchcard machine sale to the Nazis [bookreporter.com]

GET OUT OF MY STORE!!!!! (1)

Dragoonkain (704719) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549593)

YOU GO NOW!!!

'Worst' Filtering policy (0, Troll)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549596)

Or is it really the best? ;)

OB: Invader Zim (1)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549622)

ZIM: Well, after I was done with my rampage I put the fires out.
TALLEST: You made them worse!
ZIM: Worse... or better?

Re:OB: Invader Zim (CORRECT Zim quote) (1)

SirTalon42 (751509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550060)

Zim: I put the fires out!
Red Tallest: You made them worse!
Zim: Worse... or better?

Re:'Worst' Filtering policy (1)

Zarel (900479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549625)

According to the article, it seems like it's the best, with the least number of "unauthorized" results. One has to wonder how they decide what is "unauthorized" and what is "authorized", though. Do they call the government and ask "Hey, will you tell me if I should look at $PRODEMOCRACY_WEBSITE?"

Re:'Worst' Filtering policy (3, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549796)

One has to wonder how they decide what is "unauthorized" and what is "authorized", though

The government in China deliberately doesn't specify exactly what is illegal. It's far more effective for ISPs, newspapers, tv producers to overcompensate in censoring themselves knowing that failing to do so will likely lead to their imprisonment or execution.

Re:'Worst' Filtering policy (5, Funny)

B1ackDragon (543470) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549763)

Yeah, as much as I'm tempted to say that Yahoo is 16% more evil than Google, I think it's more likely that they are equally evil - Yahoo is just more competent at it.

Unless of course, Google's poor censorship is on purpose, and it's their way of bringing freedom to the area. Then um, way to go?

Re:'Worst' Filtering policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550307)

Unless of course, Google's poor censorship is on purpose, and it's their way of bringing freedom to the area. Then um, way to go?

Which is exactly what Google's policy happens to be. They're doing the minimum required by Chinese law and even letting the Chinese know when and why the results have been censored.

Re:'Worst' Filtering policy (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549977)

Worst ? Best ?

It's really the same once you're accounting for PR spin.
Yahoo is the worst filter as XP SP2 has the best firewall. :)

Serves them right... (0, Troll)

RISTMO (926726) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549604)

That's what they get for not doing 4-6 (for June 4th) like the rest of the world...

WoW (0, Troll)

earthstar (748263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549608)

Wow!
What policies Yahoo has for China ! Super censorship!
Couple this with my Sig link - Giving away emailers to Govt !!!
Uber "******" !

Olympics (5, Interesting)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549610)

It will be very interesting to see what happens during the 2008 Olympics when a ton of Westerners are getting their internet gimped. I wonder if China will have free internet zones to avoid bad press.

Re:Olympics (5, Insightful)

Zarel (900479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549706)

Considering the number of Westerners that actually want to search for things like "freedom" and "democracy" (as opposed to, say, "porn"), I'd say very few will notice.

Re:Olympics (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550017)

Ah, but what about "olympics+porn" (go ahead, try it. I won't tell), or. . . "olympics+pepsi+burger king"?

There may be method in the IOCs madness.

KFG

Re:Olympics (2, Insightful)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549805)

It will be very interesting to see what happens during the 2008 Olympics when a ton of Westerners are getting their internet gimped.

My guess is that they'll set up unfiltered internet cafes in Olympic venues that are only for access by Olympic staff, athletes, and foreign visitors . They'll keep Chinese nationals out of them. It wouldn't be all that difficult for a communist government to restrict access, especially considering the security that Olympic venues typically have.

Re:Olympics (2, Insightful)

Charmless1 (887381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549819)

I don't think they are particularly worried about bad press. Isn't that what they censor out anyway?

Re:Olympics (3, Informative)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549828)

It will be very interesting to see what happens during the 2008 Olympics when a ton of Westerners are getting their internet gimped

Who else will be there, really, except reporters and the athletes? I don't anticipate the Jones family in Oaklahoma getting a cornsitter for the farm and heading off to Beijing to see how the East makes flapjacks.

Reporters likely know to tread lightly already, and I'm sure the athletes have to go to some workshop before the whole thing starts titled "Don't do any of these things in country X or you will be killed."

Re:Olympics (1)

tutori (821667) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549970)

Reporters likely know to tread lightly already
Sure.... I'm sure there will be situations with this. They probably won't involve mainstream press, but there will be someone. Remember, reporters don't just come from the US.

Who else will be there, really, except reporters and the athletes?
Well, I would like to go to the Olympics sometime. I don't know if I would go to them in China or not, but if some people I know are competing, it's certainly possible.

