09.09.11

Gemini version available ♊︎

Cablegate: Microsoft Receives Complaints for Censoring Search Results in Hong Kong Without Government Demands

Posted in Asia, Cablegate, Microsoft at 2:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Insight into Microsoft’s censorship in China/Hong Kong and what was causing it (or not causing it)

CENSORSHIP in search is a subjective issue and in order to understand it better, one might wish to know who is pressuring who.

A manager from Microsoft “insisted Microsoft was not asked by the Hong Kong government or any other government to implement filtering but then said she would have to confirm this. She added that Microsoft had used this filtering functionality since Bing’s launch but that the strict setting in some Asia countries was implemented only in September 2009.”

It is also said “that Microsoft had not received any customer complaints or inquiries about the strict SafeSearch setting used in Hong Kong until the SCMP article appeared. She also noted that her office had received inquires from the Hong Kong government.”

Here is the full Cablegate cable.


VZCZCXRO2783
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHHK #0112 0201048
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201048Z JAN 10
FM AMCONSUL HONG KONG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9438
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS HONG KONG 000112 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EAP/CM, EEB/CIP, OES/STC AND OES/PCI 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON, ETRD, HK, TINT, SOCI, CH 
SUBJECT: HONG KONG YAHOO AND MICROSOFT BLOCK ADULT CONTENT 
 
1.  (U) Hong Kong's major English daily, the South China 
Morning Post (SCMP), reported January 17 that both 
Yahoo.com.hk and Microsoft's Bing search engine in Hong Kong 
were now blocking adult content through the use of strict 
"SafeSearch" filters.  Users of the Yahoo-owned Flickr photo 
sharing website in Hong Kong were also reportedly prohibited 
from posting or sharing adult content.  Although users in 
most jurisdictions are able to customize search parameters to 
include or exclude adult content, Hong Kong users do not have 
that option.  The SCMP reported both Yahoo and Microsoft 
attributed their strict filtering to their desire to respect 
"local customs, norms and laws," and noted that both 
companies enforced similar restrictions in South Korea, India 
and Singapore. 
 
2.  (SBU) Yahoo! Asia Director for Public Policy Patrick Chu 
confirmed to EconOff that Yahoo! did use SafeSearch to filter 
pornographic images from its Hong Kong searches.  He denied 
the SCMP implication that this was a new policy, however. 
Yahoo! had been filtering adult content since 2007, said Chu. 
 Hong Kong law makes it an offense to publish obscene 
articles or pictures.  In the wake of legal cases in 2007 and 
2008 that resulted in fines for individuals convicted of 
linking to or posting lewd material, Yahoo! decided to filter 
searches to protect its local staff and directors, said Chu. 
Yahoo!'s decision to filter this material was purely its own, 
he said, and denied that the Hong Kong government had ever 
contacted Yahoo! Asia regarding its treatment of adult 
content.  Chu insisted that Yahoo! Asia was committed to 
internet freedom and did not filter searches for other 
content.  The SCMP article was the first time anyone had 
raised the issue since Yahoo! Asia began using SafeSearch, 
said Chu. 
 
3.  (SBU) Microsoft's Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs 
Winnie Yeung similarly told EconOff that Microsoft used 
SafeSearch to filter adult content from its Hong Kong 
searches.  Yeung felt the SCMP article was misleading since 
the strict SafeSearch setting was used in several Asian 
countries, not just Hong Kong.  The reason was that these 
countries were considered "more conservative."  She insisted 
Microsoft was not asked by the Hong Kong government or any 
other government to implement filtering but then said she 
would have to confirm this.  She added that Microsoft had 
used this filtering functionality since Bing's launch but 
that the strict setting in some Asia countries was 
implemented only in September 2009.  Yeung stated that 
Microsoft had not received any customer complaints or 
inquiries about the strict SafeSearch setting used in Hong 
Kong until the SCMP article appeared.  She also noted that 
her office had received inquires from the Hong Kong 
government. 
 
