Thursday, June 11, 2009

Standing up Against Censorship

By Kelly Indrieri
With the recent news that the Chinese government will soon be requiring all personal PCs shipped into the country be bundled with "Green Dam" software (software intended to block access to what the government deems illicit content on the Web), one is left to wonder in the face of this kind of censorship, how much private PC vendors, like HP and Dell, can do to stand up against government censorship for the greater good and the protection of freedom of speech or in this case search.

With PC sales to China projected to exceed 40 million units in 2009, is it too risky a business choice for PC vendors to fight back and potentially lose millions, or even billions, in revenue as a result? It's easy to argue that it is not the job of individual companies to take a moral stance by refusing to go along with this requirement. Yes, it will hurt business, but if they all stand together, could they affect change? One could argue that it is unlikely to change the position of the Chinese government, but a united front, at least, might force their hand and enable a softening of this regulation. Apparently, discussions are in play and I look forward to keeping an eye on the developments and seeing, if come July 1, some policy changes have been made.
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