Wow (4, Interesting)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549613)

Every once in a while I think censorship has gotten bad here in the USA.
Try searching "Tiananmen Square" on yahoo.cn and compare to yahoo.com.

If I had more bandwidth, I'd gladly put up a proxy for these folks.

Re:Wow (1)

b0wl0fud0n (887462) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549654)

Don't worry about setting up a proxy for the Chinese, most of them already know how to get around the system.

Re:Wow (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549928)

Actually, based on the reports I've read, the majority of Chinese internet users don't care. They search for information on freedom and democracy about as often as the average American, which is to say, not very often.

I would bet that if anything bothers the average Chinese internet user, it's probably the censorship of porn, not political speech.

There are methods available today by which most people with half a brain could circumvent the Chinese authorities and read Western information sources, write blogs, etc. But the great majority of Chinese internet users, just like their American and European counterparts, are probably more interested in searching for the latest information on pop stars and movies than they are in reading some dissident's blog.

Availibility of information is the easy part, compared with getting people interested in reading it.

Re:Wow (0)

Zarel (900479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549684)

What are you talking about? The first result I get when searching "tiananmen square" in Yahoo.com is 'Wikipedia: Tiananmen Square protests of 1989' compared to yahoo.cn, which is '' (Tiananmen regional administration committee). Neither one appears censored.

Errr... Weird I can get refrences to the massacre (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549765)

Weird... I can actually get refrences to the massacre using Yahoo China by searching Tianenmen Square massacre.

Re:Wow (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549790)

I think you'll be hardpressed to find a Chinamen that gives a damn (and that wouldn't turn you in for doing so).

It should also be noted that our results here in the US are also censored.

Re:Wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15549938)

fine then, please demonstrate how our results are censored. Oh wait, that's right, they aren't. You're talking about Chinese government censorship as the same thing as FOX or CNN putting pro-US slant on things. That doesn't mean I can't search for and find anyhting I want on the interent.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549803)

This could be an issue of cultural bias, not censorship. In the English speaking west, the only thing we know about Tiananmen Square is that major pro-democracy protests occured there in 1989. To Chinese people it has a much broader significance, and the protests are only one of many notable aspects of the Square (including the fact that it is the largest public square in the world).

Perhaps a Chinese person could come to the conclusion that the US government is censoring information about the civil rights movement, because when "Lincoln Memorial" is typed into google.com, there is no mention of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech in the top results.

Re:Wow (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549845)

Mod parent up. This is closer to what's actually happening--the 1989 massacre shows up in Google image results once you get past the first page or two. You'd be hard-pressed to find any Chinese citizen who doesn't know about the 1989 events and wouldn't know where to find information on it.

Re:Wow (1)

blibbler (15793) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549943)

Another example is the results if you search for Nagasaki on google.com compared to google.co.jp
In Japan, people know of it as a city, while people outside of Japan generally only know of it as the second victim of the nuke.

A Problem of Specificity (1)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550020)

Perhaps a Chinese person could come to the conclusion that the US government is censoring information about the civil rights movement, because when "Lincoln Memorial" is typed into google.com, there is no mention of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech in the top results.

Point of information...

If you put in "Lincoln Memorial" as the Google search, you get all manner of results (and as others pointed out, the Martin Luther King search result is a few pages in). But... if you phrase the search as "Lincoln Memorial" speech, the MLK speech is the top result. And the same is true of google.cn.

Re:Wow (1, Insightful)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550090)

Perhaps a Chinese person could come to the conclusion that the US government is censoring information about the civil rights movement, because when "Lincoln Memorial" is typed into google.com, there is no mention of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech in the top results.

That sounds like a bit of a stretch to me. Probably the closest equivalent to Tiananmen Square in the U.S. would be Kent State, and when I type that into google I get refrences to the university but many more to the shootings. Searching "google images" for Kent State gives lots of pictures of the incident.

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

reddeno (155457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549843)

I would like to propose an addendum to Godwin's law, whereby all references to Tiananmen Square with respect to search engines immediately ends the thread, and whoever mentioned Tiananmen Square automatically loses any debate in progress.

Re:Wow (0, Troll)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549903)

I don't think you understand godwin's law at all. Or for that matter what a physical law is, which is what "godwin's law" is a tongue-in-cheek example of.

Re:Wow (1)

reddeno (155457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549955)

Okay, I'm not sure it really matters. But yes, not the law per se, but one of the "corollaries and usages," as Wikipedia puts it:

"There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress."

So, however I should label it, that's what I want.

Have a good one.

