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Zoom Acknowledges It Suspended Activists' Accounts at China's Request (npr.org)
1069 points by dehrmann 30 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 371 comments



“The reality is Zoom operates in more than 80 countries and continues to expand, which requires compliance with local laws even as Zoom seeks to promote the open exchange of ideas.“

This kind of rationalization isn’t just a problem with Zoom, Apple does the same thing - blocking podcasts and other apps in the Chinese market (also the Taiwan flag emoji).

This is wrong.

What’s legal and what’s right are not the same thing, Zoom’s PR about the promotion of an “open exchange of ideas” is nonsense and both Zoom and the CCP know it.

Companies that work to suppress the rights of citizens are complicit in that suppression and its legality is irrelevant.

When Zoom is requested to send over names and videos of political dissidents to authoritarian leaders will they comply?

I’m sure those killed will be pleased to know Zoom was operating within the legal framework of their country.

Legality should be the bare minimum standard - and in countries with bad laws (Middle East, China) it shouldn’t even be that.


Also, as absolutely reprehensible Apple's similar actions are, Zoom canceled _a US based account_ because of a Chinese request. It's one thing to be all "we comply with local laws", and another to enforce one country's geopolitical aspirations across international borders.

Like, I think companies should take a stand and both aren't acceptable, but Zoom takes new, additional steps here.


Most US companies that I am familiar with apply US laws to all their users, at least to some extent. For example, I don't think that YouTube will allow you to post a blatantly copyright-infringing video, even if your account declares a country that doesn't enforce US copyright laws. Similarly, I suspect that Facebook would take down a page for a terrorist group, without needing permission from the country they are based in. I'm curious if you know of counterexamples.

I'm not necessarily saying that US and Chinese laws are equivalent in this sense, but it does seem like something of a double standard.


US companies may enforce US law but they're not hiding the fact that they're US companies. Zoom claimed not to be a Chinese company while enforcing Chinese law for US users.


Yeah, but this is the mistake they’re acknowledging with a promise to build out the system to only suppress the mainland China citizens specifically.

My point is that this is not acceptable either.


It's not really a "mistake". They were aware they lacked functionality to region block meetings and rather than reply to the Chinese government that such a request will not be possible to comply with for x days until feature is developed, they opted to suppress US users. That sets a bad precedent for future ambiguous issues.


>Yeah, but this is the mistake they’re acknowledging

Out of interest, did they fix their "mistake" and reinstate the accounts?


Great question. Will show where they land.

Still waiting to see if China will show NBA games while Daryl Morey remains unfired.

https://qz.com/1730643/china-asked-nba-to-fire-daryl-morey-f...

How long is the west going to pretend it doesn’t see where this pattern of bullying ends...


Afaik, they have reinstated the accounts


To some extent there is a per-country copyright block. There are some videos not available in the US but available other places because of copyright claims. It probably has to do with who the copyright holder is.


Is the Youtube entity dealing with EU users a US company ? Aren’t they based in Ireland for all business and legal purposes for these users ?


US copyright is enforceable overseas due to trade agreements. As a US citizen do you think you can infringe EU's copyright law?

It is true that US's culture has spilled into the terms of use of some of these services. I still remember the "napalm girl" being censored on Facebook for public display of nudity.

However these aren't examples of individuals being targeted by the US government.

Also just because there are instances of other companies having a negative impact on foreign users, it doesn't make this particular instance any less bad. It's a logical fallacy to imply otherwise.

Fuck Zoom. Fuck the Chinese administration.

There, now go say that in China without fearing for your life or that of your loved ones.


There are plenty of countries that US copyright law is enforced on a US company's platform even though there are NO trade agreements with the US with respect to copyright. Otherwise, piracy would be allowed to be hosted in numerous countries.

It's a blatant double standard.


Such as?

These trade agreements are global. The countries that don't have trade agreements are usually those suffering through an embargo.


Beautiful use of strong language.


Not exactly, because if you are based in a certain country, you must follow their laws regardless of where the user is.

Plus obeying local laws in regards to local residents, which don’t apply to this allegation.

So, by this logic, Zoom’s actions only make sense if they are based in China.


Zoom can choose to ban / block whoever they want for whatever reason they want.

Can’t they? They’re not required to do business with any particular individual by statute, are they?


I think the above discussion is about whether they have to, not whether they can. Zoom can ban all of their users if they want to, but presumably they only will do so if pressured, because businesses want users and also suspending accounts is bad press. By the way, you're also allowed to be outraged by what a business does even when that business is acting within its rights.


I get the feeling there is no bad press in this context.

Zoom gets lots of free press exposure and gets to point out how they are improving.


I didn’t really care until now - and I won’t use zoom for any more personal conversations and am about to email my employer to move away from Zoom for this reason. So yes bad press?


Only if their daily / weekly / monthly active users decreases


Nope! As a US company though of course they're not allowed to refuse to do business with someone based on gender, religion, or ethnicity though.

However it's still unethical.


Where you can see this most clearly is nudity. Traditionally europe had a more liberal approach when it came to nudity — that was until US platforms came in with their prude nipple policing.


Not Twitter!


Nor reddit by the way!

I think platforms are OK to publish this as long as it's behind an "NSFW" wall/toggle. But platforms like Facebook choose not to have one (not to mention that the policy of real names isn't really compatible with posting NSFW content)


I'm okay with double standards that are because we need to treat freedom and democracy differently to the threat that tyranny is.


> For example, I don't think that YouTube will allow you to post a blatantly copyright-infringing video, even if your account declares a country that doesn't enforce US copyright laws

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the data held to US law if it's stored in the US? I'm pretty sure the federal government wouldn't take kindly to me storing petabytes of copyrighted works in the US, regardless of whether my clients are in Chicago, South Africa, or Taiwan.

Zoom's datacenters are theoretically in the US, therefore the regulations US consumers should be held to are US regulations. If they want to play the "we follow local laws" card, they could have restricted the meeting in China only.

For the record, I think what the CCP is doing here is reprehensible, but I'm just trying to add my perspective on this specific issue.


It's definitely a US law applies everywhere thing for US based companies.

Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft apply DMCA takedown requests to servers hosted physically outside of the US.


Googles Servers aren't exclusively located in the US.


This double standard is an excellent point.

For example, US companies have no problem enforcing US copyright law in countries that have no such laws or trade agreements with the US. Otherwise, piracy would be allowed on sites like YouTube as long as the uploader was from one of these countries. Yet, US laws of free speech no longer seem to matter if the user is in an oppressive country.

The selective enforcement of US law to non-US users is a terrible double standard that needs to change.


There are like three small companies that aren't signatories of the Berne convention. So YouTube is probably don't the right thing in regards to copyright ( with the exception of possibly some differences on what is public domain) While your point about following us laws are valid, copyright was a poor example. But there is also the issue that most us companies are actually us companies and still need to follow us laws.


You want to talk copyright and IP violations with the context putting China as the victim? That’s... actually laughable.


At some point the US will wake up as a nation and realize this is a new kind of war. Why suddenly is there a lot of pro chinese statements around the internet where there was none before?


> I'm not necessarily saying that US and Chinese laws are equivalent in this sense, but it does seem like something of a double standard.

And that’s perfectly fine.


The idea that your country knows best and that your countries companies can feel free to ignore other countries laws while operating in them is -- imperialism.

GhostVII 30 days ago [flagged]

I think it is fair to say that the laws in the US are objectively better than in China. The US does not put hundreds of thousands of people in camps because of their religion, or heavily censor the internet, or kill hundreds or thousands of civilians to suppress pro-democracy protests.


You’re on shaky ground there.

The US does imprison more of its citizens on a per capita basis than any other comparable nation.

The US isn’t the moral beacon it was billed to be.

I’ll stop there.


> The USA suffers from some of what it accuses the PRC - it is still not the PRC.

> The US isn’t the moral beacon it was billed to be.

Agreed. I think one difference being that Citizens can, with great personal peril to their own safety and well being, use the Right to assemble and protest to effect change to address systemic corruption.

As an activist with a background in protests in various demos myself, I just wonder what the World would have looked like if this had happened in 2008. There have been countless examples of senseless, illegal police brutality and murder during that time. I'm no fan of the movement but Occupy members were tazed, beaten, sprayed on a regular basis; and most of them were middle class white US Citizens.

The Legal system has not been a viable option for most to find redress to these ills, let alone justice, so they make taking to the streets the only option.

In the PRC doing that means you will be disspeared, and it can cost you your life if you speak out as seen with Li Wenlian, who's wife just had their child:

https://tucson.com/news/world/widow-of-chinese-whistleblower...


[flagged]


https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/tiananmen-square...

> On June 4, 1989, however, Chinese troops and security police stormed through Tiananmen Square, firing indiscriminately into the crowds of protesters. Turmoil ensued, as tens of thousands of the young students tried to escape the rampaging Chinese forces. Other protesters fought back, stoning the attacking troops and overturning and setting fire to military vehicles. Reporters and Western diplomats on the scene estimated that at least 300, and perhaps thousands, of the protesters had been killed and as many as 10,000 were arrested.

> The savagery of the Chinese government’s attack shocked both its allies and Cold War enemies. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared that he was saddened by the events in China. He said he hoped that the government would adopt his own domestic reform program and begin to democratize the Chinese political system.

In two weeks of protests around the country, 19 people are dead: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2020/06/08/14-days.... Three were possibly shot by the police, under circumstances where the allegation is they opened fire first. Two police officers are dead as a result of drive-by shootings.

The contrast with China couldn't be starker. Here we have protests that involved burning down police stations, and a heavily-armed country where gangs have used the protests as pre-texts for shootings. And we've had a handful of officer-involved deaths. In China, by contrast, police killed hundreds of people at a peaceful protest involving a disarmed population.


