Olympic Committee Admits to Negotiating Internet Censorship

Photo: Chinese flagKevin Gosper, chairman of the IOC’s press commission, disclosed that Olympic officials negotiated with their Chinese hosts and agreed that certain sensitive Web sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games-related. This would include Chinese language versions of the BBC, Voice of America and Amnesty International. Chinese officials noted that this practice would protect their young people.

Though Chinese officials promised openness, they also built an unparalleled capability to filter content. Not surprisingly, they used it.

It is irrelevant that members of the foreign press may not be able to visit pages of their own newspapers’ Web sites. However, it is important that China can not even pretend to have open access to the Web’s information, not even in a relatively well-defined set of Olympic sites dominated by foreigners who are, for the most ,fixated on sport, not dissention.

The damage this causes is two-fold: Chinese people miss the benefits of exposure to news and communication, and China’s success in censorship legitimizes the practice, so other countries will see such practices as normative.

Is Censorship in China an Example to the US and others?
In the US, the FCC has considered requiring filtering on public Wi-Fi networks of all content that would be harmful to the teens.

A Missouri woman is being criminally prosecuted for a cyber crime for having registered for a social networking account using a false name.

40 bloggers are in prison for their words in various countries, including Canada, France, the UK, and the US.

On Monday, August 18th, I’ll be blogging about a new addition to the set of Americans arrested for writing in their blogs. So please come on back, subscribe by RSS feed, or enter your email address in the subscribe box to the left, and updates will be sent to you automatically.

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