Re:Wow (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549858)

Sure the returns are different, but top link on yahoo.cn for ["Tiananmen Square" massacre] [blogchina.com] is enough information to start someone thinking.

So I'm a little doubtful that these changes are dramatically affecting the mindset of the Chinese population. Like I've heard in interviews before "If you want to read it, you can find it".

Re:Wow (2, Interesting)

GbrDead (702506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550259)

Your comparison reminds me of an old joke we had here during the totalitarism:

An American and a Bulgarian are talking. The American says:
-Here, in the USA, we are really free. For example, I can go just in front of the White House, and shout: "Down with Ronald Reagan!", and nothing bad will happen to me.
-Oh, the same here: I can go just in front of the Party Central, and shout: "Down with Ronald Reagan!".

It is sad what has happened to the USA...

Re:Wow (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550300)

Does anyone know where we can find the pictures for $LATEST_ATROCITIES by $WESTERN_COUNTRY in $THIRDWORLD_COUNTRY? Or has that government still not released them in fear of outrage about them?

6-4 (3, Funny)

BigNumber (457893) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549615)

That's odd... at google.cn 6-4 says 6-4=2.

I can't find a flaw in that.

Re:6-4 (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549767)

In China, if you want to say some one is stupid plus a little bit of foolhardy, you can call that guy "2", which is simplified from "250, er-bai-wu".

Censoring? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15549621)

"[Yahoo!] is therefore censoring more than its Chinese competitor Baidu. Above all, the organisation was able to show that requests using certain terms, such as 6-4 (4 June, date of the Tiananmen Square massacre), or 'Tibet independence', temporarily blocked the search tool. If you type in one of these terms on the search tool, first you receive an error message. If you then go back to make a new request, even with a neutral key word, yahoo.cn refuses to respond."
Actually, I think that's just how Yahoo! works in general.

Huh? Try it yourself. (1)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550141)

I went to yahoo.cn, which redirected me to cn.yahoo.com, and typed in "tibet independence" and it gave me a 7,690 hits [yahoo.com] . There were a lot of .cn domains and also some .orgs and .coms, but nothing seemed particularly "pro-Bejing." It certainly didn't block the site.

Meanwhile, a search on yahoo.com for the same term yielded 877,000 hits. I guess I don't understand how they qualified what's pro-Bejing or quantified their censorship rate, but I would tend to think my own query was affected by possible differences in their search algorithm based on language and my use of english characters on the chinese site more than by censorship.

Note that I'm not saying Yahoo isn't censoring searches, and perhaps they're treating IP's registered in the US different than Chinese addresses, but something about this study doesn't seem right.

Look behind the headlines (5, Informative)

b0wl0fud0n (887462) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549630)

Yahoo may not intentionally be setting a strict policy towards censorship. You have to consider how the Chinese state is run. The Communist Party is an exclusive group of members who actively recruit in order to increase their influence over the population.

During China's rapid economic growth as a result of foreign investment and a move towards a free market economy, the Communist Party was unable to cope with the rapidly changing environment and failed to make the transition into this environment and continued to recruit amongst traditional areas of the Chinese economy.

Thus this created serious problems since Communist Party penetration in privately owned companies to less than one percent. This generated tremendous amounts of fear within the organization since they realized that they were falling behind on the times and needed to aggressively recruit from the educated portions of the population.

Without new recruits within the new economy, the hold of the Communist Party on the population would be significantly weakened. A significant problem since the Communist Party's right to rule is derived from mostly propaganda and peer pressure. Few people feel like protesting the government because Chinese culture derives it's strength through strength by numbers. Belonging to a group is especially important to Chinese people and by going against the government, you suffer severe consequences socially, economically, etc.... You can easily see how the lack of Communist Party members within the richest and most profitable portions of the workforce could become a problem.

One of the reasons why Communist Party membership penetration amongst the workforce was so low in privately owned businesses was because of a lack of recruitment amongst the intellectuals in the country. The educated group has always been shunned by the Communist Party throughout it's existence (ie Cultural Revolution/Tianamen/Hundred Flowers Campaign). However, when Communist Party members began to leave their posts to work for private corporations, the party was forced to change and the Communist Party began significantly recruiting from intellectuals. Since this movement started, Communist Party penetration has now grown to the 5-6% range within privately owned companies (although many neglect their duties and fail to pay their dues).

My bet is that the Communist Party specifically targeted Yahoo when they were recruiting for new Communist Party members in order to create an internal system to maintain control and ensure that Yahoo, as a foreign privately owned company, wouldn't go too far out of line of Communist Party doctrine. There isn't much that Yahoo can do as a foreign company can do to change the internal culture of their Chinese employee workforce. You can't fight against the Chinese government.