> Reporters and Western diplomats on the scene estimated that at least 300, and perhaps thousands, of the protesters had been killed

I hate to make this point, because it sounds like whataboutism, but perhaps the relative population size of China and the US is worth taking into account.

Let's assume that the 300 figure is the most accurate, since these (Western?) reporters and Western diplomats may have had some incentive in the Cold War to over-estimate the number of deaths. In 1989, China's total population was apparently 1,110,000,000 while the 1990 US census counted 248,709,873 people. That's a scale factor of about 4.5 times.

An interesting comparison then is the 82 people killed by the US government in the 1993 Waco siege, which is equivalent to 366 people if scaled up. Obviously the circumstances are different, but in terms of the magnitude of the number of lives lost, we should probably think of the two tragedies as similar.


And the USA did allow violence against democratic organizers last week.

But those same organizers weren't shipped to Guantanamo for indefinite periods of time for "reeducation."

The USA suffers from some of what it accuses the PRC - it is still not the PRC.


> weren't shipped to Guantanamo for indefinite periods of time for "reeducation."

But Ramsey Orta essentially was.

The difference in the USA is solely one of pervasiveness, focus, intensity, not any particular outcome.


Nobody is going to disagree that the US treats its citizens better, but we're talking about country's foreign influence here. China doesn't cripple the economy or bomb other countries they disagree with.


Do they not? They certainly were willing to outright invade a sovereign nation of mostly peaceful monks (Tibet) with ground forces, then claim the territory as its own, something I don't think the USA has done since Puerto Rico (the expansionism specifically).

They also challenge the sovereignty of Taiwan regularly - it was China who refused to allow two sovereign nations of Chinese origin when the UN switched the Chinese seat to the PRC.

Different countries different tools. The PRC has only really come into its element in the last 3 decades. The USA's foreign policy advocates-through-violence (CIA) don't have the best track record for success but they do have 80 years of experience. Give China time and I expect they'll start doing the same.


China's invasion of Tibet was just a battle between two warlords, much like those that occurred before it. China didn't start terrorizing peaceful monks until the Cultural Revolution, well after China incorporated Tibet.

> Give China time and I expect they'll start doing the same.

Fair enough, but I hope the US and China incentivize each other to not impose their will on the rest of the world.


> China doesn't cripple the economy or bomb other countries they disagree with.

Is that a bad thing if we're trying to promulgate our values?


Yes it is, no matter how good you think your values are the end never justifies the means


Societies which promulgate their values by murdering innocent people don't last long. Certainly you can see some fairly decent examples on the History Channel ...


I mean from the CCP's perspective, China is promulgating their values to the Uyghurs.


This. As outraged as I have been by America’s actions towards their protestors it’s honestly a lot different then HK let along tiananmen square (which my iPhone refuses to recognize.. well that’s fucked up yet expected I guess, and least Taiwan and 🇹🇼 Are there)

Trump is doing trump but a lot of politicians and others have spoken out and marched - would that happen in China?


My iPhone doesn't attempt to censor tiananmen square. Typing "tian" into the home screen search bar yields "tiananmen square", "tiana", "tiananmen square massacre", and "tiana musarra".


Maybe it’s chrome? I got a red squiggly line under tiananmen and presumed it was iOS. That’s my bad


Maybe the spell checker wanted you to capitalize it? Discord's spell check constantly tells me I've spelled "chicago", "wednesday", and "february" wrong. They're spelled right, but because they're proper nouns, they MUST be capitalized at any cost. It drives me mad.


Indeed, it’s a major tourism draw in Beijing, why would it be censored?


As long as the Americans can publicly point out that their leader is a bit fat without expecting to be punished they can point out the suppressing free speech is wrong.

To be a moral beacon here America doesn’t have to be perfect.

They just have to be able to say that their hypothetical leader is doing a bad job and that he should be replaced ...or not of they want to.

From that all else follows.


Your argument falls flat as soon as Americans start protesting the innocent lives lost in America's illegal wars - at this point, American censorship and attacks on independent thought match those of the PRC, even exceeding their capabilities in some cases (Assange, etc.)


If you honestly believe that laws in China aren't worse than US law, then I don't know what to tell you...

I think that most people can obviously see who has the worse laws, regarding things like censorship.


> You’re on shaky ground there.

Would you accept prison or murder as counter-argument to this or other opinions of yours? If not, you prefer free speech.

> The US isn’t the moral beacon it was billed to be.

Who billed it thusly? In my books, the US or other nations don't determine the value of free speech, their respect for free speech determines their value.


I agree that this is better to have no arrest for crime thought, no censorship, and no (government covered mass) murder.

It doesn't mean that we are objective on this regard. On the contrary, at least for me, it comes from the subjective feeling that as I dislike the sentiment of being oppressed and I do feel empathy for other people, I wish them not to be oppressed either. This is all subjectivly grounded, and it's fine - to my mind at least.

Let's not pretend that something is objective just because it's deeply rooted into the best part of our hearts.


> The US does not put hundreds of thousands of people in camps because of their religion,

I have to say that China did a lot of things wrong but it couldn't care any less about religion. Most of the issues aren't religion related. It only makes matters more opaque and hide real issues. Hence I disagree with debates/discussions based on perceived perspectives and use these labels such as 'attack on religion'.


It's about control. The CCP sees religion as a threat because it challenges the party's atheistic view. The underlying issue is the rejection of a pluralistic society which religion is a part of it as well as language, way of life, etc...

https://nypost.com/2020/02/01/how-chinas-xi-jinping-destroye...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinjiang_conflict#Re-education...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Tibetan_unrest


Don't get me wrong, of course I knew it's about regional control. But even the wiki entry acknowledges that religious freedom is different in different regions of China. Other regions don't have any restriction at all. Hence my point that accusing China for religious repression is missing the point. It doesn't justify its actions but the issues are more deeply geopolitical.


If you have empathy then you should care about religious people regardless of your personal beliefs. How can you stand there and ask for equality for all then say something like you don’t care for a group of people? This is not equality.


It is very hard to objectively judge laws specifically and political systems in general. The only way to do so is to look at their outcome, but with the large amount of variables, and the time it takes to draw conclusions, objective facts about them are hard to make.

The world in general has concluded that planned economies (communism) is strongly inferior to market economies, but during the early days of communism it was not so obvious. Even in modern times there are people that argue communism was implemented prematurely and would be able to thrive during "end-stage capitalism". You also have plenty of people who while disagreeing with a complete communist revolution would still support nationalisation of key companies or even the more radical "workers being in control of the means of production".

Free speech is even less clear. With america winning the cold war there was a recognition of the american way including the strong support of freedom of speech being the superior system. However lately, especially after 2016 the west seems to have lost confidence in the absolute freedom of speech. Challenging the supremacy of the freedom of speech is the idea that citizens are not capable of judging speech on it's own merit and "misinformation" "speech glorifying violence" etc should be banned. It's not really a clear cut issue, you can for example argue that limiting free speech leads to a more harmonious society (the position taken by China, and also lately the reason given by New Zealand for their decision to ban the Christchurch manifesto)


> It is very hard to objectively judge laws specifically and political systems in general.

It’s not as hard as you might think. For instance, when the British East India company came into India, they banned the practice of Sati, revenge killings, etc. It really boils down to what version of history you subscribe to. Do you believe in the principles of the Enlightenment or not? If you do, then you’ll realize that colonization is actually a net positive for the world. Some cultures need to be told how to behave. Not all cultures progress equally or linearly.


I don’t think you can say it’s objectively better. Whether you think they’re better or not depends on your values.


[flagged]


> The US DOES imprison hundreds of thousands of people who do not agree with its political position, and more to the point the USA has been the #1 violator of human rights in the last two decades, a fact that is conveniently forgotten whenever Americans decide that China is their latest bad-guy.

What exactly are you getting at?


[flagged]

ptomato 30 days ago [flagged]

> vast majority of whom ... haven't actually been convicted of a crime

This is a straightforward lie.


Call it whatever you want, I'll take the imperialist country that doesn't censor activists' accounts.


I too have forgotten about Snowden and Manning, the latter of which has undergone extensive psychological torture at the hands of the US military government.


Snowden and Manning were perfectly free to engage in political activism without leaking classified information. Leaking classified information didn't amount to anything good.


And which country would that be?

Even if the US, peer pressure is often enough to get political dissenters banned from their social media accounts, jobs, etc.

Many people use the cope out that it's different when it's done by the government or by a private company, but I don't see it as being that different.


> And which country would that be?

With your apparent standard for freedom of speech, isn't pretty much every country excluded? So now everyone is the same as an authoritarian one-party state that outlaws opposition parties and actively censors all internet websites.


I didn't say it was exactly the same, but it's not terribly different either.

Many conservatives or "alt right" types get censored in the west, and some of them have to find hosting in Russia (or on Russian social networks like VK), a country we condemn for censorship. I'm not under the delusion that Russia hosts those people out of respect for freedom of speech, of course, but I find it an interesting observation.

It's hard to blame China for censoring people it deems terrorists, separatists, enemies of the state or whatever, when in the west we're so quick to do it with the enemy-du-jour, sticking a label like 'Nazi' to demonize them (currently, it's the far right/alt right, previously it was communists, who knows which group it will be in ten years).


Saying "many" conservatives get censored in the west is inaccurate, considering the most popular cable news channel in America is proudly conservative, as are many local news outlets and some of the top national newspapers.

In addition, the few people and organizations that have been deplatformed from social media and other hosting solutions in the west have had that fate befall them due to companies making a decision that it is not in their financial interest to allow that type of content on their platforms, given its unpopularity among other customers.

This is a completely different situation to China, where companies are directed by the government to explicitly censor certain types of content, and individuals are routinely arrested and imprisoned for creating or sharing content that the government does not agree with.


