平中要对《Cities, Citizens, and Technologies》的笔记(2)

平中要 (卧阑惊铁树,花开一片心)

在读 Cities, Citizens, and Technologies

Cities, Citizens, and Technologies
  • 书名: Cities, Citizens, and Technologies
  • 作者: Geyh, Paula
  • 页数: 264
  • 出版年: 2009-4
  • 第106页 The City of Control and the Polis
    No country has done more than China to darken visions of the Internet
    as a force for openness and democracy. The government of the People’s
    Republic of China has, as Reporters Without Borders observes, demon-
    strated that “the Internet can indeed become a propaganda media. On its
    own, it will not suffi ce to support the emergence of democracy in any signifi -
    cant way. And it can be totally controlled by a government that equips itself
    to do so” (“China”). China has successfully erected a vast, nearly impen-
    etrable fi rewall around the entire mainland Chinese Internet, ensuring that
    all Internet communications and content are controlled and censored, that
    all public-access terminals are equipped with surveillance systems, and that
    cyberdissidents are swiftly tracked down and imprisoned. It has done so,
    moreover, with the assistance of major U.S. corporations, including Cisco,
    Microsoft, Yahoo and Google, thus creating a kind of complicity between
    capitalism and communism, a certain form of communism (to the degree
    the denomination is applicable) that was unimaginable during the cold war.
    Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft all have, as a condition of doing business in
    China, signed a document entitled the “Public Pledge on Self-Discipline for
    the Chinese Internet Industry,” in which they agreed to fulfi ll the following
    disciplinary obligations with respect to the Internet services they provide:
    1. Refraining from producing, posting or disseminating pernicious
    information that may jeopardize state security and disrupt social sta-
    bility, contravene laws and regulations and spread superstition and
    obscenity. Monitor the information publicized by users on websites
    according to law and remove the harmful information promptly;
    2. Refraining from establishing links to the websites that contain harm-
    ful information so as to ensure that the content of the network infor-
    mation is lawful and healthy. (Internet Society of China)
    2019-10-10 15:41:33 回应
  • 第106页 The City of Control and the Polis
    By doing so, these corporations effectively transform themselves into,
    in the words of Reporters Without Borders, a “Chinese police auxiliary”
    (“Living Dangerously”). 25 Such “pernicious information” apparently
    includes anything relating to such interdicted terms as “freedom,” “democ-
    racy,” “multi-party elections,” “public opinion,” or “human rights.” In
    this context at least (but this is far from the only context in which this
    argument applies), the disconnect between the rhetoric seen in corporate
    The City of Control and the Polis 107
    advertisements and “mission statements” and the actions of those corpo-
    rations is massive. Consider, for example, this statement from the Google
    corporate website’s “Company Overview”: “Google’s mission is to orga-
    nize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and use-
    ful” (emphasis added). Several of the “truths” propounded in the section
    entitled “Our Philosophy—Ten things Google has found to be true” are
    also noteworthy. “Democracy on the Web works.” The “democracy” they
    refer to here, as their explanation makes clear, pertains to their PageRank
    system, which allows users to “vote” on the usefulness of websites. Not the
    other kind of democracy. Another “truth” is “You can make money with-
    out doing evil.” Signifi cantly, the subsequent explanation of this principle
    begins, “Google is a business” and goes on to explain that advertising on
    Google search pages is clearly identifi ed and limited only to ads relevant to
    the particular search. To do otherwise, it seems to suggest, would be “evil.”
    Censoring the Internet at the behest of the Chinese government and helping
    them track down political dissidents, apparently, is not.
    The “cooperation” of Google and other corporations with the Chinese
    government’s censorship of the Internet justifi es MacKinnon and Palfrey’s
    assessment that “The Great Firewall of China isn’t the state’s only weapon;
    there is also Censorship Inc.” China’s massive censorship and surveillance
    system does not, however, only affect its 1.3 billion citizens. As MacKin-
    non and Palfrey point out, “China’s efforts to keep sensitive information
    from reaching its citizens is the envy of every authoritarian regime in the
    world.” China’s system of Internet control has served as a model for many
    of the world’s most repressive governments. China is, however, more than
    just inspiration for such repressive regimes. “Censorship,” MacKinnon and
    Palfrey report, “has become a popular Chinese export. Techniques and
    software for Internet control, developed in China, are now being applied
    in countries like Vietnam and Iran.” Nor is Internet censorship limited to
    just these countries: some degree of Internet surveillance and censorship
    (usually justifi ed on the grounds of national security, crime prevention or
    prosecution, or enforcement of copyright and intellectual property laws)
    also occurs in most of the world’s major democracies.
    This surveillance and censorship generally make use of both content
    analysis and blocking technologies. Content-analysis software screens con-
    tent requests (e.g., Internet searches) and the actual content of websites,
    blogs, discussion forums, and e-mail by searching for forbidden keywords,
    phrases, and even images. For example, in the U.S., a Google Images search
    for “Tiananmen” yields multiple versions of the famous photograph of the
    lone man confronting the line of tanks during the Tiananmen Square pro-
    tests; the same search on Google Images China yields an array of touristic
    shots of the Square (Sullivan). Like Internet search software, this content-
    analysis software is increasingly acquiring sophisticated and effective
    semantic capabilities that go far beyond simple word recognition. 26 At pres-
    ent, however, the Chinese State Security Protection Bureau supplements
    108 Cities, Citizens, and Technologies
    these capabilities by employing legions of human censors who compile lists
    of forbidden websites, blogs, and proxy servers and anonymizers (both of
    which can be used to circumvent blocking technologies) that are then pro-
    grammed into the various screening and blocking mechanisms.
    Such content screening and concomitant content blocking can take place
    on multiple levels. Individual computers can be equipped with customiz-
    able fi ltering software, which, for example, many repressive governments
    install on Internet café, library, and other public-access computers (which
    provide virtually the only access available in many parts of the world).
    The use of these control devices is, of course, not restricted to China’s and
    other repressive governments, or democratic governments, which can also
    become repressive with the help of such devices. Private citizens and cor-
    porations increasingly use them as well, bringing various forms of control
    into the polis of the Web. Organizations with local area networks, such as
    corporations that might wish to curtail their employees’ access to parts of
    the Internet (or ability to surf the Web on company time), can arrange for
    the fi ltering to occur at the level of the network or an intermediary “proxy”
    server. Internet service providers and search companies, too, can provide
    such fi lters.
    2019-10-10 15:43:31 回应