Re:Look behind the headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15549785)

> You can't fight against the Chinese government.

Which is exactly why we must.

Although, it is the Chinese people in China who need to do this, while we Americans work to ensure that we don't follow the path China did to get where it is today...

Re:Look behind the headlines (1, Insightful)

r_naked (150044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549837)

You need to worry about what is happening in America before you go and worry about anymore foreign "problems".

If something isn't done soon, we (as American's) will have to turn to Russia or Cuba for help with our oppresive regime.

Don't be blind to what is happening in your own backyard.

--PEACE!

Re:Look behind the headlines (3, Insightful)

TheBogie (941620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549878)

You will know it is as bad here as it is in china when you look down and see a car battery attached to your nuts. Until then, I think things here in the US are better than china.

Don't be blind to what is happening in your own pants.

Re:Look behind the headlines (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549822)

I'm sure some of what you say is correct, it certainly makes sense. The only problem is that there is no choice but to fight the Chinese government when they commit so many humanitarian crimes. Yahoo has already aided the Chinese government in capitol punishment of those who speak against the norm. It's one thing to deny information from the public, but it's even worse to jail/torture/kill those who use their voice.

If yahoo cannot control their subsidiary company in China, they should formally separate themselves from central control in the US. The risk of being tried for humanitarian crimes here in the United States should outweigh executive loyalty to working stiffs in China. It's unlikely that yahoo execs are that stupid, so they probably support the Chinese government's totalitarian actions.

Re:Look behind the headlines (5, Insightful)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549911)

There are those in Europe who believe America's habit of capital punishment is morally wrong, and a grave humanitarian injustice (and I'd be inclined to agree). But suppose you testified in a capital case, and your testimony helped send the defendant to the gurney. Next time you fly into Heathrow, do you think you should you be pulled aside, shackled, and tried in the Queen's court of law? Or would you appeal to the fact that what Europe considers morally wrong isn't the same as what America considers morally wrong?

Re:Look behind the headlines (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549950)

You misunderstand. Yahoo is run by Execs in the US. The execs would be fined or taken to court in the United States because they do their business here. I do understand the French citizens find Americans very disturbing and act very rudely to american tourists. I guess it's inevitable for countries of polar opinions to not get along. The only reason that Yahoo execs get away with murder is because they have a ton of money and are therefor above the law. (See Lay, Simpson, etc).

Re:Look behind the headlines (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550033)

Yes, but I can step off a plane in Paris without fearing for my essential liberty. I'm not going to get dragged to the Bastille for having contributed (via testimony) to the state-sanctioned murder of a mentally handicapped person in Texas. What you're suggesting is much the same--that Yahoo's executives ought to be brought to justice here for things which we consider unjust, but which aren't necessarily considered unjust in the jurisdiction where they occurred.

Re:Look behind the headlines (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550254)

Yes, but I can step off a plane in Paris without fearing for my essential liberty. I'm not going to get dragged to the Bastille for having contributed (via testimony) to the state-sanctioned murder of a mentally handicapped person in Texas. What you're suggesting is much the same--that Yahoo's executives ought to be brought to justice here for things which we consider unjust, but which aren't necessarily considered unjust in the jurisdiction where they occurred.

IANAL, but just to play devil's advocate, one could take the stance that what happened in the US, what Yahoo's US execs themselves did, is the aiding and abetting of, possibly including conspiracy to ________ (have a lawyer fill in the blank). This much can be shown to have occurred on US soil, and as such would (at least theoretically) be prosecutable in US courts.

But it is very worth emphasizing the parent's point -- Person A should not be legally liable in Country B for actions performed in Country C. If you want to go after Yahoo's execs this way, find something they've done in the US. The censoring itself is happening in China, carried out by order of the Chinese government (AFIACT); any political imprisonment and / or execution is happening in China, carried out by the Chinese government. Inasmuch as sovereignty means anything in international law (another subject entirely for exploration elsewhere), the US courts can't do diddly about these things. They might be able to take on contributory actions carried out by people in the US -- but this is something that a lawyer would have to look into.

Re:Look behind the headlines (2, Insightful)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549941)

Yahoo could refuse to provide the censored service. Or to be more accurate,it could if it were a human being. Since Yahoo is a corporation with no ulterior motive beyond the bottom line, ofcourse it will cooperate. Whereever the money is, Yahoo will follow. Plain and simple. Yahoo doesn't need to be in China, it went there seeking RICHES. It went to satisfy GREED.

You'll never see a corporation sacrifice its life for the greater good. Put up its very existence in front of a military battle tank simply to make a point that death is better than life as a slave. Corporations feel no remorse and no shame. CEO's are bound by law to seek maximum profits and put their personal feelings aside.