In China, political dissenters are "de-platformed" (what a nice weasel word for "censored") by companies as instructed by the government; in America, they are censored by companies as instructed by angry mobs. It doesn't make as much a difference as you think.


I live in China. It makes a very big difference.

"Angry mobs", as you put it, are just ordinary people freely expressing their opinions to companies that they choose to do business with. No company is forced to comply with the requests of an "angry mob". No government agency is going to punish a company that doesn't comply. Nobody is getting thrown in prison for something they said online.

Please, it does a disservice to those who are actually experiencing real oppression at the hands of an authoritarian government to make this comparison. Here is just one list of people who have been imprisoned in China largely for expressing themselves online: https://www.chinesepen.org/english/category/writers-in-priso...

Meanwhile, the "many conservatives" who you suggest have been censored in the west are still free to broadcast their content to anyone who wants to listen.


You moved the goalpost from censorship to prison.

We were talking about people being banned/censored/"de-platformed" from social media companies, in China and in the west. I'm aware that, otherwise, human rights abuse are way worse in China.

As for the idea that abuse only matters when done by a government, it's absurd. We're seeing now private companies talking about censoring the US President, so it's pretty clear who has most power. You can hide behind technicalities like them being private companies or whatever (I note that this argument does not hold when a small mom and pop company refuses to bake a cake, but apparently much larger companies can do whatever they want), but it just means that those companies have the power to censor speech _in practice_ (which is what actually matters in the end), and at the moment they're following angry mobs and not elected officials to define those censorship policies.


I certainly agree people are being hypocrites if they only support freedom of speech for speech they agree with. Of course that isn't everyone. Or even close to a majority. The big tech companies tend to have extreme left-leaning leadership nowadays, presumably due to their location in SF/Seattle.


It's no cop out - businesses don't hold a monopoly on violence. They can't summarily remove the right of travel and speech (by jailing someone).

A Nazi getting banned from Facebook isnt comparable to a human rights lawyer being stuck under house arrest for years.


A whistleblower being disappeared or psychologically tortured is perhaps a fairer comparison to what goes on under Freedom & Democracy.


ahem Julian Assange cough

America is no better than China when it comes to repressing dissent. American military industrial pharmaceutical organisations are better at usurping insurrection and revolutionary movements, however.


Julian Assange knew what he was getting in to when he voluntarily got a security clearance, accessed information he wasn't authorized to access, and then leaked that information to the entire planet in violation of his security clearance. The leaks accomplished nothing of concrete positive value. He was perfectly free to leave government work and become a political activist without leaking classified information.


What? Julien Assange never received a clearance, he was simply the publisher.


Oh my bad, I mistook that for Edward Snowden.


So what? If you don't think your country is implementing the best ideas out there--what the hell are you doing?


If they don't operate in those other countries, then yeah, they should feel free to ignore the laws of that country. If they operate there, it is a different story.


The practice of those ideas is imperialism.


Though frustrating, the rest of the world has had to deal with the extra-territoriality of US laws for decades now, particularly in finance. I don't think it's good. But at least it is recriprocal.


And that extraterritoriality is being used to cut the countries (Iran, Cuba) off from international trade.


Yes, not only from trade, but also from humanitarian help, as it just recently happened when the USA threatened to sanction any of its "allies" who would try selling care/health material to Iran.


For Europe: see GDPR

It’s entirely common for countries to have codes that affect those outside their borders - especially ones that were agreed upon in treaty or trade deal. What is unique here is a country demanding that a non local company engage in censorship outside its territory. These two things are nothing alike


Forcing the entire world to stop trading with a country is way more serious than forcing a nonlocal video conferencing company to suspend an account.

The extraterritorial application of US economic sanctions goes way beyond anything any other country is doing to impose its laws abroad.


You are referring to things that were agreed to in international treaties and trade negotiations - again these sorts of things are super common


No, I'm referring to unilateral measures the US takes to force countries that do not themselves have sanctions against Iran and Cubs to stop trading with those countries.

These secondary sanctions are not based on international treaties and trade negotiations. They're based on levers of power that the US possesses and exploits, much to the chagrin of foreign countries. They are also not common. There's no other country that comes close to imposing its trade policy on the rest of the world in this manner.


> These secondary sanctions are not based on international treaties and trade negotiations

You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about - these things don’t just happen overnight cause the US says so.

Sanctions in this case have been discussed and formalized by multiple groups and organizations including OECD, FATF and the UN Security Council.


> It's one thing to be all "we comply with local laws", and another to enforce one country's geopolitical aspirations across international borders.

The developing world has been subjected to this sort of crap for a century, at the hands of the west. I mean, the US will invade your nation and kill tens or hundreds of thousands of your people in order to kill one man.

I have to click on a button on every website I visit to comply with some law in a foreign land.

Look at this sort of tyranny (including all the articles in the sidebar): https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/384636/fiji...

One company deleting an account is nothing, absolutely nothing in comparison.

Why the double standard?


Maybe some of us has no double standard. We are against US aggression outside of its borders, especially at tremendous cost to local civilians, local economy and US taxpayers. Also of China's, which is at the cost of human rights globally.


> It's one thing to be all "we comply with local laws", and another to enforce one country's geopolitical aspirations across international borders.

Not 'whataboutism', but just to generalise on this: The US do this all the time. I believe that in US law the US criminal law has universal jurisdiction, and they also use the fact that they are such a large and important market that companies will have a presence and assets in the US so they that they'll have to comply (which interestingly is exactly what China is often accused of doing.) Not to mention that they are powerful enough to 'suggest' how to behave to other countries, and we're also seeing that all the time.

So fundamentally I think we're seeing China becoming powerful enough to behave internationally the way the US do, and that is something the US are not used to, being used to being the only superpower in town.


I think whether said law came about from a system with separations of power and a democratic process makes a big difference in palatability.


Opaque authoritarian oligarchy vs. Transparent authoritarian oligarchy, yadda yadda


I'm against China here.

But people should realize that the US law is almost forced to every online company/user.


1. Fuck the US government.

2. Fuck the Comunist Party of China.

I don't fear for my life when saying the first statement, I've said it in the past on US soil. And I'm saying it right now on a US-based website.

People fear for their lives when making the second statement, esp the Chinese. People wouldn't even be able to read it as it would get quickly censored.

For this reason alone this whole discussion is completely ridiculous.


One of the governments you mentioned has been under constant pressure of regime change & other geopolitical oppressions for 75+ years, the other is the one orchestrating said regime changes. It's not surprising that one is more defensive than the other in this regard. Is that activist a real Chinese citizen or part of a CIA campaign bent on massive destabilizion? Everything is on the table.

The US is also far more developed in its methods of political suppression. The voice of the common citizen is virtually absent in D.C. yet the population continues to play along. McCarthyism is ancient history in US politics. Such brutish displays are no longer as effective or required. But the US recently got a taste of how seamlessly the MIC can amplify its violent oppression of citizens, even as they struggle to manage a public health crisis.


Right, so the reason for why the CPC is oppressive towards its own people is because of the US? Got it.

You're talking btw with someone born in communism, in Eastern Europe. We blamed the imperialist enemy from the west too and our government saw that enemy among our own people. Everything bad that happened was due to the west trying to undermine our efforts.

All I can say is fuck the CPC and fuck you too.


You can't blame everything on Western imperialism but the CIA's reach is long and established. Radio Free Europe being a well-known CIA operation. Funding mujahideen to destabilize Eastern Europe. Countless examples of regime change that have been unquestionably bad for the nation's peoples in the following decades.

CCP also undeniably took care of their people during the pandemic, like other "commie" countries like Vietnam, while America is using chemical weapons on theirs amid mass economic strife...


If you read the zoom blog post they admit they made mistakes as they did not have the ability to block meetings by region. They have absolutely no desire to enforce chinese laws globally.

From their blog post

"We strive to limit actions taken to only those necessary to comply with local laws. Our response should not have impacted users outside of mainland China. We made two mistakes:

We suspended or terminated the host accounts, one in Hong Kong SAR and two in the U.S. We have reinstated these three host accounts.

We shut down the meetings instead of blocking the participants by country. We currently do not have the capability to block participants by country. We could have anticipated this need. While there would have been significant repercussions, we also could have kept the meetings running."


> They have absolutely no desire to enforce chinese laws globally.

I do wonder about this. Given how many core product developers they seem to have in China, if the CCP demanded they... 'enforce their values' globally, or else, I don't think they'd be in much of a position to say no.


Chinese companies operating mostly in China have refused government requests in the past, because compliance would have been bad for business: https://technode.com/2019/09/19/tencent-alibaba-refuse-to-di...

Of course if the CCP cared more about enforcing the law than about money, nobody could ever say no to them, but fortunately that's not the case, so there's always room to negotiate.


I guarantee the Chinese authorities know his IP and could have blocked him at the great firewall. This was absolutely a punitive measure to restrict his speech globally.


But that was a mistake, and they promptly restored the US based account?


Sure, but CCP's goal have been achieved. Conspiracy theorist would validly suspect that Zoom have been working with the CCP and they have compromised and agreed to do this one time thing then back track. Getting what the CCP needs (censor Tiananman Square discussion during the peak of US/China tension) while preserving Zoom's long term business interest.


I don’t remember anyone calling such actions reprehensible when people agree with laws in question (copyright, child porn, revenge porn, etc). Seems like hypocrisy on your side.


> Companies that work to suppress the rights of citizens are complicit in that suppression and its legality is irrelevant.

100% true. American corporations, and businessmen who collaborated with NSDAP in jew gassing "because it was the law," well, just did what they did. It made them genocide collaborators, and criminals regardless if they did it under the law, or not.

As ancient Romans were saying "a crime can be a tiny stone in a bag of flour."

Slavery is a crime, even if it is not unlawful in a last few countries practicing it.

People who go rape children in places, where, well, child rape is not illegal are committing a crime.

