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Can Companies Like Apple and Facebook and Google do Business in China Ethically?

The Wall Street Journal in China’s Stopchat: Censors Can Now Erase Images Mid-Transmission reports:

BEIJING—China’s already formidable internet censors have demonstrated a new strength—the ability to delete images in one-on-one chats as they are being transmitted, making them disappear before receivers see them.

The ability is part of a broader technology push by Beijing’s censors to step up surveillance and get ahead of activists and others communicating online in China.

Displays of this new image-filtering capability kicked into high gear last week as Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo lay dying from liver cancer and politically minded Chinese tried to pay tribute to him, according to activists and a new research report.

...

The future of AI (artificial intelligence) is there in plain sight.

The disease of our time is that so-called journalists report on events but are rabidly silent on even rudimentary implications—reporting concretized facts devoid of any conceptual understanding of the implications of those facts/events. Real news, fake intellect.

Can a company like Facebook or Apple or Google or Yahoo ever do business in China without giving their implicit sanction and support to a repressive government which lacks any concept of individual rights? Not speaking out against an evil means supporting it. Yet these companies pander to any dubious statistical allegation of workplace unfairness. Silence speaks volumes, but apparently profits speak louder. Ethics do not have a price, nor can one engage thugs or repressive regimes on any intellectual basis—only brute force is understood, or at the least, refusing to deal. The hypocrisy in objecting to our own government’s policies but remaining silent with repressive countries lays bare the ethical vaccum. Combine that ethical vaccum with AI and the future looks dystopian.

Here in the USA, Google finally stopped spying on user email for marketing/sales purposes. Ponder that versus the “don’t be evil” Google motto long ago abandonded.

Update 29 July: Apple values profits over privacy and human rights from what I can tell: Apple Removes Apps That Allowed China Users to Get Around Filters. Becoming an agent of the State makes Apple an accessory to oppression and denial of human rights.

Apple’s move appears aimed at helping the company stay on the safe side of a raft of tough new cybersecurity regulations designed to solidify Beijing’s grip on the Chinese internet. Earlier this month, the Cupertino, Calif., technology giant announced that, because of the new rules, it planned to store all of its Chinese customers’ data on servers operated by a government-controlled company.

 

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