That so many people are dumbed into thinking corporations have HUMAN RIGHTS is utterly appalling.

By aiding and abetting the continuance of the Chinese Communist Party, Yahoo as an organization is just as condemnable as the communist party of China is. Its shareholders are as members of the Chinese Communist Party, all jointly responsible for the human rights violations taking place there. Doesn't Yahoo seek the exact same thing the Chinese Communist Party seeks? (POWER)

If Yahoo wants to help the people of China break free of bondage, then why does it try to blind them to the truth which the communist party so desperately wants to hide?

Which one is worse? The executives at YAHOO know what freedom feels like. At least some of the Chinese Communist Party members have been oppressed for so long they may genuinely believe that absolute supression of individual human rights to the state is justifiable.

This post is not merely directed at YAHOO but at the very institution of the corporation itself.

Unless a corporation has embedded human rights in its shareholder agreement (have any as of this date?) then it is legally bound to treat human rights as nothing more than a Public relations matter. Whatever a corporation says about CARING about anything. Don't buy it for a second. It isn't legally permitted to CARE about anything except self-interest (and anything else the shareholders agree to in the shareholder agreement).

Sound familiar anyone? (0, Flamebait)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549966)

I was curious about the "hundred flowers" bit you cited, as I'd never heard of it. Wikipedia to the rescue (of my hideously bad middle-school/high-school education, which consisted mostly of "HOLOCOST BAD, REALLY REALLY REALLY BAD" and the US Civil war. (Vietnam war? Haha. Not even -mentioned-. And this was in the mid 90's!)

After the campaign was officially declared over, Mao's resentment for the intellectual population had accumulated. Continuing with an Anti-Rightist Movement he had began a few years previous, he reasoned that the intellectuals were the basis of all existing problems. Mao ordered arrests of counter-revolutionaries on the basis of their letters and punished many harshly, using torture and capital punishment without any form of trial.

Why could I not help but think of the (Bush) White House choke-hold on scientists (literally- someone in the White House censors anything put out by gov't scientists on Global Warming), its favoring of religion over science, and its (or rather the GOP's) constant screaming about how the "liberals" (ie, educated, intelligent, fairly secular people) are out to destroy "the country".

Oh, and the bit about "torture and capital punishment without any form of trial" kinda hit the point home. Granted Bush hasn't gone any massive "cultural" "purges", but it kind of makes you wonder...

Re:Sound familiar anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550038)

massive "cultural" "purges"

Those will come with the next Clinton presidency. It will be ok though, because it will be the gun-toting-right-wing that will be purged.

Very familiar; give it a rest. (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550133)

If you really think that anything going on today in the U.S. is comparable to Hundred Flowers, you should do a bit more reading. Or do whatever else is required to gain some perspective; there's a fundamental difference between discouraging someone from saying something because it's politically expedient, and dragging them off in the middle of the night and torturing them to death.

I admit, I've engaged in some karma-whore Bush-bashing from time to time as well. He's an easy target, and a lot of the stuff that's gone on recently is easy fodder for tinfoil-hat comparisons. But to seriously compare anything that's going on right now to the Chinese under Mao, Cambodia under Pol Pot, Russia under Stalin, or Germany under Hitler, is not only to show your own ignorance and lack of appreciation of scale and perspective, but also to do a disservice to those historical events, by comparing them to something that's quite frankly so trivial in relative impact and suffering.

If you wanted to compare what's going on today to the chilling effect during the 50's Red Scare, or something of similar scale internationally, then I would agree with you that such a comparison is probably apt, or at least closer to being apt than U.S. v. China/Germany/USSR/etc. comparisons are.

Drawing parallels between the U.S. today and actual fascist (whether leftist or rightist) regimes are nothing more than a cheap shot, and intellectually dishonest.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15549638)

Google is more evil than Microsoft in China? Or is it that Yahoo has better code than Google, and Google has better code than Microsoft?

Blocking Is Easy (3, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549643)

Well, Yahoo! (and the others) are just following the money. And of course cutting stuff out of returned search results is probably not very hard to do, if you really don't care about unintentionally blocking other stuff. We can all be pretty sure that the saavy Chinese internet user knows that the results they get back are censored. It's too bad that U.S. based companies have to be such willing participants. But hey, they're just in it for the money like any for profit corporation. Just stating the obvious...

Ahh Freedom (0, Flamebait)

dunezone (899268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549644)

China: Filthy Democracy! You have no respect for us Chinese! Democracy: He ripped my arms off! China: Shut up! I didn't rip them! Republic: China, your making it worse. China: Go back to your strip malls... where values are king.