Dotcoms who go play ball with criminal states, which make a crime lawful under a law, claiming "we just follow the law!" even if the law itself is criminal, are just as decidedly criminal.

A crime can not be made less criminal under a law for sane person's moral judgement. I would say, a crime that was legislated, makes it an even bigger crime.

A word crime in a sense as a fault, as something objectively morally reprehensible itself underlines that a wrongdoing is discerned through a thorough judgement rejecting anything that is made to hide, "wrap around," or divert focus from the original fault.


I don't disagree with your sentiment, but whether or not people doing morally reprehensible (but legal) things in third reich germany were criminals was a substantial point of contention for legal philosophers of that time.


Say a 21 year old Indian goes to London and drinks some whiskey, is it a crime? because, it is a crime in India!


I'd say the meaning of a crime has drifted over centuries. The criteria of a crime has shifted from something very objective, to more casuistics of all kinds.

It got from something what would've gotten somebody onto pitchforks upon a first sight, to long and arduous arguing about textual meaning of laws, rather than long, and arduous moral judgement of early Greco-Roman trials


While your points stands, it's not actually a crime in several states in India.

Source, unfortunately lacking references in some places: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_India


Or for that matter an 18 yr old US citizen visiting UK/Australia where the drinking age is different. Or the reverse of Australians using Cannabis while in the US.


> A word crime in a sense as a fault, as something objectively morally reprehensible itself

If you want to appeal to a “crime” beyond what people decide is wrong, you are starting to smuggle in an objective moral standard. I think that is hard without appealing to a God or gods.


> I think that is hard without appealing to a God or gods.

You know, people used to do so.

Even without that, the loss of objective examination of a fault as a key discerning factor for a justice system was to the detriment of justice.

This leads to a situation when even supreme court judges of countries are being confused by hundreds of contradictory laws of modern legal systems, and can not simply say what is the overall meaning of the law on a given subject without spending hours on research, and writing a lengthy opinion.


Morality and crime aren't the same thing. So yes, a crime can be made more or less criminal under a law. That is by definition.


Whose definition? I think, a century spent under nation state governments has erased the line in between the illegal, and criminal.


> and another to enforce one country's geopolitical aspirations across international borders

What China does is small potatoes compared to the US. The US fined a French bank $9 billion for violating US sanctions.


it is small potatoes but it's also whataboutism. the article and discussion isn't about the US. There is plenty of room to judge individual cases on their own merit. Just because this is now in the news doesn't mean we should stop discussing it or feel obligated to bring up every bad thing the US does while criticizing China/others.

I personally don't think the US is worse but I think US allies are too weak to put pressure on the US to behave in a civilized and decent way. How would the arm-chair bureaucrats in Brussels even try to mitigate this: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/international...

... we clearly need sanctions against the US but that will upset a lot of Europeans who benefit from an export economy (especially Germany) or the Poles who are ever so fearful against "Russian Agression". The problem really is that no political solutions that we could come up with is going to solve this since US will always be the stronger one for a long time. ... sanctions are a lunatic's dream which will never materialize.

Americans need to step up their own game to sort out their shit politics internally first. No point talking with them about human rights when they're treating their own poor and colored population like that (or talk to them about climate change while they're poisoning the environment in their own country e.g. Flint or many other examples). Problem isn't bad foreign policy but too many truly evil people are in power their, and the general population seems to have abandoned all contact to reality, reason and common sense.

The current riots in the US gives me hope knowing that not everyone is a coward. (though comparing the now to the US of the 60/70ies it is a nation of cowards). While the riots are for a "just" cause (literally reforming the police) they won't solve the US attitude toward other countries ... They still cheer for characters like Hillary Clinton, Obama, Biden, Bush and Trump. And their ignorance against "muslims", or calling poor nations "shithole countries", (again just look how they treat their own poor/homeless).

There is no way that either republicans or democrats will solve this anytime soon. The current system (power structures) needs to burn down first (figuratively) before it can be rebuilt.


> it is small potatoes but it's also whataboutism. the article and discussion isn't about the US.

It's fair to critique that I shouldn't be turning this into a critique of the US. That said, my main point is that Zoom isn't really doing anything unprecedented in "enforcing one country's geopolitical aspirations across international borders.". Basically every other international company is forced to do the same when it comes to sanctions.


This is kind of a weird problem though. It seems like the equilibrium effect of not obeying Chinese laws will be that the companies are simply excluded from the Chinese market. I'm not sure how that really helps anyone. It feels like a moral victory, but i'm not sure that it actually helps anyone. It seems like the right approach might be to comply as minimally and poorly as you can get away with, while steadily trying to liberalize China through foreign exposure.

It's a tough call, though. It's not a decision I would want to have to make, that's for sure.


That sounds nice in theory, but it doesn’t work that way in practice. You just end up corrupting your own principles in the end.

I think the best approach would be to try to support users by making it easier for them to get access in spite of the great firewall.


> That sounds nice in theory, but it doesn’t work that way in practice. You just end up corrupting your own principles in the end.

Maybe. But if you don't do it, a Chinese company will just clone your product, and they will be substantially more beholden to the Chinese government than you.


That line of thinking plays right into their game. A perfect way to rationalize compliance. But it’s based on the misguided concept that somehow access to American software services will push American values on the Chinese people. All the while, compliance with their censorship demands prevents that from actually happening.

The only way to play the game is to refuse their rules. So what if they clone your software? Let them.


Yes but that Chinese company won’t be able to censor the other ~7 Billion people on Earth.


Trying to steadily liberalize China through foreign exposure is extremely unrealistic. They have an iron grip on all information flow.

The decision to cater to China’s demands is a decision for profit. They need to be excluded from the world internet economy instead of embraced. We have to play their game in reverse. They are huge, but the rest of the world is larger still. We have the power to make this happen if we are willing to stick to our values over profit.


> They have an iron grip on all information flow.

That's not true. Every other and their mother has a VPN, only that they don't care nearly as much about what you care in this case.


>It seems like the right approach might be to comply as minimally and poorly as you can get away with, while steadily trying to liberalize China through foreign exposure.

I'm assuming this is a joke, because this has been the strategy of the West since Nixon first went to China. And the exact opposite has happened. They engage in a kind of neo-mercantilism, and we basically pretend that if they just open their markets up a little bit more they're one more step toward liberal democracy.


Although your opinion seems reasonable, I disagree based on my experience growing up in a communist country. The problem is that there is some weird moral feedback loop; each little steep towards complying with something problematic makes you change, you rationalize it and this makes you more likely to walk further in that direction. The concept you describe, comply and liberalize... I never observed it in reality. People do not change the system from within for the better. The system changes people trying to compromise for the worse.


This. Also we should remember that companies are not a hive mind but are made up with individuals. Employees who want to take a stand will tend to be pushed out by those who are willing to compromise, as the latter would have better results to show of.


This is a huge issue of our time. The internet is a shared, virtual space. Who is to say how it is used? There’s barely any real basis for determining what falls under local law.

Surely, physical connections to the internet are geographical in nature and can be regulated. So are servers. But internet services, hosted within one nation’s borders should not be held responsible to the laws of every nation nation from which a user’s physical connection is located.

No, this is economic bullying, pure and simple. China is a huge market, and they know it’s lucrative to internet companies. They also have the ability to block their citizens from accessing the whole internet. So if a company wants access to the Chinese market, they have to play ball. It’s a genius move, but it’s also distasteful, and to many of us, quite immoral and infringent on human rights.

The decision to comply with the requests of totalitarian governments is entirety a business decision, and I would argue that it’s wrong. Play the game in reverse. If China threatens to cut off American companies from their market, American companies should threaten to cut China out of American services. Maintain our values. American software run buy American companies should uphold American values. If China wants to participate in the American internet, they need to accept American values - that we do not silence people for being critical of our or any government.

Greedy American companies who erode American values at a global level ought to be shunned. China should be allowed access to our services, but fuck the Chinese government if they demand we be complicit in their fascism.

Is there a compiled list out there of American software companies who comply with Chinese censorship demands? Or the reverse, as I suspect most American companies would gladly support fascism in a remote country to earn a buck. This issue needs visibility so that change can occur.


This is the problem with services that censor sometimes. Everything will seem fine and great, and the will gain much popularity and even perhaps become de facto defaults, until one day in an emergency the thing that has always worked suddenly does not.

We just also saw the article about Facebook censoring Messenger on behalf of employers.

You’d have to be crazy if you think Gmail, IG DMs, Docs, Messenger, et c are not subject to the same sort of “but the military asked really nicely” occasional censorship. These platforms are inherently dangerous as a result.

https://sneak.berlin/20200421/normalcy-bias/

Remember that time everyone shut off banking for Wikileaks, years prior to anyone in the organization being charged with any crime?

Centralized censorship services are a direct path to a non-free society. We are already seeing certain topics memory holed off of YouTube, and many otherwise-reasonable people are calling for the same on Facebook despite Zuckerberg’s objections.

Very soon it will be difficult, if not impossible, to publish an entire set of legal things, even in peacetime.


While emotionally I agree with everything you said. Realistically I wonder what anybody who talks like this would do when somebody with a very official legal document shows up on your doorstep. Its not as simple as it seems and most people want as little to do with problems like this.

Who are we really mad at here? Zoom or the CCP for essentially forcing their will on helpless entities?


Yeah I think you’re right and honestly it’s hard to know what you’d do without being in that situation.

I’d hope I’d refuse to rationalize it.

I’d like to think that, but few people actually get that kind of character test for real (and even fewer pass it when they do).

As far as Zoom and the CCP, I think it’s reasonable to be upset with both. Zoom isn’t helpless, they have agency and could choose to do the right thing.

The citizens they're suppressing though have a lot less agency.

It’s easy to do the right thing when it costs you nothing, the real test is when it’s hard.


