Powerful Americans vs. Helpless Chinese

Yes, the title is intended to be dramatic.

First, there’s the feelgood part: Netflix has decided to keep separate profiles for single accounts. As a Netflix subscriber: Thank you. When I heard they were going to eliminate the profiles, I wondered (right after copying my 300+ DVD queue into a an OpenOffice spreadsheet) if there was really a time when taking away the profiles could be justified. I could not think of one. Even when everything that’s available on DVD has been converted to Instant Watch, parents (like the Netflix Product Manager known as “Todd”) will still want separate profiles to prevent their children from checking out the latest soft-core porn that Netflix uploads. (Not that they won’t be able to get it elsewhere, but at least the parents will feel like they have some control)

As they say, The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease. And so, as with Serenity, Americans get what they want.

Which brings us to the Chinese. While it hasn’t been confirmed, there are rumors that China has been blocking access to Facebook. Honestly, nothing scares me more than when China decides to block and/or redirect websites. As Cory Doctorow says in his latest Guardian column:

The internet is only that wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press in a single connection. It’s only
vital to the livelihood, social lives, health, civic engagement, education and leisure of hundreds of millions of people (and growing every day).

And the government of the world’s most populous country basically gets to control what people can do with that wire.


Posted on July 2, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Powerful Americans vs. Helpless Chinese.

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