Thursday, September 12, 2002

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NETWORKS VS. GOVERNMENTS: China has blocked access to Google, according to the New York Times. This comes in the wake of a summer in which the government shut down 14,000 cybercafes in a few weeks and got Yahoo! and other ISPs to agree to regulate their content. Saudi Arabia has also had success in filtering content, but China is different in that it wants to exploit the commercial possibilities while avoiding the political side-effects. It's going for the Singapore model.

There is a disturbing parallel between China's effort to regulate the Net and the U.S. war on terrorism. Al Qaeda operates along the same decentralized network structure as the Internet. Great powers want to control those networks. China's ability to regulate content suggests that maybe the U.S. will be able to prevent the anonymous communications and money laundering that form the backbone of Al-Qaeda. However, it also suggests that for China, the libertarian logic of economic exchange leading to idea exchange leading to democracy won't be happening anytime soon.

posted by Dan on 09.12.02 at 12:56 PM