Yes it's hard so it's up to the consumer because we also have agency - to stop and say no to businesses like that.

It's the CCP playbook. To entice western companies with its lucrative market and at the same time continue its totalitarian regime and oppression. It becomes harder and harder for these companies to "do the right thing" as its influence and market grows. It'll continue to feed the "China way" as simply an alternative to the democracy.

At some point, it becomes so big that it's impossible to reverse course.

The reality is that when other companies see that Zoom can get by, it'd be harder for them say no because looking the other way when the bully is around becomes the norm.


Zoom can either

a) Keep their moral code and be happy in the idea that they will probably be cut off from that market (China)

or

b) Drop their morals, appease to the local laws as unjust as they may be in the hope that their business there continues.

They chose the latter and still want to pretend they are doing both. That's a problem.


The difference is that Zoom does China’s censorship outside of Chinese borders.


These were accounts that were holding meetings with large amount of mainland chinese users. Whatsmore they admitted the blocking was a mistake caused by their inability to prevent users from joining a meeting by region, a functionality which they are now developing because of this problem.


I don’t think that’s an excuse at all. As an American, it’s fully within my rights to critique the CCP to as many mainlanders I want to, including holding meetings with mainlanders.

They should have been never blocked.


As an american you don't have the right while in mainland china to criticize the CCP. While there is no simple way to apply sovereignty to the internet, the decision to follow the laws of the participants countries seems relatively reasonable.


The interesting thing about this is that it's asymmetric.

If you are a Chinese citizen you can be arrested for sharing content the Party objects to, even if you were overseas when you did it[1]. You do not even have to be inside China or a Chinese citizen, the authorities may still kidnap and imprison you for exercising your right to free speech in jurisdictions where it is not restricted[2]. So it seems like it doesn't really matter to the Chinese government what the laws are in other countries, when it comes to suppressing speech.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials and propaganda outlets continue to enjoy full freedom of speech in both social media and traditional media in the west.

[1] https://www.axios.com/china-arrests-university-minnesota-twi...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causeway_Bay_Books_disappearan...


Chinese propaganda operating freely in the west platforms, while western propaganda being filtered in Chinese platforms is a real conundrum since both parties are... following relevant local regulations. I suppose labeling state actors and revealing misinformation campaigns is a start. The other insidious strategy is suppressing speech on foreign campuses that target foreign citizens, particularly anti-China advocates who can be coerced with threats to family back in China. No real good solution except punishing obvious bad actors. Maybe ban children of CCP officials from attending these institutions if they can stomach the retaliation in withdrawn Chinese enrollment. Censorship between US and Chinese platforms are a difficult structural asymmetry. Hard to see how west can match without adopting similar (anti)values. Not much to do but mitigate.

On your examples: CCP sees some speech as national security issues, which in itself is not controversial i.e. wikileaks. On Luo Daiqing in, countries have subject matter jurisdiction, laws that apply to citizens at all times and regardless of location, i.e. treason. If certain speech is outlawed in China then Chinese nationals can legally be prosecuted by China for them regardless of jurisdiction. Other countries have same legal arrangements on other issue, i.e. sex tourism, organ transplants, drug use. Causeway Books is more complicated, HK(Chinese) and foreign nationals operating in HK to distributed banned books to customers IN mainland which is illegal but also un-prosecutable due to lack of extradition treaty with HK. Basically the reason behind current HK national security law designed to close one-country security loopholes. CCP believes selling illegal books to mainland undermines national security. It was less of a free speech issue than shenanigans comparable to foreign NGO meddling that CCP thinks jeopardizes one-country national security and worth expending political capita on to control. Since national security in context of one-country was legally undefined, CCP was forced to resort to coerce or rendition. It's like how the west will prosecute whistleblowers wherever they are, sometimes through extraordinary means, no matter the optics. Even though in this context the book sellers were (from my understanding) peddling salacious gossip.


In response to the first point most countries retain the right to prosecute their citizens for crimes committed overseas even if it wasn't a crime where it was committed. For the application of US law on US citizens abroad see https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/6503/are-there-an...


Assange is an Australian citizen and everything you said China does to its citizens s, the US did to Assange.

It seems if Assange leaked Chinese government info, as a non-Chinese citizen, he wouldnt be in jail right now.

A great feature of Americans looking at China, is they gain an awareness of how the rest of the world views the US in its many areas of overreach.


You certainly have the right, all humans do, even PRC citizens. It's the natural right of free speech. That some governments (the PRC, for example) have passed laws abridging that natural right means you'll suffer consequences for exercising that right anywhere CCP cronies can get their hands on you.

I think it's an important distinction. Might doesn't make right.


It's unfair to lay the blame squarely on private companies when things like this happen. If we have to defend freedom, democratic nations need to step up. The US probably will (for various reasons), but Europe won't. Europe will speak up and act when it comes to smaller nations, but will continue to do $550B in trade with China without complaining.

There has never been a peaceful rise of a dictatorship. Hong Kong and South China Sea today, Taiwan is next. The future is scary.


> When Zoom is requested to send over names and videos of political dissidents to authoritarian leaders will they comply?

No, the CCP will just get the UN (according to Humans Right Lawyer at the UN) to do it for them:

https://thehumanoid.net/un-whistleblower-emma-reilly-un-huma...

Cool handle, I wished more people would just stop using propriety closed source software, we can at least try and make inroads that way.

Because realistically no fledgling startup going after marketshare is going to realistically turn down CCP money, and will accept what ever they have to gain access to China and this is why its so dangerous why they have infiltrated this space as this is just one example of so many violations due to it. God only knows what all of those facial recognition companies with CCP blessing have done.


I'm very suspicious of this article. I've watched a decent bit of the interview, and I'm concerned about the lack of verification that she is in fact a UN employee as she claims, and the absence of any incriminating emails she mentions in the interview.

Quick edit: It just occurred to me to search for other articles by the whistleblower's name. I still don't see any evidence so I am skeptical, but anyone else reading should have the chance to judge for themselves. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1292510/un-human-rights... https://www.foxnews.com/world/un-human-rights-office-china-d...


Interesting, I havevn't followed up on it, but the UN recently did come out to deny these claims in a recent press conference, which didn't deny she was an employee there.

But you're right details are not easy to self-verify; but given what the CCP has done and continue to do with the WHO is it really all that far-fetched to see they paid off a bunch if UN members to pass them information. Consider how the US needed operatives/assets inside the Iranian nuclear program to deploy what eventually would become Stuxnet-gate.


You're right, and that detail about the UN not denying it (but her claims) makes me a lot less skeptical. Either way I'm very skeptical of the Chinese government w/r/t human rights and I appreciate you drawing attention to it.


Example: Google famously exited China.


The alternative is to not be in China at all.

The problem with that of course, if that the softwares that do comply will suddently win an unfair market advantage against the ones taking a moral stand.


There is an argument that where China is blocking market access, the West should reciprocate.

If Zoom is a Chinese company with just a registered US office as has been suggested, then it would appear to be an attempt to circumvent that.


> There is an argument that where China is blocking market access, the West should reciprocate.

Faire point. But what I'm expecting that we already do it: we probably ask for modifications in their software as well, it's not not something we talk about.

> If Zoom is a Chinese company with just a registered US office as has been suggested, then it would appear to be an attempt to circumvent that.

I would think it's more of a PR move. WeChat has such a reputation it would never make it into the west.


>There is an argument that where China is blocking market access, the West should reciprocate.

I'm not sure following local laws is considered as protectionism if the same standard is applied to local companies. Blocking market access would be applying unequal standards depending on origin (which I don't allege that they don't do - but for this particular case it doesn't look like they do).


This. Google does this for a long time while competitors don't do this but weirdly Google isn't praised well in HN or other places.


Google's history here isn't so clean.

They spun backing out of China as something they did in the interest of free speech, but it was more a response to them getting hacked by the CCP (it's still not clear what was stolen, but something big happened).

More recently they were trying to re-enter the space with a search engine designed to fully comply with the CCP's censorship laws: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonfly_(search_engine)

It's unclear what caused that to get shut down, but its leak and subsequent public pressure was probably a factor.


In a perfect world the EU/US (and others with big tech presences) would have laws that state companies based in their jurisdictions can only operate in other countries where they aren't required to change their policies or practices in ways that would breach UN human rights guidelines.


I'm 100% in agreement with you. Laws and ethics are only tenuously linked, and we must expect companies (made up of people) to act ethically first and foremost.

It's interesting watching you expressing that opinion in opposition to the Chinese government/Zoom getting a very positive reaction. When I expressed a similar sentiment about the Spanish government/Github a few months ago, the reaction was much more mixed[1]. I wonder if it has more to do with the parties involved or just changing opinions.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21398271

EDIT: scrolling further down, the reaction to your comment is far more negative than I had originally thought.


Comparing Apple blocking apps might not be entirely accurate in this case because, the local law might require Zoom to supply data that identifies the attendees to CCP.

This could lead to the loss of lives and/or imprisonment. eg Chen Qiushi, a civilian reporting on the ground of Wuhan during the pandemic is currently still missing after 126 days with no clear reason other than having too much international attention https://twitter.com/chenqiushi404/status/1271460191972634624...


> This kind of rationalization isn’t just a problem with Zoom, Apple does the same thing - blocking podcasts and other apps in the Chinese market (also the Taiwan flag emoji).

Honestly the US could kinda easily look it down. They already use and abuse the position they have to force all kind of trade regulations on companies, even such not seated in the US. They could use the same system to force companies to not undermine free speech, opinion and press.

Through it won't happen as the people currently in power are them-self interested in undermining free speech, free opinion and free press....


Apple blocks things in China right?

Zoom performs China's bidding globally.


Yea, bringing Apple into the picture dilutes what Zoom does. Not to mention things they do that we don’t even know.

