Home > News and politics > Open Letter to Microsoft re: Censorship of Journalist on MSN Spaces

Open Letter to Microsoft re: Censorship of Journalist on MSN Spaces

09-Jan-06 09:09 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
I’ve written a letter to Microsoft Canada through a feedback page concerning the recent censorhip of a Chineese journalist here on MSN Spaces.  I’d encourage all readers to take a moment to file a similar response rhough any of Microsoft’s feedback points on the web – it’s important they get the message their customers don’t like what happened here.

This feedback is specific to the MSN Spaces service – and directed to Sympatico MSN, because it represents MSN in Canada. It is important that this feedback is provided to the correct authority – and minimally I would expect that any response provide informatino about how to submit further feedback to the appropriate authority if the content cannot be forwarded by you internally.

Last week, ZDNet carried a story (http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/internet/0,39044246,39302927,00.htm) concerning MSN Spaces regarding censorship of a Chineese journalist because MSN has a policy of complying with local laws. However, it is my view that any business – regardless of where it operates – has an ethical obligation to evaluate the propriety of complying with the law and to not comply when those laws are oppresive or necessarily harmful to an individual or society. Clearly what we have in this paricular case is a law that is both and I’m jointly shocked and puzzled by the response of Microsoft and MSN in this case.

In my opinion the response of Microsoft and of MSN in this cas represents poor corporate ethics. This is the first time I can state unequivocally (and here I’m being mindful of Microsoft’s legacy in fighting antitrust battles in the United States) that Microsoft can be found guilty of such a charge. It is incumbent upon me holding to my own personal ehtics to state my expectation and desire that Microsoft and MSN recant its support of the imorral, unjust Chineese law and reinstate access to the blog of the Chineese journalist to Chineese users. I would add that my conviction is not limited either to myself or merely to writing this letter and that further action on my part will ensue, commencing in all liklihood with moving my own blog away from MSN Spaces. Additionally, although I am by profession a .NET software developer, I shuold be inclined in the future to be mindful of this action by Microsoft and MSN, and that this action may influence spending recommendations or ethusiasm about the technology upon which I’ve based my career. Needless to say, I don’t want that to happen.

I hope you take this statement of objection seriously and in the constructive spirit it is given. Even more importantly, that Microsoft and MSN recognize the importance of recanting its response in this case – to make a statement in support of a principle higher than merely adhering to local laws: to adhering to the principles that support fundmaental human rights.

Respecrfully submitted,
Ross Holder (ross.holder@gmail.com)
Ottawa, ON

At least offera short comment of endorsement here if you’d like to extend some degree of support – it’s reported Microsoft’s marketing teams review blogs to get a sense for what its customers think.

Categories: News and politics
  1. Ross
    16-Jan-06 11:03 am EDT at 11:03 am EDT

    Ya know, I\’m not so scared about Microsoft\’s scanning of stuff or traking content use for what is obviously marketing purposes. As stated in this article, that can be a positive thing if, for example, blog entries are scanned to review how dissatified people are over important issues such as the one cited here.Appreciate your continued patronage of my blog, CoolGirlJade – wherever this stuff end up. 😉 And I hope you too will follow-up with MSN and/or Microsoft to indicate your view on the issue of oppressive censorship of blogs by Microsoft. Again, they do read this stuff – even if they don\’t always repsond.And maybe that will make some kind of difference.


  2. Erika
    15-Jan-06 06:40 pm EDT at 06:40 pm EDT

    one of them was on my stats page, and i had been scanned.it\’s scary


  3. Erika
    15-Jan-06 06:40 pm EDT at 06:40 pm EDT

    there are now companies that are consultants, who have developed programs to do research on popularity/opinions on anything from name brand products to government and health care.cha ching!Ka


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