Re:Ahh Freedom (1)

zelnot (689414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549752)

I don't know if the ATHF reference is really applicable, unless yahoo is peeling skin off of chinese people to record search results.

North Korea has them all beat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15549673)

North Korea has them all beat.

Yet another anti-China news item (0, Flamebait)

Pao|o (92817) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549677)

Blah blah... Yahoo China follows local laws & censors. Blah blah... Google China follows local laws & censors. Americas & other democracies are outraged and yet not dare do an all out embargo or else goods will skyrocket in price so they go after businesses that follows the legitimate laws of China.

Re:Yet another anti-China news item (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549738)

If the government is bad, what's wrong with an anti-government news item? Unless you're the government...

Yeah, he is the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550196)

The Chicoms also blogspam blogs of US politicians that they fear.

Priorities (0, Troll)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549816)

The governmental powers who are hot and bothered about "intellectual property" violations in China maybe could apply pressure on the free speech area first. The way I'm seeing it the things that piss America off most are (in order)

1. Be Iraq
2. Develop weapons of mass destruction
3. Support terrorists
4. Infringe copyrights
..
... (Profit?)

...

...
413. Abridge freedom of speech, or of the press.

Re:Yet another anti-China news item (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549891)

The problem is when things that are illegal NOT to do in China are illegal to do in the US. Sure, we have a very selective policy on enforcing our laws on citizens working in other countries. As long as the Google regional president in China isn't availing himself of sex tourism, he should be in the clear.

Look at it this way -- what if Google opened an office in Amsterdam for Google Weed? Promoted it just as heavily as every other service and with the same zeal, and they wouldn't ship to the USA. Think there'd be so many lawmakers insisting they were "just following the local laws?"

Google CN Search (1)

kbox (980541) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550056)

When i went to google.cn and searched "chinese food" it said.. "Did you mean food?"

Law, but not legitimate law. (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550042)

You had me right up until you used the phrase "legitimate laws." The laws in China are no more legitimate than the government which creates and promulgates them, which is to say, not at all. Since it does not derive its power from the consent of the governed, but instead through fear and intimidation (and lack of any alternatives whatsoever, even another party within the same political structure), it cannot claim any legitimacy.

To follow your line of reasoning would be to say that I.G. Farben did nothing wrong when it churned out Zyklon-B, because it was following a "legitimate law" of the government in power at the time. Following a law because you have no other choice, and a gun is being held to your head (figuratively or otherwise), is one thing; calling that sort of rule "legitimate" is quite another. (And don't start whining to me about Godwin's Law, this is a completely apt comparison in this situation. Both governments have roughly the same claim to legitimacy.)

I can excuse companies for falling in line with the Chinese regime because they have no choice but to do so, as long as they admit this is why they're doing it. (I will even accept, if not excuse, a company which stands up and says that they are cooperating with injustice because it is profitable to do so, and doesn't delude itself into thinking it's doing good.) Giving the government a claim to legitimacy is far more damaging, and in my mind inexcusable.

how long will it be before they tire of this game? (5, Insightful)

cheesegunner (983036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549681)

They can't possibly win this one... sure, "tibet independence" is blocked, but if you search "free tibet" on google.cn, you get nothing but pro-tibetan pages. It may take a while, but I think they'll eventually realize that, just or unjust be damned, it's just plain uneconomical to try to keep up with blocking search terms.

Re:how long will it be before they tire of this ga (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550031)

What China government doing is far more than blocking.

There are several super computers doing real time analyzation of bits getting in and out of China on the Internet. Right, real time analyzation. So you can read the CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox as long as the super computer thinks the piece of information you are reading is OK. So people inside China feel almost nothing. And people out side of China feel nothing about it.

One thing should be mentioned is that there is Gigabits of data getting in and out of China per second. Guess who is behind those super computers. Intel, AMD, IBM or SUN?

Re:how long will it be before they tire of this ga (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550061)

The word you're looking for is "analysis".

Re:how long will it be before they tire of this ga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550084)

Communists are famous for persistence in idiocy.

So much for freedom on the Internet (4, Insightful)

abstract1 (982691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549700)

I wonder when this will all stop...or better yet, what it is all leading up to? A different Internet for each country? A governing body consisting of members from various nations (yea right)? When is enough enough when it comes to freedom on the Internet? I mean, if they aren't even allowed to SEARCH, where will the next limitation be placed? It's only a matter of time before the masses revolt against such restrictions. But then again, (so to speak) - if they haven't seen the grass on the other side how do they know it is greener? Generations are growing up in these censored countries and don't even realize it is happening. Not only are they missing out on a lot of information on the internet, but their entire culture is being CHANGED based on what the government wants them to see and believe. Thoughts?

