Skype Plays Footsie With Dictators

Skype has been playing footsie with dictators: Its CEO admits that it censors text messages containing words that the Chinese authorities don't like, such as "Falun Gong" and "Dalai Lama."...

April 19, 2006

1 Min Read
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Skype has been playing footsie with dictators: Its CEO admits that it censors text messages containing words that the Chinese authorities don't like, such as "Falun Gong" and "Dalai Lama." Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom admitted to the Financial Times that his company uses filters to censor words on behalf of the Chinese powers-that-be.

Zennstrom defended his company's actions, saying that it's "what everyone else in that market is doing." He added "Those are the regulations."

After inserting his foot partway in his mouth, he then proceeded to stick it all the way in, claiming that censoring messages on behalf of the Chinese government was really just the same thing as complying with business regulations in Western countries.

The censorship is being undertaken by Skype's joint partner in China, Tom Online, and Zennstrom said the actions are proper.

Instant messaging and VoIP are all about simpler, faster, less-expensive communications, and breaking down the barriers between people. Skype is doing the exact opposite of that.Zennstrom can talk all he wants about how Chinese censorship is the exact same thing as business regulations. But I'm sure he's smarter than that, and knows that's not the case.

He's doing it for one reason, and one reason alone: He has a yen for the yen, and will do anything he can to get it.

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