Originally published: November 23, 2009
Last updated: November 23, 2009 - 4:18pm
When President Obama told university students in Shanghai last week that he's a "big supporter of non-censorship," it took 27 minutes for one major Chinese portal to delete that part of his speech. After two-and-a-half hours, almost all portals in the nation took out the comments from news coverage. Despite what appeared to be the Chinese government's clampdown on the controversial issue of online censorship, an explosive exchange about Obama's support for "open Internet use" surfaced on blogs and on Twitter. "That is the optimistic part of the story," said Andrew McLaughlin, the nation's deputy technology officer, recounting the event. In a telecom law conference last Thursday by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln law school, McLaughlin and Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia University, talked about how an open Internet, or so-called net neutrality, underlies free speech on the Web. Without it, censorship can occur. "If it bothers you that the China government does it, it should bother you when your cable company does it," McLaughlin said.
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