Re:So much for freedom on the Internet (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549904)

When is enough enough when it comes to freedom on the Internet?

When technology advances enough for a common person to access it without having to rely on a company. I dunno, beam the information into space and store it as a tachyon field in a quasar. Or something.

Re:So much for freedom on the Internet (1)

abstract1 (982691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550114)

LOL.

Microsoft.cn (0, Offtopic)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549709)

The conclusion was made based on six politically sensitive keywords. A search on yahoo.cn resulted in 97% pro-Beijing results compared to 83% on google.cn and 78% on msn.cn."

Go Microsoft! Then again, perhaps their incompetence is showing...

Capitalism of the Communists allows censorship (3, Insightful)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549717)

Firstly, I can't stand how any of these companies is just 'going along' with it. Yes, fiduciary responsiblity to investors etc but so would be dealing with the devil.

To the point however, it's funny that all of this happens only due to the world's largest communist country accepting certain capitalist ideas. What i'm saying, is that if it wasn't due to the money factor then this wouldn't be happening, and the search engines of the world might (effectively even perhaps) force China to change some of their policies a bit. However, since money IS the issue (which for some reason in reading Marx/Engles I thought that money wasn't supposed to be controlling in Communisim) then the people are being censored.

Were I a company, I'd just say "Fuck you" to China.

Re:Capitalism of the Communists allows censorship (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549992)

And in so doing, you'd just make life that much worse for China's citizens, by depriving them of whatever services you're able to render. Hope that's something you can live with.

Re:Capitalism of the Communists allows censorship (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550034)

And by providing the censored service, you provide the Chinese people that much less incentive to throw off the yoke of their oppressors and bring back the legitimate government-in-exile from Taipei. Hope that's something you can live with.

Re:Capitalism of the Communists allows censorship (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550107)

Isolation's been tried before, and inevitably it only leads to greater deprivation and misery. The problem is that people on the inside won't even realize what they're missing. How could they, when you're deliberately withholding even what scant information from them that their government allows them to see?

Hell, North Korea's philosophy of juche is nothing but self-imposed isolation; its citizens should be ready to "throw off the yoke of their oppressors" any day now, right?

Re:Capitalism of the Communists allows censorship (2, Insightful)

bunions (970377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550048)

It's pretty easy to say "fuck you" to millions of imaginary dollars.

As long as there exists no unified effort to isolate China, the idea that a company should unilaterally boycott China is a nice thought, but toothless.

Methodology (2, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549732)

From the article:

Reporters Without Borders tested Chinese search engines by using the following "subversive" key words: "6-4" (4 June, date of the Tiananmen Square massacre), "Falungong", "Tibet Independence", "Democracy", "Human rights" and "press freedom". The first ten results displayed by each search engine were analysed and then divided into "authorized" and "unauthorized" sources of information.

This seems like a rather simplistic analysis to me. Are most Chinese citizens going to use such obvious terms to search for information about topics they know the government is attempting to block? My understanding of how Chinese citizens use the Internet is limited, so I'm likely off base. It just seems to me that most Chinese users of Yahoo would be gathering information using terms less likely to be aggressively filtered. A broader comparison might be more useful in determining just how aggressively each engine is filtering results.

what scale of data are we talking about here? (0)

revlayle (964221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549736)

there comes a point where anything times zero is still zero, and no one is doing any better or worse at censoring than anyone else

morally ambiguous (2, Interesting)

bigpat (158134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549859)

If you type in one of these terms on the search tool, first you receive an error message. If you then go back to make a new request, even with a neutral key word, yahoo.cn refuses to respond.

I wonder if it is better to let your customers search for things that will get them persecuted? If there is simply an error then Yahoo could probably get away with simply not logging the attempted search. So eventually when they are compelled to hand over search logs to the police then they can claim that it was simply an error and perhaps not log the attempt in any detail. And, except that it is now documented, it is so subtle that police would be none the wiser.

Then again this is precisely the type of thing authoritarian governments count on, that merely the threat of persecution is enough to suppress most challenges to their authority. Leaving the few real challenges to their authority to be dealt with harshly. Authoritarian and totalitarian governments really turn morality on its head and being honest about even the littlest thing might get yourself or someone else hurt or killed.

