Bobbie Johnson and Tania Branigan
Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
After pouring billions of dollars into the global fight against malaria and rebranding Microsoft in a more cuddly, human way, Bill Gates had just about shaken off accusations that he represented all that was unappealing about aggressive *American capitalism.
But today his reinvention suffered something of a setback when he played down China’s attempts to stifle dissent on the internet as “very limited”.
Less than two weeks after Google said it planned to uncensor its Chinese search engine in protest at attempts to break into the email accounts of human rights activists, Gates criticised his rival’s decision and insisted that agreeing to Beijing’s demands was just part of doing business in the country. “You’ve got to decide: do you want to obey the laws of the countries you’re in or not? If not, you may not end up doing business there,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America programme.
He also brushed aside accusations that Microsoft has been complicit in helping filter the web by saying that it was not an issue because any censorship could be circumvented with technical knowledge. “Chinese efforts to censor the internet have been very limited,” he said. “It’s easy to go around it, so I think keeping the internet thriving there is very important.”
Full article here