Tuesday, June 14, 2005

MSN Spaces and China

When I first started blogging I did so on MSN Spaces. It was easy and was built in to MSN. After a few posts I moved from Spaces to Blogger. As I explained in my first post on Blogger I didn't feel comfortable on Spaces. I'm not anti-Microsoft, I use Windows XP at home and at work. I am not a great fan of Linux for home use, though I do have two Linux test boxes under my desk in work. I use MSN and I pay for my subscription to hotmail. I do use Firefox but that was because Internet Explorer fell far behind and became a security risk (yeah, I do know the same can be said for Linux over XP).

I couldn't quite explain why I wanted to move off Spaces. I guess part of it was anonymity, I'm still not confident enough in my blogging ability to do so openly. Another part of it was a nagging voice in the back of my mind that said Microsoft were not the company I wanted controlling my blog. They had just entered the market and it was not their focus. So I moved

Now today the BBC is carrying a story about Microsoft censoring blogs in China. I understand that it is only following Chinese law, but its just wrong to scan blogs for certain words and then either warn the blogger about their content or just block the blog. A persons blog is their own opinions. They don't work for Microsoft, if Microsoft had a problem with certain opinions (and I'm not talking about adult content but political opinions) being expressed then they shouldn't have volunteered to host those opinions. The chaotic nature of blogging is well known, and has been long before Microsoft launched Spaces.

Now that Microsoft have implemented this in China it would not be technically difficult for them to move the technology out to other countries. Bloggers in Zimbabwe could be stopped from talking about Mugabe? Bloggers in Iraq could be stopped from talking about the current situation there? Bloggers in America could be stopped if they criticise the war in Iraq? Bloggers in Ireland could be stopped complaining about the public infrastructure and health systems. An argument could be made for all of these things being done in a national interest.

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