26 January 2010

Bill Gates plays down Internet’s official online censorship by Beijing

Following Google’s decision to pull out of China, in response to online censorship and alleged attempts to hack into the email accounts of individuals of political interest to them as shown here (although this has been contended by Beijing, here) Bill Gates has criticised google’s stance.

Despite Hilary Clinton’s apparent support for Google’s decision (here), according to Bill Gates, accepting the censorship of different countries is just “part of doing business”. While Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive, defended the censorship as he asserted that even countries with “extreme” free speech laws, such as the US, exercised some censorship (see Guardian article here).

While those championing the rights of free speech and an uncensored Internet may feel a greater kinship with Google over this issue, google has also come under criticism for their gathering and storing of the information of its users (here).

Google Watch points out that every email sent to or from a Gmail account is stored on google’s database, potentially forever, even if deleted from the inbox. This has concerned many people over the sheer amount of information that could be gathered on each user over a period of time and what could be done with it.

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