Listening to the brilliant Rebecca McKinnon talking about whether the spread of capitalism–like Murdoch–actually supports the growth of freedom and democracy in China?
Rebecca: Pre-founding Global Voices, American bloggers were pointing to and linking to non-US bloggers even less than the mainstream media. And we had to go the non-profit route to make this happen.
People who are trying to create citizen media are often being stymied by governments who don’t want them to; censorship around the world is a growing problem. In China, you can’t access Human Rights Watch, for example…in about 25 countries, you can find censorship and filters–and many of those filtering tools are from US, Silicon Valley companies.
Rebecca is showing slides the reveal how both US and Chinese companies use filters that support government agendas–for example, while Google.com has photos of the Tienman Square Massacre, google.cn has no such photos available. In other words, there are companies–like Google, and Yahoo! and BlogChina that allow them to be squeezed by government agendas and that are contradictory to users’ needs
McKinnon is involved now with the Global Network Initiative which recommends that companies sign up to agree to support certain basic standards for users, while still working in country with the rulez.
She also quotes Danny O’Brien of the EFF, who suggests that perhaps using too many of the same tools globally–lke gmail or skype–is asking too much of private companies–aren’t we over relying on them? What is we built more grassroots alternatives?