21 February, 2006

United States = Hypocrisy

The United States is becoming one of the biggest hypocrisies of the modern era. Take its position on censorship, for instance:

Neither the congressional critics nor human rights activists were impressed.

They accused the tech firms of helping Chinese authorities spread disinformation and become more repressive.

. . . . .

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, who chaired the House subcommittee hearing, compared the tech company's actions to IBM's collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II. Smith, a New Jersey Republican, dismissed the claim by firms that they have to obey local laws.

"If the secret police a half century ago asked where Anne Frank was hiding, would the correct answer be to hand over the information in order to comply with local laws?" Smith asked. "We must stand with the oppressed, not the oppressors."

(Read more on CNN and Arstechnica.)


Contrast this with recent action taken by the United States Government:
US intelligence agencies have been removing thousands of historical documents from public access, the New York Times has reported.
. . . . .

The New York Times said the reclassification programme accelerated after President Bush took office and especially after the 9/11 attacks.

But because it runs in secrecy, it continued without being noticed until December 2005.

(Notice how I had to go to a news source
outside of the United States in order to find this story -- it's not on the New York Times web site that I can see. This just might provoke one's thoughts to consider whether or not the search results we within the United States receive from search engine companies are being censored without our knowledge.)

It is my personal opinion that, quite ironically, perhaps the Chinese Government (of all sources and institutions) has best expressed this hypocritical action:
"It is unfair and smacks of double standards when (foreigners) criticize China for deleting illegal and harmful messages, while it is legal for US websites to do so," [Mr Liu Zhengrong, deputy chief of the Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Office] said.

Just one more thing I'd like to point out: I'd love to see how the United States Government reacts when foreign corporations who are operating within the borders of the United States begin ignoring United States federal and local laws:
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, who chaired the House subcommittee hearing, compared the tech company's actions to IBM's collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II. Smith, a New Jersey Republican, dismissed the claim by firms that they have to obey local laws.

Finally, take all of this in light with the fact that some members of Congress have been banned from participating in the editing of Wikipedia, the free, online, collaborative encyclopedia, due to misuse and abuse in an attempt to revise history.

**UPDATE** Here's more information about the censorship by the US government of previously declassified documents, from the Department of Homeland Stupidity web site.