from the trust-but-verify dept.
AudioGuy writes "A Guardian reporter, Rebecca MacKinnon, has some interesting insights on how Chinese censorship may be inadvertently leaking into Micosoft's Bing Search engine.
"After conducting my own research, running my own tests, and drawing upon nearly a decade of experience studying Chinese Internet censorship, I have concluded that what several activists and journalists have described as censorship on Bing is actually what one might call "second hand censorship". Basically, Microsoft failed to consider the consequences of blindly applying apolitical mathematical algorithms to politically manipulated and censored web content. The algorithm deployed by Bing may be mathematically sound, but it fails to protect online freedom of expression. Bing failed to take into account the political reality of Chinese government censorship and its broader impact on the shape of the Chinese Internet. Without adjustments to how simplified Chinese websites based outside of mainland China are "weighted," exiled and dissident online voices inevitably lose out. Put it another way: an apolitical mathematical formula automatically amplifies Chinese government censorship to all people searching for simplified Chinese content anywhere in the world, not just in China."
Apparently Google had the same problem, but has managed to write code to prevent these side effects."
So, as I write this, day one has officially come to an end. I'm still somewhat in shock over it. Last night when I was editing the database to change over hostnames and such, I was thinking, man, it would be great if we got 100 regular users by tomorrow. Turns out I was wrong. By a factor of ten. Holy cow, people. I'm still in a state of disbelief, partially due to the epic turnout, but also because our very modest server hardware hasn't soiled itself from the influx (the numbers are, well, "impressive" is a way to put it). Anyway, I wanted to do a bit of a writeup of where we stand now, what works, and what doesn't. Check it out (and some raw numbers) after the break! Warning, it is a bit lengthy.