Why is that US gets muddled up with a truly authoritarian regime like the CCP. Shit is broken in America, but millions of people marched in last couple of weeks. I don’t think there is a possibility of any kind of anti-gov protests in China.

Apple is an extremely privacy centric company to the point where it’s become it’s primary selling point. It’s advertising it proudly and backing up with real actionable steps - T2 chip, iMessage, Face ID, localized ML, etc.


When setting up an iPhone in China the “iCloud” is actually operated by a local third-party and has access to all the content.

Most of Apple’s privacy promises and commitments go out the window when it comes to being in China.


> authoritarian leaders will they comply?

Apologies for the seemingly seagull-ish comment/rant, but it is 100% true: "money talks, bullshit walks". Zoom is not going to miss out a 1bn ppl market because of ethics. Apple will not miss out a 1bn market because of ethics. Blackberry handed the keys to the kingdom so fast the heads of the tortured people were spinning, and the tale goes on and on. Autocratic regimes play by our (civilized) rules when they claim "local laws, terrorists, pedophiles", etc.)(hey our govs use the same narrative, right?)

We don't stoop to their (autocratic regimes) level and ignore there legal (and unethical requests).

Capitalism (aka money flowing from country A to country B) is cross-border, freedom-agnostic, and amoral (not IM-moral)(utter lack or morals instead of bad morals).

I use a phone made in China, and thus allow a USA company reduce the number of workers in the USA market and increase dividend to its shareholders. That empowers China to continue its thing since all they care for is my money. Not my attention and my opinions. In the end, I help them get the power they seek. This is why we placed embargo to Iran, Russia, NK.. to teach them a lesson. But China? Too much £€¥$ at stake to isolate them.

May the one without sin cast the first stone. We are all in this together unless we ALL boycott Zoom, Apple, Google, Cancerbook, and the rest until they either help CHANGE China, or we let them isolate and starve until the people will start the fight back.


Google is the one company that did walk away from a billion person market - and a strong, established position in it - when asked to censor, and you want to boycott then too?

It's no wonder companies don't bother doing the right thing. People just ignore that massive sacrifice and pull out some other reason to not like Google.


I wrote this earlier, but the thread has become massive and hard to navigate so I figured I would respond to you here.

Google's history isn't so clean either.

They spun backing out of China as something they did in the interest of free speech, but it was more a response to them getting hacked by the CCP (it's still not clear what was stolen, but something big happened).

More recently they were trying to re-enter the space with a search engine designed to fully comply with the CCP's censorship laws: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonfly_(search_engine)

It's unclear what caused that to get shut down, but its leak and subsequent public pressure was probably a factor.

That said, I still think people within these companies should try to do the right thing (specifically that includes developers like us that make up these companies).


They spun it as leaving due to both. I've never seen an analysis that said it was a big hack, but both are points of principle.

Of course, they've re-examined it. It was the biggest sacrifice for principle in corporate history and they got almost no credit for it.

They must regret it every day, because people who simply dislike Google can take an example of Google doing exactly what they want, and still find a way to call them out for boycott on that exact issue. And even support that issue with quibbles that are tiny in comparison.

And leave Microsoft out of the boycott request in spite of their incredibly craven and spineless behavior on same point (jumping in to try to take Google's spot).

It would appear that, if you dislike Google, it doesn't matter what they do, so why should any company make any sacrifice on principle? They should just spend the money on marketing.


If I pretend they left entirely for principled reasons then it shouldn’t matter that the public is too stupid to understand that.

I guess I take the position that doing the ethical thing is done because it’s the right thing to do and not necessarily because you’ll be rewarded for it with virtue from the public.

I agree that the public’s position on technology companies is often uninformed and contradictory, but I don’t really care about that.

If I worked at google I wouldn’t want to enable CCP censorship - not because I expect the public to like me for it it, but because I don’t want to be complicit in the oppression of Chinese citizens.

If they regret it and are willing to re-enter and comply then it wasn’t really based on ethics in the first place.

That said, I’m pretty sure the hack was the main motivation and the speech issue was just a nice story to tell about it.


It really is silly to claim you want companies to behave in a certain way (not cooperate with China) and then paint them all with the same brush including those that are doing what you want.


>Capitalism (aka money flowing from country A to country B) is cross-border, freedom-agnostic, and amoral (not IM-moral)(utter lack or morals instead of bad morals).

The idea that capitalism is an amoral system is presented as if it were fact, but I can think of several philosophers of morality who have arguments for the morality or immorality of capitalism.


>What’s legal and what’s right are not the same thing,

I look forward to Americans putting their war criminals in prison.

Moral relativism doesn't help. For every company that has to comply with local laws, there is only one greater power that can overcome compliance with that requirement: war.


You can choose not to abide by local laws and likely be shutdown entirely.

That way you’ll have effectively zero ability to influence local legislation / promote the interests of users.

Do you mean to imply you believe this would be a more optimal approach to the problem?

There’s perfect, and then there’s the dirty, mean, savage, brutal, beautiful world.

Edit to add:

> The company said it would no longer block accounts outside of mainland China at Beijing's request

Blocking accounts of non-Chinese at China’s request seem like an incredibly dumb move in the first instance.

I wonder what motivated them to comply with that request. Aren’t a lot of the Zoom devs based in China? It’d seem fairly trivial then for China to demand compliance via those employees based there.


People use this to rationalize continued involvement (often when it also happens to be profitable).

People can basically rationalize any bad behavior - it really seems like a skill that has no limits up to and including genocide.

In practice, I think the negative impact of helping to enable censorship for an authoritarian country outweighs whatever (likely zero) influence you’d believe you’d have.

Sometimes to be on the right side of history the right thing to do is to walk away.


"Sometimes to be on the right side of history the right thing to do is to walk away."

This is not a Google-like situation - for Zoom 'walking way' effectively means shutting down. They are very heavily Chinese based.

In the longer term, they could move operations, in which case the choice would be 'walk away from China' - but right now, it's more existential than that.


While I’d like to agree, if all the good people walk away what are we left with?

You might be right though.


I don't think the good people have to do nothing, they can work to help users circumvent the firewall via things like tor.

It's really tempting to think that you're the good person helping in a messy situation (especially when it's also the easiest option to choose), but ultimately I think it's just rationalizing bad behavior.

I think most people believe they're 'good', even those doing the censorship in China do it under some belief that they're keeping stability and unity to prevent Trump like stupidity and western influence - or the rise of religious extremism. They're regular people doing regular jobs for something they think is good.

I think the actions matter, when you're doing bad things for some ambiguous influence I'm not sure how good you really are.


they have a lot of staff in china proper right? I mean, it's likely like every other business trying to operate in china (including google) bow down to the government to get the money

what can you expect, just use open source


Almost all their engineering staff are in China.

> In January 2020, Zoom had over 2,500 employees, 1,396 are in the United States and 1,136 are in their international locations.[69] Although 700 employees within a subsidiary work in China and develop Zoom software.

...

Zoom's product development team is largely based in China, where an average entry-level tech salary is one-third of American salaries, which is a key driver of its profitability.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_Video_Communications


>What’s legal and what’s right are not the same thing[...]and in countries with bad laws (Middle East, China)

What are bad laws, whatever people socialised in the anglosphere deem bad? You don't have a monopoly on ethics, sorry. Companies should behave legally, they're not the extended arm of the respective culture they reside in, because if they are we will constantly pester each other with our respective moral values and that's a recipe for conflict.

The solution is pretty simple. Chinese companies need to stop censoring things in the US, the US needs to stop trying to spread its values beyond her own borders, and we can all do business in peace.

What we don't need is countries with messianic attitudes interfering in each other's affairs, and to give businesses primacy over the law in sovereign nations.


> Legality should be the bare minimum standard - and in countries with bad laws (Middle East, China) it shouldn’t even be that.

Honestly an app only needs to operate out of one country. To have users in other countries, all that is needed is an open TCP/IP connection and a cross-border payment system (e.g. PayPal, bitcoin); it is not necessary for them to operate a local business entity, which would mean that they should not be subject to local laws.

Although this may be an unpopular opinion, and given the HN climate it's likely I'm going to get downvoted to hell for saying this, but I personally think the same should be true of GDPR. GDPR is an EU law and the EU has no right to impose its EU laws on the US or anywhere else. Neither does China. It doesn't matter if the laws are good or bad laws -- laws should stay within their jurisdiction. Letting the EU have their way is a slippery slope of a precedent for other countries who may have less-noble laws they want imposed on the US.

(That said, the US can implement its own version of GDPR for US businesses, but US businesses shouldn't be subject to EU laws).


The Internet does not invalidate national sovereignty. I believe this has been a very bad principle in the past, this idea that you can do business in some country, and if it's via the Internet you somehow shouldn't care about their laws. If you accept one connection from a user in some country, you are doing business in that country. And much more uncontroversially, if you are accepting payments from someone in another country, then you are definitely doing business in that country.

Even in tourism there is some level of cross-border law enforcement, especially given international treaties.

So to me it makes sense that a company that wants to take money from (or even to serve content to) people in country A need to respect the laws of country A as a general rule.

Of course, the people of a company should be free to do what they believe is right, such as not upholding unjust laws. The law is not an excuse from moral duties. So I have no problem with companies flouting censorship or even copyright rules. I also don't have a major problem with companies enforcing somewhat benign censorship rules (by taking down content, not by going against individual users), such as imposing certain public decency laws (e.g. no swearing, even no blasphemy) when serving content to countries that prohibit this kind of behavior.

On the other hand, closing down accounts or giving over information about people who have broken those laws to regimes that may punish them brutally should not be taken lightly. You can scrub messages denigrating Mohammed from Saudi Arabian YouTube and that can be argued as respecting the tastes of your Saudi Arabian visitors. But that does not mean that it is also acceptable to report a user that made such a comment to the authorities there, knowing that they may be severely punished. In fact, scrubbing the comments could even help protect the individual who made them from the authorities enforcing the unjust law in that country.

