Thursday, February 09, 2006

Technologos on human-rights-caucus-briefing


Human Rights Caucus Briefing

Technologos Challenge Google's Digital Integrity with Human Rights Paradygm and Intellectual Freedom Ethos of Internet.

Google corporate leadership betrayed it's credo of intellectual integrity as most innovative search engine of net intelligence is cognitive fiasco and ethical failure while Cisco's claims of technological neutrality in global design of web backbone grid is absurd as it integrates security (counter)intelligence features in it's swithes infrastructure and so SUN's platforms.
Yahoo's total adherence to economics of consumerism policies is
omnipotent evidence of disregard to ethical human rights values.

The Internet giants called to Senate's Hearing Court on Human Rights Internet abuse in China have consented to ignore to appear in person and counterargue the testimonies with principal accusations in ethical misconduct Internet business while Google has published it's paper but not responded to testemonial briefs
which I present here in it's substance for constructive discs.

Tom Lantos
Coompanies that have blossomed in this country and make billions,a country that reveres freedom of speech, have chosen to ignore that core value in expanding their reach overseas, and to erect a “Great Firewall” to suit Beijing’s purposes.

China’s appalling human rights record never was a secret. U.S.
Internet companies simply cannot claim that they had no idea of
what doing business there could entail. The Internet has always
been a vital tool for human rights and democracy advocates in
China, and a vital link with the outside world of its oppressed

Tim Ryan

Chinese authorities are relying upon the resources,
cooperation, and technology of American tech companies in
carrying out the repression of free speech and free press, which
is a cause of great concern.
For example, Google just launched a Chinese search engine—but only after agreeing to comply with China’s strict guidelines for transmitting information deemed socially destabilizing.
Last month, Microsoft shut down a Chinese blog for discussing a
strike at a Beijing newspaper. And last year, a Chinese reporter
was sentenced to 10 years in prison for an e-mail he sent to a
pro-democracy organization. His email outlined certain media
restrictions that the Chinese government had imposed on the
Chinese press as the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square
massacre approached. Yahoo, which hosted the reporter’s personal
e-mail account, helped the Chinese government identify the

After decades of being silenced and sheltered, Chinese citizens
recognize the value of the Internet. China is the second-largest
consumer of Internet technology after the United States, and is
expected to exceed the U.S. in the next decade. In a country
where all media is controlled by the government, the Internet
has the potential to be a vital portal to the democratic world
for Chinese citizens. What’s more, online bulletin boards and
blogs can serve as anonymous outlets for Chinese citizens to
express their opinions and offer their dissent.

The multi-billion dollar Internet technology industry was
developed at least partially using American taxpayer dollars,
and American technology companies have benefited richly from our
democratic values and our free-market system. American citizens
and lawmakers have every right to demand that U.S. companies use
this technology to advance freedom, rather than condone
That’s why I’m so troubled to watch as American companies, in my
opinion, squander not only their leverage to create positive
change but America’s moral authority—for whether we like it or
not, American companies operating overseas reflect on all of us.

Nart Villeneuve

Although Internet censorship in China has received the most
attention, and is the focus of the hearing today, Internet
censorship is a growing trend worldwide.
There are many ways, both technical and non-technical for
governments to disrupt or monitor online communications. In
fact, all governments do it to a certain degree with some
focusing on blocking content, such as web sites, while others
focus on monitoring communications, such as email. Some
governments, such as the government of China, do both.

In some cases countries use routers to block access to specific
content while others use specific technology designed for
content filtering and caching.

Although the emphasis is often placed on the technical side,
national Internet filtering is best described as a matrix of
control in which technological and non-technological measures
intersect at different levels of access to enforce strict
information control policies.

Although the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) is
responsible for the Internet infrastructure, the Ministry of
Public Security and the State Secrets Bureau are also involved
in the filtering process.

China configures these gateway routers, which are believed to
be manufactured by Cisco, to block access to specific Internet
Protocol (IP) addresses, domain names, and keywords that appear
in Uniform Resource Locator (URL) paths. When this filtering
mechanism is triggered the connection between the user in China
and the external host is disrupted. This affects all manner of
web traffic including browsing websites and submitting queries
to search engines.
Microsoft’s MSN spaces has implemented filtering on their
blogging service restrict users from creating posts with the
words “democracy” and “freedom” in the subject line.
What we are witnessing is, in effect, a market failure that puts
profit and market share above ethics and human rights. Companies
that self-censor their services are doing so in a way that
mirrors that lack of openness, transparency and accountability
that is emblematic of China’s own filtering regime
he acquiescence to China’s censorship demands sends the message
to the world that political censorship is normal and
acceptable. This acts to normalize the Internet as an
environment that is hostile to civil liberties, freedom of
speech, and free expression. In many countries the Internet is
the last frontier as all other forms of media are tightly
China is certainly seeking to maintain its strict information
control and companies that enable and conform to Chinese
censorship policies are further confining the spaces in which
China’s citizens can express themselves online.

