09 December 2015
Silicon Valley companies facing a political debate about cooperating with the U.S. government can look to Asia to see how that works in real life.
While Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc. deal with calls to provide encryption back-doors or hand over data to U.S. authorities, some of their Asian counterparts already are pliant. Threats including sectarian violence and political unrest have prompted pressure on Asian online services in a region where freedom of speech rarely has strong constitutional protections like the U.S. with the First Amendment.
Phone and Internet companies operating from China to India to South Korea can see their messaging services censored, content scrubbed or users identified. Whether it’s to combat religious tensions or protect the ruling party, those actions can apply to anyone doing business in those countries, including Tencent Holdings Ltd., Facebook Inc. or LinkedIn Corp.
… “When a government in this region makes even a gentle request of a company, it’s taken as an order,” said Rohan Gunaratna, who runs the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. “That’s a huge difference from the West, where they’re so focused on human rights and freedom.”
GPO / ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 10/12/2015