The world is a subtle place and trying to apply simple rules to moral and ethical questions is a fool's errand.


> If you accept one connection from a user in some country, you are doing business in that country.

I disagree with this. I have an open port at 80 and 443 and whoever wants to connect to it can do so. If my server is physically in the US, it only needs to obey US laws. If someone is violating their country's (weird) laws by visiting the server, that's that person's problem.

It's not my job as a developer, website host, or business owner, to for example ink out photos of women because Saudi law requires that. It's not my job to remove references to the Tiananmen incident. Those countries can, if they would like to, censor my website at their borders with a firewall, I don't care. It's not even my job to track down where your IP address is physically located. I couldn't care less about your IP. You could be using a VPN, for all I know.

Iran or China has issues with my website? They'll block it. Problem solved. I don't have to think about it too much. They do the work for me.

EU has beef with my website? Go ahead, you block it too, I don't care. I'll grab some popcorn and sit back and watch how your citizens react. (hee hee)

> And much more uncontroversially, if you are accepting payments from someone in another country, then you are definitely doing business in that country.

I disagree with this, as well, if those payments are coming from individuals and not businesses. If an individual in Germany flies over to the US and buys something from me, they are subject to US laws in that transaction. They are subject to German laws when they take that thing back. But in NO part of the entire process am I subject to German laws.

That doesn't change if "flies with an international flight" changes to "travels virtually via an international TCP connection".


> That doesn't change if "flies with an international flight" changes to "travels virtually via an international TCP connection".

That is not at all clear. In general, the place where I physically stand is the place whoze laws I expect to be affected by, in any transaction. Of course, this is also true of you sitting near your server, so there is a conflict.

Also, I suspect international commerce is more complex than that, and that if there were a conflict between German laws and US laws on the consumer's rights in your example, the German laws might have some power against you (well, probably not with the US specifically).


I'm inclined to agree with you actually, and in spirit, I definitely do. But what's to stop a European from hosting content on USA servers, posing as USA company, and violating their regulation--even specifically targeting users local to their area from that remote server?

Granted, if significant revenue is generated they'll have to exist officially in one place or another in order to report the income, but not all such sites would need to generate such income, and could forgo it specifically for the purpose of violating local regulations in some cases.


Well by virtue of the fact that you reside in Europe, you're subject to European laws. And by using a server in the US, you're subject to some US laws as well.

But if you're in the US, and your servers are in the US, you shouldn't have to obey European laws. European site visitors are no different than physical European tourists in the US; the owners of those US museums and tourist sites don't need to obey European laws just because they have European visitors.


> But what's to stop a European from hosting content on USA servers, posing as USA company, and violating their regulation--even specifically targeting users local to their area from that remote server?

That’s what customs and border control is ultimately for: to ensure that goods being imported are compliant with local laws. In the case of data, this means national firewalls— something that would fundamentally change how the internet works.


Correct. Countries can impose firewalls. China does. Iran does. The EU can if they want to.

But as a website host, I don't have to do anything.

Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi citizen is free to buy alcohol during their visit to the US. They just can't take it back home of course. But the liquor store they visit in the US doesn't need to change their policies for that one customer, and doesn't even need to know which country their customer is from.


That seems perfectly reasonable by analogy, yet completely unfortunate. Personally speaking, would you prefer a network barrier that actually limits international communication to a toothless enforcement of something like GDPR?

In practice, I think I would prefer the latter, even if it is less clear and purely logical. I mean, the US is railing against inquiries over war crimes this week. Though that particular action is entirely irrational, it seems unlikely that the USA would enforce GDPR on the behalf of the EU short of a very large company violating it flagrantly. If I run a local nonprofit in the US that serves the elderly of my community, and the EU-resident child of one of my clients donates to my organization, by which I wind up collecting their information--repercussions seem frankly very unlikely. Firstly, I doubt my non-profit would be pursued for such a violation by the offended nation, as they do have optics to maintain. Secondly, I have no physical presence in their jurisdiction against which to enforce the regulation, so my own government would have to enforce it on their behalf, which currently seems unlikely to me (though I'm not an expert on such things by any means).

Depending on their specific activities (information collection, in the case of GDPR); whether or not they are physically present in the jurisdiction of whatever regulation; and their home country's foreign relations with the foreign government who originated the internet law, a company can choose to comply with foreign internet law--or not--at varying degrees of risk. As messy as it is, this seems better than firewalls to me.

Perhaps explicit agreements with foreign governments are needed in this area. That seems preferable to firewalls, arbitrary risk-taking, or mindless compliance with a foreign law.


I work at a FAANG and we implemented GDPR for everyone because it was 1) cheaper to have only one code path and 2) less liability if we fuck up identifying an EU user


Furthermore you don’t have any more eng compliance efforts if other nations adopt subsets or GDPR wholesale.


I agree, the old forms of slavery were also legal but never morally right. We should focus on what is morally right.


This is textbook globalism. If we don't fight it, it will end up making the whole world a horrible place to live.


> and in countries with bad laws

If EARN IT passes, the U.S. would be one of these countries.


Zoom has many employees in China, don’t they? If they lose their business license, they’ll lose those employees. Imagine losing half your company almost overnight. How well would you do?


I think that’s just evidence that this isn’t an issue they ever cared about.

They were planning to just censor whatever the CCP wanted from the beginning, their “mistake” was extending this to a US account because they don’t have the granularity to separate out mainland China users (which itself should be disturbing since they’re clearly not walling things off to protect accounts the CCP shouldn’t have access to).

They’re in this position because they don’t think what they’re doing is unethical in the first place.

I still think it’s wrong, I wouldn’t have been in China in the first place because of this.


This strikes me as equivalent to outsourcing to a country with lax environmental protection to cut costs.

Personal opinion but Zoom shouldn’t be allowed to undercut firms using developers based in liberal democracies and still have market access to the West.


Towards the Marketplace of Ideas Through Banning the Free Speech


You do realize that what you're saying is a political opinion? Political dissent and a free press are democratic rights not human rights. China is not a democracy. Democracy is not a moral right and many would also say it's a wrong. Things like national sovreignity mean something.

You don't get to decide if other country's laws are bad, the people of that country do, and if they don't like it, it's up to them to do something about it with or without peace. The only exception is human rights violations which you didn't list in your opinion. Short of that, how dare you imply a company should break laws for political reasons? If Facebook helped russia inferfere with your elections would that be ok? because they agree with Russian politics or are you saying the western and democratic way is right and all else should only be tolerated when convenient?


> Political dissent and a free press are democratic rights not human rights.

Those are considered human rights under Articles 18–21 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yes, the UDHR represents largely the thinking of the Western elites in the years immediately after World War II, and it has been argued that its understanding of human rights is foreign to China and unacceptable to it. Nevertheless, the line between democratic rights and human rights is not as clear cut as you suggest.


Article 18: most muslims disagree,many islam countries would kill you for conversion

Article 19: this one is silly, every government would persecute you for holding certain opinions even without expressing those opinions. Look at how alleged communists in the US were treated around the time this document was drafted. Or consider holding an ISIS or islamic terrorism symphatizing opinion,people have been detained and persecuted for far less. What if you are spreading the terrorist propaganda? No one will see that as your right.

Article 20) so all militaty draft violate human rights?

Article 21) citizens of any country that does not accept democracy are having their human rights violated?

The whole thing is silly. First of, most of the existing UN members did not sign. Of the members at the time, the vote to adopt this was not unanimous and therefore this document is not accepted by the sovreign governments of many nations at the time. You can say the UNDHR is the opinion of what some humans think a human right is,however it is far from a document all sovreign nations accepted as a defi ition of what rights humans have simply for being human. China and muslim countries combined alone would make up a population majority!

The UN is not an authority nations are subject to. UNDHR is not a treaty adopted by nations. It simply defines these trems as the western majority if the time saw it fit.

Now,there are rights almost all humans accept as rights such as the right to exist and the right to a fair trial (as applied by their society). These are obvious rights commonly accepted by most religions and an peoples.

Or if that isn't a good argument then consider that even the US (the sit of the UN) has been and is currently violating many of the UNDHR articles systemically, a US person should probably not talk about enforcing UNHDR against other countries. Everyone tolerating terrorists having propaganda zoom calls would be the only way I can accept UNHDR application of freedom to express opinion on other nations as a human rights.

My view: the UN is a diplomatic organization not an authority over nations. A document that can define universal human rights must be a treaty reviewed and accepted by legislative bodies of each signatory nation and it can be a universal right only if a super majority of nations and humans (counted by national populations) accept it as such. Look at the criticism section in wikipedia.


Not that suppression of said rights leads to violation of (what is a current consensus of)of human rights.

Ironically, those events were hosted for remembrance of those violations.

A fantastic approach meant at justifying non-interest, always present in the history of totalitarian regimes.


>human rights

wait, what are human rights then?


I can tell you what they are not: they are not biased political opinions that are stated without legitimate authority. Just like obligations, rights need a legitimate accepted authority to be valid. For example, in the US declaration of independence, the founders address king george, their statement about fundamentsl rights is based on the fact that these rights are self-evident as the will of a just God , and since obviously the king's authority derives from God, his violation of these rights against americans gave the americans a right to reject king george's authority.

You maybe a secularist,but even then you still need a legitimate authority all humans are subject to. That could be a global treaty (UNDHR isn't) or something else but there simply is no legitimate authority that can implement a universal human right. As things stand now, each sovreign nation's government declares what rights it's subjects have, both as citizens and humans. Not that I agree with the way things are, but I do believe in each nation's right for self determination. But I think there is a fundamental question of why and if a nation should maintain any sort of economic or diplomatic relations with a country that has contradictory views on human rights.