Tom Malinowski
And once you take away users’ anonymity and censor, for
political ends, the content they can see, the Internet is no
longer a liberating medium. In fact, it can become a tool of
herefore, it is not enough for Internet companies to argue that
their mere presence in countries like China will lead to
political openness. It is illogical for companies to say they
are expanding the boundaries of freedom in China if they strip
their product of the very qualities that make it a force for
greater freedom. These companies must protect the integrity of
the product they are providing, or that product will no longer
be the Internet as we know it
Third, the stakes here are much greater than the future of
freedom in China. China is already exporting technology for
monitoring the Internet to other repressive governments –
Zimbabwe, for example. And such governments in every part of
the world are now watching to see if China can bend Internet
providers to its will. If China succeeds, other countries will
insist on the same degree of compliance, and the companies will
have no standing to refuse them. We will have two Internets,
one for open societies, and one for closed societies. The whole
vision of a world wide web, which breaks down barriers and
empowers people to shape their destiny, will be gone. Instead,
in the 21st Century, we will have a virtual Iron Curtain
dividing the democratic and undemocratic worlds.

But one lesson of China’s experience with the Internet is that
repressive governments cannot exercise full control over this
medium without the willing cooperation of the private sector
companies that are leaders in the industry.

China sought and received the cooperation of global Internet
companies in limiting access to information. In mid-2002,
Yahoo! voluntarily signed China’s “Public Pledge on
Self-discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry.”

Google has refused a U.S. request to turn over information
about user searches. Internet companies have strongly opposed a
proposed European Union law over content. And good for them. I
just wish they were half as brave in dealing with dictatorships
as they are in dealing with democracies.

Google is not disclosing a crucial piece of information – it is
not saying how its censorship system works. It is not telling
users what material – what sites, words, and ideas -- the
Chinese government is telling it to block. Perhaps that is
because Google is embarrassed to admit that for such a system to
work, the company will have to maintain a close and ongoing
relationship with the Chinese security apparatus.
Now, American publishing houses are not charities; they exist to
make money, like any other company. But they are also in a
business that depends on the free exchange of ideas. Their
first thought in those days was not “How can we ingratiate
ourselves with the Soviet Union so that we can sell books
there?” It was, “how can we support free expression so that in
the long run everyone has free access to the product we sell?”
That was the right thing to do. And it was the sensible thing
to do.

I have hoped that the Internet companies would recognize that as
well. But as they have not, the time has come for the Congress
to say that some principles are not optional.

Carolyn Bartholomew
testimony from the OpenNet Initiative that, as new Internet
communications methods become popular, the Chinese government
integrates filtering systems into their architectures.

China’s Internet controls pose a security concern for the United
States by facilitating the Chinese government’s commanding role
in the formation of public opinion about the United States and
U.S. policies.
China’s level of high-technology development has increased
quickly over the past several years and is accelerating. At the
same time, it has begun to assume the role of technological
leader among the developing states in its region. China serves
as the regional Internet provider for surrounding repressive
regimes including North Korea and Uzbekistan, and for other
nations such as Kyrgyzstan. Through this role as an Internet
gatekeeper, China exports its filtering technologies to other
governments that may choose to employ them.

I wish Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google were present today to answer
the question of how they reconcile their announced commitment to
the free flow of information with their actions aiding
censorship in China.

Lucie Morillon,
China is the world’s largest prison for journalists and
cyberdissidents: as of today, it has 86 of them behind bars.

China was one of the first repressive regimes to realize that it
couldn’t do without the Internet and therefore had to keep it
under tight control. It’s one of the few countries that have
managed to block all material critical of the regime, while at
the same time expanding Internet facilities. How do they do it?
Through a clever combination of investment, technology and

Cisco Systems has marketed equipment specifically
designed to make it easier for the Chinese police to carry out
surveillance of electronic communications. Cisco is also
suspected of giving Chinese engineers training in how to use its
products to censor the Internet.

Reporters Without Borders is convinced that a law regulating
the activities of Internet companies should only be drafted as a
last resort, and we therefore recommend a two-step approach.
Initially, a group of Congressmen should formally ask Internet
corporations to reach an agreement, among themselves, on a code
of conduct that includes the recommendations we make at the end
of this document. The companies would be urged to call upon
freedom of expression organizations for help in drafting the
document. The request would include a deadline for the companies
to submit the draft version of the code of conduct to the
congressmen concerned.

In the event that no satisfactory code of conduct has been drawn
up by the stated deadline, or the proposed code has not been
accepted by a sufficient number of representative companies, the
congressmen would set about drafting a law that would aim to
ensure that US companies respect freedom of expression when
operating in repressive countries, or elsewhere.

T. Kumar
companies, including Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems, have
helped to build the infrastructure that makes Internet
censorship possible while others, including Yahoo!, Microsoft,
and Google are increasingly complying with government demands to
actively censor Chinese users by limiting the information they
can access.
Microsoft has publicly stated their hope for the arrival of “a
broad set of principles for (the) full range of Internet
technology.” We support this recommendation and would expect
the process to be open and transparent, including participation
by NGOs as well as companies and government, and that it would
provide not only principles, but explicit guidelines for
implementation and evaluation.


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