The “Wernher von Braun” defense

Amnesty International has charged that Chinese authorities continue to use technology provided by Microsoft and other foreign companies to censor and control use of the Internet.

Amnesty first reported in 2002 on the Chinese government’s efforts to monitor and restrict Internet use by its citizens.

Foreign companies, including Websense and Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Microsoft, have reportedly provided important technology which helps the Chinese authorities censor the Internet. Nortel Networks along with some other international firms are reported to be providing China with the technology which will help it shift from filtering content at the international gateway level to filtering content of individual computers, in homes, Internet cafes, universities and businesses.

Microsoft responded to the latest Amnesty report by telling The Observer: “We are focused on delivering the best technology to people throughout the world. However, how that technology is used is with the individual and ultimately not in the company’s control.”

That response should remind anyone familiar with the satirical/political songs of Tom Lehrer of his 1965 classic about the famous Nazi rocket scientist turned famous American rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun:

“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun

(Via Demisemiblog.)