Methodology (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549881)

FTFA:

Reporters Without Borders tested Chinese search engines by using the following "subversive" key words: "6-4" (4 June, date of the Tiananmen Square massacre), "Falungong", "Tibet Independence", "Democracy", "Human rights" and "press freedom". The first ten results displayed by each search engine were analysed and then divided into "authorized" and "unauthorized" sources of information.
I am not a statistician, but that seems like kind of a small sample set for such a sweeping statement. Each search engine was judged based on just 60 reported websites (6 terms, 10 results apiece). I'd be interested to see what one would find on, say, the fifth page of results. The quality and relevance of the search returns on page five would decrease probably, but some oddball stuff can get through that way.

I do give them serious credit for even reporting the methodology - a lot of places that post stats (aside from tech reviewers) never post how they got those results, or under what conditions.

God dammit! Hotlips! CHINA SUCKS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15549884)



God dammit! Hotlips! CHINA SUCKS !!

The Best Policy (1)

LukePieStalker (746993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549886)

Yahoo actually has the best filtering, technically speaking. All these companies have decided to go along with Chinese government policy and filter antigovernment content. It just happens that Yahoo's filter works better.

Ha! (2, Funny)

calebtucker (691882) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549893)

You think the Chinese have it bad... I can only get to slashdot at work from 11:30 - 12:30! In the US even!

wtf? (2, Funny)

Chutulu (982382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549979)

In Google.com if i search for 6-4 it displays 6 - 4 = 2 What kind of censorhip is this?? XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (censored) .....

Would this work? (4, Interesting)

Astatine210 (528456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15549981)

As a possible tactic to foil China's crippling of internet searching (or, for that matter, any country's policy of censoring its internet input), set up a number of "code word" euphemisms for events happening in China that match phrases that don't initially look suspicious to the authorities, and which will blend into the background of most searches until long after the proverbial cat is out of the bag.

For instance, set up a website that details the Tianenmen Square massacre of 1989; however, instead of plastering "Tianenmen Square Massacre" all over it, refer to it as the "Hunan Blossom Harvest". The language and pictures will make certain to anyone viewing the site that this is anything but horticultural; it's a depiction of a vicious crackdown on a peaceful public demonstration, with plenty of blatant "clues" to when and where it happened. Get plenty of friends to make websites referring to this event in the same manner.

All it takes is for one returning "dissident" armed with the phrase, and I'm fairly certain the news will spread meme-like far faster than the authorities can crack down on it.

Rinse and repeat with clear criticism of the Saudi royal family in slightly euphemistic Arabic, and other fun stuff.

Re:Would this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550199)

Do it in the spirit of Googlewhacking:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google whack [wikipedia.org]

1) Create a set of 5-10 articles (or use wikipedia?) that give information on the censorship and the censored material
2) Create a set of free accounts at various sites: geocities, blogspot, ezboard, anyplace where someone can theoretically post content. (Alternatively, identify a series of out-of-the-way, forgotten, unused guestbooks, message boards, and comment systems). (call them all hosts for the rest of this post)
3) For each host:
    a) post all of the information from step 1
    b) add a unique set of 2-3 words (again, a unique set of words for each complete set of articles) that return zero or one results in Google or some other combination of web pages.
4) distribute one set of search terms to people whose access is censored.
5) whenever a set of search term is blocked, distribute the set of search terms pointing to the next complete set of articles

It should be possible for one or two people working in their spare time to find hosts and post enough sets of articles that there's no hope of stopping them. This is even more true if it becomes a larger phenomenon: imagine if every semi-amateur site author tucked the articles away in a corner of their site with a unique set of terms...how many domains can they really block?

If they start blocking the articles/pages by their textual content, switch to images of the text. While slightly more time intensive, if you start with one good clean set of images of the text, it shouldn't be hard to make plenty of slight variations that would be very difficult to filter for but still easy to read.

The hardest part, of course, is distributing the search terms in such a way that they aren't blocked before people get to see the content. Theoretically, one saavy person with plenty of printer paper could drop hundreds of copies of a wordset with instructions...is that enough? Maybe it's more about getting the information to the right people, so that the general population begins to murmur enough about what's going on.

Cons:
"If enough key people see the effort put into this cause by outsiders, maybe they'll start to change their minds" ....sounds waaaaay too much like the thinking that leads to terrorism.

If you can distribute instructions and the sets of words....why not just distribute the articles?

ahh well, it was fun to plan anyhow.

Ahhh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550022)

Looking for loss of freedom in other countries sure does help...

Let's see here... (1)

cy_a253 (713262) | more than 8 years ago | (#15550057)

Ferengi Rule of Acquisition Number 33:

It never hurts to suck up to the boss.

Six Keywrods? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15550243)

They're basing this on six keywords?
Now if it was 600, or 6000, keywords I may actually believe it, at least a little.
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