Evading the Moral Question

 Posted by on 25 July 2005 at 10:28 am  Uncategorized
Jul 252005

Anne Applebaum has an interesting op-ed on US technology companies (like Microsoft) helping repressive regimes (like China) control and limit the free exchange of ideas in order to prolong the rule of those regimes. Like Ms. Applebaum, I’m struck by the lack of concern these companies show for the morality of such actions.

Until now, most of these companies have defended themselves on the grounds that there are side benefits — a Microsoft spokesman has said that “we’re helping millions of people communicate, share stories, share photographs and build relationships” — or on the grounds that they can’t control technology anyway. A Cisco spokesman told me that this is the “same equipment technology that your local library uses to block pornography,” and besides, “we’re not doing anything illegal.”

Oy, that’s pathetic. (I wonder how much altruism is to blame for such attitudes. It is, after all, the source of the view that morality has nothing to do with business.)

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