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BLOG: Microsoft becomes autocrats' best friend

Preston Gralla | March 11, 2013
In most of the world Skype is used to make it easier for people to communicate with each other. But in China, it has another purpose: To spy on Chinese citizens, gather information about their political beliefs, and censor what they can say to one another. And Microsoft so far has refused to do anything about it.

When Bloomberg Business Week asked Microsoft to comment about Knockel's research, the company issued a statement that it attributed to an unnamed Skype spokesperson:

"Skype's mission is to break down barriers to communications and enable conversations worldwide. Skype is committed to continued improvement of end user transparency wherever our software is used...

"...in China, the Skype software is made available through a joint venture with TOM Online. As majority partner in the joint venture, TOM has established procedures to meet its obligations under local laws."

Microsoft is as wrong as wrong can be in this. Google has already taken a principled stand against Chinese censorship. Microsoft should follow suit. Enabling Chinese spying and censorship is flat-out wrong.

By the way, if you want more information about the TOM-Skype research,check out Knockel's Web site, or download his slide deck about his research.

 

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