Wednesday, February 01, 2006

More on China...

The head of the Internet desk at Reporters Without Borders is named Mr. Pain. Isn't that wonderful? I couldn't make up stuff like that.

Mr. Pain is not sanguine about Microsoft's new stance:

"There's a good side and a bad side," Mr. Pain said. "It's clear that they've begun thinking about their ethical responsibility. But it also shows that they accept censorship, and that they believe in this new form of the Internet, in which the rights of users will vary according to their geographic origin."

This, he said, "is in direct contradiction with the original idea of what the Internet was supposed to be — something with no barriers, no boundaries."

Actually, the Internet was originally funded as a specifically American command-and-control system that could function even in the event of military attack resulting in massive destruction of communications infrastructure. To have gone, in a few decades, from that vision of the future, to one in which a Chinese censorship policy attracts widespread public notice and debate... is surely no poor thing?

As a matter of policy, I agree with Mr. Pain. I wish China would stop cracking down on "dissidents" and journalists. I also wish I, like Mr. Pain, had a colorful and descriptive name, even though his is probably French, therefore meaning not "pain" but "bread." I just think, if there's a choice between looking back to halcyon days of yore, or making sense... we'd be better off with the sense.


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

Clearly he meant the (World Wide) Web, not the 'Net. Common mistake.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger rain_rain said...

I know, I know. But my point still stands: look at where we've really been, not at the idealized world you wish we'd once had. The Web has come a long way since the particle physicists at CERN were using it to collaborate on... whatever particle physicist do. That China is even partaking of the Web is remarkable, don't you think, given its leadership's history of rigid, top-down control?

I wish things in China were better already, but (vis-a-vis the Web, anyway) it seems to me they're getting more better as things go along.

Information really does want to be free.


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