How Does Chinese Internet Censorship Affect Business?

from the unintended-consequences? dept

China's sophisticated Internet surveillance and censorship often make headlines in the West. Usually, those stories chronicle the latest crackdown on dissident netizens or highlight a Western journalist's inability to reach the websites of human rights organizations. But recently, more of those articles are focusing on the business aspects of the censorship.

For example, some people are pushing for the US government to make Internet censorship a trade issue. The argument, that Google has made in Congressional testimony, is that digital barriers to the free flow of information are equivalent to traditional trade barriers which are illegal under WTO rules; as such, the US Trade Representative should use its leverage to lower those costs to doing business in China and elsewhere. It is not clear if this will be effective, especially given numerous other bilateral trade issues between China and the United States, but recent news makes it clear that censorship does affect technology companies in China.

Late last week, the head of the Internet surveillance department at the Beijing Bureau of Public Safety was arrested on charges of corruption. The man is accused of taking bribes of nearly $6 million to help an anti-virus company beat its competitor. This is obviously problematic for foreign companies operating in a country where they do not have close ties to the powerful bureaucracy, especially given China's notoriously corrupt judiciary. But perhaps what is even more worrying is that Internet censorship and surveillance are on the rise around the world, only furthering the control exerted upon what could be a very free marketplace.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jasen, Feb 25th, 2009 @ 11:23pm

    History repeats itself...

    There is nothing new about keeping knowledge from your people to keep better control over them. Knowledge is power. Power leads to resistance.

    I do like Google's approach and I hope it works. I do not believe the Internet should be filtered from anyone, with exception to primary schools (K-12) and businesses as deemed necessary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Yosi, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 12:24am

    What's so special in primary schools?

    I guess it's "think of children" strikes again

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 12:55am

    Re: What's so special in primary schools?

    who's children, american or chinese children

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: What's so special in primary schools?

    The chinese people are treated like children. I don't think that government has too long before the next revolution comes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Joe Public, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: What's so special in primary schools?

    Revolution...
    say it with me now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Kevin Donovan, Feb 26th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Re: What's so special in primary schools?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    seo london, Feb 27th, 2009 @ 3:56am

    People know it

    In china, the public system is corrupt, we can't see justice anymore,

    but the internet industry face some problem sure,

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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