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China the Internet and Corporate Responsibility


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Published in: Business, Technology

China the Internet and Corporate Responsibility

  1. China, the Internet, and Corporate Responsibility Some observations and questions
  2. Questions from CIRC 2005 <ul><li>The Internet is changing China… </li></ul><ul><li>… but how is China changing the Internet? </li></ul><ul><li>Many people discuss the former, far fewer explore the latter… </li></ul>
  3. Questions: Role of businesses <ul><li>What is the role of Internet and telecoms companies - both foreign and Chinese - in helping to shape China’s standards, practices, and regulatory norms? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they have any room to make choices about what they will and won’t do, how they do it, and how far they will go? </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent will the “accepted way of doing business” and “standard regulatory norms” in China eventually impact the global internet? </li></ul>
  4. A global situation Government Company User
  5. Foreign businessperson in China recently wrote: <ul><li>“ Ultimately, to succeed in China, businesses must assume the goals of the Communist Party as their own.” </li></ul><ul><li>--- “Mr. X”, a “foreign media entrepreneur based in China” </li></ul><ul><li> Far Eastern Economic Review , May 2008 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  6. Shi Tao: Jailed 10 years with Yahoo!’s help.
  7. Aiding Big Brother <ul><li>Yahoo: aided in jailing of dissidents, heavily censors Chinese-language search </li></ul><ul><li>Google: offers censored Chinese search, </li></ul><ul><li>MSN censored Chinese bloggers - but has modified policy in reaction to criticism; continues to offer censored search </li></ul><ul><li>Cisco sells surveillance tech to Chinese police </li></ul><ul><li>Skype filters text chat via Chinese partner </li></ul><ul><li>Etc. </li></ul>
  8. Foreign companies say: <ul><li>“ We have no choice… we have to abide by the same rules that apply to Chinese companies, or we can’t do business here.” </li></ul><ul><li>Question: Is it really true that they have absolutely no choice whatsoever? </li></ul><ul><li>Findings of Human Rights Watch (2006); U. of Toronto’s Nart Villeneuve (draft paper 2008): All search engines in China are censoring to very different degrees, according to very different methods. </li></ul>
  9. HKU Blog censorship testing: Dalai Lama letter to the world’s Chinese people
  10. Tianya: censored (10 out of 17 blog hosting services censored the Dalai Lama letter)
  11. Xinhuanet article
  12. 15 blog-hosting services didn’t censor Xinhua at all…BUT…
  13. censors Xinhua
  14. Blogbus takes different approach…
  15. Blog censorship testing <ul><li>Initial observations: </li></ul><ul><li>Highly inconsistent across topics, timeframes, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Each service uses different methods </li></ul><ul><li>Each service appears to use different criteria </li></ul><ul><li>QUESTION: does this mean that there is room for some industry choice and “best practice” even in China’s censorship system? </li></ul>
  16. Blogger sued his Chinese blog host for censorship Consumer rights! Breach of contract!
  17. Setting global standards: race to the bottom? Government Company User
  18. It’s an issue in democracies too (U.S. govt. “secret surveillance,” etc.) User
  19. Global industry code of conduct? <ul><li>Must be truly global. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on transparency and accountability. </li></ul><ul><li>Support user’s ability to make informed decisions about how and when to use a service </li></ul>