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Blogging in China
Alex Steffen, 24 Nov 04

Dan Gillmor has a great column on the emergence of blogging in the PRC:

"Isaac Mao, a 32-year-old technologist, investor and one of the first Chinese bloggers... has intriguing ideas on how blogging could penetrate further into Chinese society. One vital improvement, he says, will be blogging software that lets people make postings visible only to a selected audience, not to society (and government monitors) at large. Another useful technology, he says, would be a more decentralized blog-hosting system. When centralized server computers host the majority of blogs, they are inevitably vulnerable to government pressure, as China's bloggers have discovered.

China is a welter of contradictions. There are free local Internet dial-up phone numbers in big cities, where anyone can get onto the Net anonymously. But the Great Firewall Internet filtering system -- built by the government but assisted by U.S. tech companies (including San Jose's own Cisco) that only see dollar signs -- blocks so much useful and thought-provoking information from the people."

(See also Xiao Chiang's and Ethan Zuckerman's ideas on the matter.)

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Really interesting about the usefulness of selective viewing access permissions. That's the kind of thing that i-together is hoping to facilitate with the Community Fabric IT initiative, which aims to enshrine a respect for freedom and at the same time for boundaries of identity into the very fabric of socially networked applications.

Posted by: Luke Razzell on 24 Nov 04



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