 
MARUT 


Around that same time Microsoft was slammed for censoring results not just for sexual content. Some called for a boycott, even in the New York Times.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 16, 2022



  3. Links 17/1/2022: postmarketOS 21.12 Service Pack 1 and Mumble 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  4. [Meme] Gemini Space (or Geminispace): From 441 Working Capsules to 1,600 Working Capsules in Just 12 Months

    Gemini space now boasts 1,600 working capsules, a massive growth compared to last January, as we noted the other day (1,600 is now official)



  5. [Meme] European Patent Office Space

    The EPO maintains a culture of illegal surveillance, inherited from Benoît Battistelli and taken to a whole new level by António Campinos



  6. Gemini Rings (Like Webrings) and Shared Spaces in Geminspace

    Much like the Web of 20+ years ago, Gemini lets online communities — real communities (not abused tenants, groomed to be ‘monetised’ like in Facebook or Flickr) — form networks, guilds, and rings



  7. Links 16/1/2022: Latte Dock 0.11 and librest 0.9.0

    Links for the day



  8. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

    In an overt attack on the people who actually did all the work — the geeks who built excellent software to be gradually privatised through the Linux Foundation (a sort of price-fixing and openwashing cartel for shared interests of proprietary software firms) — is receiving more widespread condemnation; even the OSI has been bribed to become a part-time Microsoft outsourcer as organisations are easier to corrupt than communities



  9. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

    The António Campinos-led EPO works for imperialism, it not only protects the rich; sadly, António’s father isn’t alive anymore and surely he would blast his son for doing what he does to progress his career while lying to staff and European citizens



  10. Links 16/1/2022: Tsunami and Patents

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 15, 2022



  12. Links 16/1/2022: Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop and Catch-up With Patent Misinformation

    Links for the day



  13. Patrick Breyer, Unlike Most German Politicians, Highlights the Fact That Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent Are Incompatible With EU Law

    A longtime critic of EPO abuses (under both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos leadership), as well as a vocal critic of software patents, steps in to point out the very obvious



  14. Links 15/1/2022: Flameshot 11.0 and Libvirt 8.0

    Links for the day



  15. Blogging and Microblogging in Geminispace With Gemini Protocol

    Writing one’s thoughts and other things in Geminispace — even without setting up a Gemini server — is totally possible; gateways and services do exist for this purpose



  16. Links 15/1/2022: Raspberry Pi in Business

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 14, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 14, 2022



  18. Gemini Clients: Comparing Moonlander, Telescope, Amfora, Kristall, and Lagrange (Newer and Older)

    There are many independent implementations of clients (similar to Web browsers) that deal with Gemini protocol and today we compare them visually, using Techrights as a test case/capsule



  19. 2022 Starts With Censorship of Christmas and Other Greetings at the EPO

    The nihilists who run the EPO want a monopoly on holiday greetings; to make matters worse, they’re censoring staff representatives in their intranet whilst inconsistently applying said policies



  20. Links 14/1/2022: FFmpeg 5.0 and Wine 7.0 RC6

    Links for the day



  21. White House Asking Proprietary Software Companies That Add NSA Back Doors About Their Views on 'Open Source' Security

    The US government wants us to think that in order to tackle security issues we need to reach out to the collective 'wisdom' of the very culprits who created the security mess in the first place (even by intention, for imperialistic objectives)



  22. Links 14/1/2022: EasyOS 3.2.1 and Qt 6.3 Alpha

    Links for the day



  23. Scientific Excellence and the Debian Social Contract

    The Debian Project turns 30 next year; in spite of it being so ubiquitous (most of the important distros of GNU/Linux are based on Debian) it is suffering growing pains and some of that boils down to corporate cash and toxic, deeply divisive politics



  24. Links 14/1/2022: openSUSE Leap 15.2 EoL, VFX Designers Are Using GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 13, 2022



  26. 2022 Commences With Microsoft-Themed (and Microsoft-Connected) FUD Against GNU/Linux

    A psychopathic Microsoft, aided by operatives inside the mainstream and so-called 'tech' media, keeps spreading old and invalid stigma about "Linux" and Free software; few people still bother responding to these fact-free FUD campaigns, which boil down to ‘perception management’ PR/propaganda



  27. Between January 2021 and January 2022 the Number of Active Gemini Capsules Nearly Quadrupled Based on Publicly-Available Catalogue of Capsules

    Geminispace has grown to about 2,000 known capsules and 1,600 of them are active, permanently online, fully accessible; in January last year these numbers were about 4 times smaller



  28. Links 13/1/2022: NetworkManager 1.34 and Everett 3.0.0

    Links for the day



  29. Links 13/1/2022: Sparky 5.16, Fwupd 1.7.4, and KDE Plasma 5.24 Beta Released

    Links for the day



  30. Call a Spade a Spade (Microsoft 'Contributions' to Linux)

    Call a spade a spade; Microsoft does not love Linux and doesn’t try to help Linux, as it’s still all about Windows and proprietary software with surveillance, back doors, and worse things


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts