Mao Tse Gates?

Filed in PoliticsTags: Internet

So I wonder what the man representing one-third of of the Times Persons of the Year has to say about political censorship of MSN Spaces blogs? As quoted by LaShawn Barber, Glenn Reynolds, Evan Coyne Maloney, and the Scobelizer, Rebecca MacKinnon explains the sordid details of her experiments:

As it so happens, in mid-December I played around a bit with Chinese language blog-hosting tools to try and get a better idea of how they censor blogger content. I haven’t posted about it yet partially because family business and vacation got in the way, and partially because I wanted to do a few more tests. But given what happened to Anti I think I had better not wait.

Back over the summer I wrote a post titled Screenshots of Censorship about how MSN spaces was censoring the titles of its Chinese blogs, but not posts themselves. According to my testing in mid-late December, they now censoring much more intensely.

On December 16th I created a blog and attempted to make various posts with politically sensitive words. When I attempted to post entries with titles like “Tibet Independence” or “Falun Gong” (a banned religious group), I got an error message saying: “This item includes forbidden language. Please delete forbidden language from this item.”

However I was successful in posting blog entries with non-controversial titles, but with politically sensitive words in the text body. For instance, a blog post titled “I love you” had “Tibet independence” in the text body, and a post titled “I am happy” had “Falun Gong” in the body...

This was on Friday December 16th. By Monday the 19th, the whole blog had been taken down, just like Anti’s was on Dec.31st, with an error message: “This space is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.”

Now, It is VERY important to note that the inaccessible blog was moved or removed at the server level and that the blog remains inaccessible from the United States as well as from China. This means that the action was taken NOT by Chinese authorities responsible for filtering and censoring the internet for Chinese viewers, but by MSN staff at the level of the MSN servers.

(Emphasis added)

I'm trying to come up with some plausible explanation why Microsoft would be in the business of facilitating political censorship. My first thought was of the MSN Spaces Code of Conduct. But the only thing even close to a rationalization for political censorship is this item under "Prohibited Uses":

You will not upload, post, transmit, transfer, disseminate, distribute, or facilitate distribution of any content, including text, images, sound, data, information, or software, that...is illegal or violates any local and national laws that apply to your location; including but not limited to child pornography, illegal drugs, copyright material and intellectual property not belonging to you.

However, while such wording might justify - in the strictest adherence - to censorship of outlawed speech in China, Rebecca MacKinnon is in the United States, not China. At least the Scobelizer is trying to do something about it:

I’m copying this post to Christopher Payne, corporate Vice President over on MSN and will try to get his point of view on this.

Update: someone over on MSN Spaces just wrote me and said he hadn’t heard of this and that he’s raising this up the management chain too. I’ll report more as I hear more. he told me that Steve Liffick is the VP in charge of MSN Spaces and that he reports to Blake Irving. I’ve sent email to both of those guys on this issue.

I don't care how much money Microsoft stands to lose; shame on them for cow-towing to socialist dictators and for actively infringing upon freedom of speech.

OYB: January 3

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Today's reading:
OT: Genesis 5, Genesis 6, Genesis 7
NT: Matthew 3, Matthew 4:1-11
Ps: Psalm 3
Pr: Proverbs 1:10-19

Today's notable verse:

But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

Psalm 3:3 (NIV)

The One Year Bible Blog notes:

One other important point to make in Matthew 4:4 and the 2 other temptations in this chapter. We see the devil tempting Jesus with things that may look enticing to Jesus or to us. But they are lies. And note - this is important - how Jesus fends off the devil's temptations and lies - by quoting scripture! Jesus knew scripture (well, yes, technically he is scripture...:) But, the point is this. I do believe that we need to do more than just read the Bible. We need to memorize many portions of the Bible to protect us when the devil is attacking. If we have scripture memorized, when we are tempted, we can quickly call to mind a verse or two that will bring us back into right state of mind - focusing back on God, Jesus, and their love and strength available through the Holy Spirit. If we don't have scripture memorized, as Jesus clearly did in this chapter, we are at risk of falling prey to the deception and lies of the temptation. So - I am mostly preaching this to myself! 🙂 But, I really want to do more memorization of scripture in 2006. I have several verses down - but not enough. Proverbs 3:5-6 certainly comes to mind for me often when I am worried or stressed and it transforms my state of mind immediately! Actually - if anyone else out there memorizes scripture, please post up in the Comments section below? I would love to know which verses you have found useful in your life? And - if anyone has advice on how to best go about memorizing scripture, please post that up too! Are you memorizing scripture on a regular basis? Are you bringing scripture to mind when faced with temptation or sadness or whatever ails you? Will you join me in my plan to memorize more scripture verses in 2006?

It is written... What an amazing testament to power of the Word! Jesus - the author and perfecter of our faith - resisted Satan with these three, simple words. How important is knowing the Word? This passage should answer this question definitively. Satan tempted Jesus' physical cravings, tempted Jesus to "put God to the test," and tempted Jesus' obedience to God's will for his life. In each case, Jesus resisted and refuted Satan with the Word. God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear, but when we are tempted, He will provide a way out, so that we can stand up from under it - but what is that way He provides? His Word! But to be useful, Scripture must be memorized, internalized - lived.

I started memorizing Scripture practically as far back as I have memory. My church, and especially Sunday school classes, encouraged it. My parents reinforced it. The short-term youth mission organization I worked with required daily Scripture memorization on all mission projects. By the time I was in high school, I was memorizing entire books of the Bible for Bible Bowl competitions. (My freshman year, I memorized Matthew; Sophomore year, I memorized I Kings; Junior year, I/II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians; Senior year, Exodus.) Now, I can't still quote all those books; to do that requires daily recitation. But, it's amazing how the Spirit will bring back something from a part of the Bible I've memorized at just the right time, to answer a question, provide a word of wisdom, or otherwise help in a given situation. Several of my favorite scriptures will show up in the daily verse (CB.Word) script in the left-hand sidebar.

I'm sure others have myriad means of memorization, but I have always just used rote memorization and repetition. In high school, I could memorize a chapter or two a week, just memorizing one line at a time. I think, though, there would be great benefit in choosing a verse each day from the daily reading, and memorize it. Today, I have chosen Psalm 3:3.