It's not that I agree with China's stance on human rights, but more that the west needs to take care of human rights in it's own borders first and even then how can you support China by maintaining trade relations and at the same time claim they violate human rights? Why is the west supporting human rights violations?


I don’t want to justify zoom but I do want to point out that we shouldn’t be ok with judging a country to the point of saying they have “bad laws”. Maybe it’s because I am Italian and have seen what happens when discussions go head to head like this (II world war for instance). If we would stand by “no acceptance of bad laws”, we’d isolate those countries even more. I think it’s far better to accept that’s how they operate today BUT also engage with them in conversations that matter to us like democracy and human rights.


> I think it’s far better to accept that’s how they operate today BUT also engage with them in conversations that matter to us like democracy and human rights.

That's a nice idea, but China's approach is to deplatform those conversations.


That’s creeping up on moral relativism and there is a huge corpus of relevant work decrying that position.


If you put it like that it sounds like the alternative is moral absolutism. I take issue with absolutes because they do not promote any type of meaningful discussion. You are basically going up to a country and telling them you are right, we have seen how this approach tends to work out. I think we should always come from a place of empathy and trying to understand their position too, how else would you expect them to listen to what you have to say.


> The company said it would no longer block accounts outside of mainland China at Beijing's request, but did not say outright how it would handle such requests that affect users within mainland China. Instead, Zoom said, it would develop technology to block users based on geography.

Funny how these kind of statements are thrown around wherever something is blown up about Zoom. I'm one of those who had goodwill on Zoom but looking at the amount of issues popped up recently and their "Yeah this was intentional but I'm sorry next it it won't happen' response Pattern indicates that the company is aimed at only one thing - Growth at any cost


It's the Facebook playbook of doing something illegal/immoral, getting caught, saying 'gee sorry, that was an accident', then doing it all over again.


LOL for real. I will cry no tears for FB when they get what’s coming to them. Will be the MySpace of my kids time.(if it’s not already is)


FB has had solid revenue and net income for many years, so much that it’s one of the most valuable companies in the world. It’s not comparable to MySpace, and definitely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.


While Facebook and MySpace are different in many ways, the average lifespan of a S&P 500 company is below 20 years.

Facebook could very well be an outlier. If it isn't, it could definitely go away in the coming years.

In any case, that shows that its revenue/income is not a predictor of anything. When a company spirals down, it does so at an accelerating rate and can quickly burn through any amount of cash.


Facebook is very far from an average SP500 company, as are the rest of the big tech companies. They drive the market indices with how much investors think they are worth and will be worth. And they have levels of cash that tech (or any) companies in decades past could only dream of.


I'm sure the executives of Enron and Kodak felt similarly. However, no level of corporate success is granted indefinitely.


Ok - you are right . History is wrong. Facebook until 3000. My bad for ever doubting you based on facts and history


Uh - ok


As bad as Facebook is, it's being supplanted by the CCP-controlled TikTok. That's almost certainly worse for freedom.


I'm not sure supplanted is right here. TikTok right now feels more like it's taking the role of Snapchat/Vine/Instagram. Part of the never-ending rollover of new apps for that sort of thing. Time will tell, but it doesn't feel like it will kill Facebook.


Exactly


Hard disagree. Until extremely recently Zoom was a mature enterprise video conference solution. It's a B2B product that has suddenly exploded in general consumer usage, and suddenly product and commercial decisions made in that context are at odds with their new market.

They don't sell ads or your personal data, they're not interested in your private life, and their users are their customer. In other words, they lack the nefarious motive of the Facebooks of the world.

They're changing - rapidly - and I believe we can take their efforts to change at face value.


they lack the nefarious motive of the Facebooks of the world

No. It lacks the obvious, commercial nefarious motives of the Facebooks of the world.

As many have pointed out, Zoom is believed to be CCP-controlled at some level. That's as nefarious as it gets.


I mean our Twitter and Facebook have been shutting down accounts from elected offices of NATO "targets" like Venezuela and Iran for a while now https://thegrayzone.com/2020/01/12/us-pressure-social-media-.... I don't see people up in arms saying "legality is irrelevant".


Similarly, I don't think we can really hold the US up as some sort of bastion of moral excellence. As a non US citizen you have very little right to privacy and the US government will use this against you (see: forcibly having to unlock your devices so border agents can search them).

On balance I think the US is a lot better than China, but there's a lot of room for improvement.


Luckily, you don't have to hold up the US as a bastion to criticize China. They can both be criticized independently.


> They can both be criticized independently.

But not inside China. And therein lies the great difference.


Twitter and Facebook are American companies, with the US being part of NATO. Zoom tries to pretend it's not a Chinese company.


That's not the right comparison. To use your example, a closer example would be

You believe it's unjust to have those FB/Twitter accounts shutdown and you host a Zoom call to build a campaign to voice out. Your local government ask Zoom to shut you down. Zoom then deletes your account as well as those of your allies in Vanezuela and Iran. On top of that, the local law requires Zoom to give data to identify you at which point your life is at risk or a jail term without a trial.

That's what those people face in China.


> our Twitter and Facebook

Aren’t you a CCP member?

(Sorry in advance if you take offense to me assuming your nationality and political allegiance based on your comment history.)


Do you have a more reliable source than this website? I worked on content moderation at Facebook for several years, I highly doubt that the accounts were deleted because of government pressure


Bear in mind that Zoom is a Chinese company — the founding team is Chinese; the core engineering and ops teams are largely in Suzhou and Hangzhou.

So, while they are incorporated in the US and have significant presence in their HQ, their ties to China are stronger than the more-commonly-discussed outsourced-engineering sort of relationship.


When will this meme die?

Zoom is NOT a Chinese company. It is incorporated in and headquartered in the US. Like any American company ever, it follows US laws in the US, and local laws in other companies where it operates. End of story.

Yes their culture certainly has stronger cultural internal ties to China, due to the number of Chinese employees, but what has that got to do with anything? At the end of the day, they're a public, profit-driven corporation trying to make lots of money across the entire world.

It's not like they're secretly and nefariously doing the CCP's bidding, which seems to be the veiled suggestion people keep making.

Seriously, every time someone brings up that Zoom is "really" a Chinese company, it comes across as borderline racism or conspiracy-mongering or both. And while I'd usually never comment on someone using a throwaway account, in this case when you're pushing these kinds of shady "stronger than the more-commonly-discussed" insituations, I think using a throwaway here is representative of exactly the kind of astroturfing that spreads malicious rumors without evidence.


When will the meme that hating an organ harvesting totalitarian government == racism die?


So explain to me -- since Zoom is not a Chinese company, then what's the purpose of falsely claiming that it is?

If it isn't meant to tap into some kind of prejudice against Chinese people, then what is the purpose of spreading false rumors like that?

You can of course be against the Chinese government. But when you start fearmongering that a public American company is "actually Chinese", "more than commonly discussed"... based on zero evidence except that the company has a lot of Chinese people... then if it's not meant to trigger veiled racism, what is it meant to trigger otherwise?

Since, again, Zoom is not part of and has nothing to do with the Chinese government, except for when it obeys the government in its operations within China, like every other American company has to do too.


>Zoom's product development team is largely based in China

The main players are under CCP command.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoom_Video_Communications#Work...


A company's "main players" are its board and senior management. "Under command" means they report to someone.

Can you please explain how you think the board members and management of Zoom -- an American publicly traded company -- report to the CCP?

Because that is certainly not what your Wikipedia link says.


>A company's "main players" are its board and senior management

Ah I see that we have different definitions of main players. I'm thinking of developers who are able to mess with the code. But the Wikipedia does support what my definition of main players means.

Just because the board doesn't report to CCP doesn't mean that someone significant in the 700 isn't an assent of the CCP and able to do significant damage.


The CCP has access to most of Zoom's developers, so they can direct them to do anything at any time.

Zoom's filings disclose that in fact.


[flagged]


What the hell? In no place did I defend the CCP, so please don't put offensive words into my mouth. It's insulting and you should be ashamed of yourself for making false accusations.

And you are aware that Zoom's founder, Eric Yuan, is an American citizen? He grew up Chinese, but he acquired American citizenship, and therefore lost his Chinese citizenship. He and his family live in California where they're not going to be "disappeared".

So explain to me again why you think Zoom's founder and CEO, or its board members representing prominent venture capital firms, are doing the "bidding of the CCP"?

I'm not engaging in any kind of false equivalence or defending China. I'm pointing out that Zoom and China are totally different things. Using Zoom doesn't mean you're supporting China or being spied on by China. It's an American company, not a Chinese one.


[flagged]


Your first comment was already flagged by other users.

Why don't you stop making false statements?

Zoom allows you to specifically choose where your servers are located, e.g. to avoid China specifically if you want:

https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/04/13/coming-april-18-co...

I don't dispute China might compel Zoom to reveal user activity within the country. But there's no legal mechanism for China to do so for communication that doesn't pass through China. And Zoom's entire business reputation hinges on that.

Please stop spreading disinformation on HN.


We are rapidly devolving into separate internets.


I think that is inevitable as long as the top N companies enforce their morals and standards on consumers all over the world.

If the world could agree, we can legistlate these companies to be neutral and grant then protection from some state lawsuits if they don't enforce standards that aren't globally agreed upon (by the UN for instance).

It will be tricky because that means admitting that internet companies are their own independent states and many countries will not be happy with that.


I think of it a little differently. I think as long as their is a potential to exert political power via the internet, then governments will strong-arm companies into doing their bidding.


> which requires compliance with local laws even as Zoom seeks to promote the open exchange of ideas.

That's as good as saying "we will kill puppies if local laws require it as Zoom seeks to promote fair treatment of animals." They aren't promoting "open exchange of ideas" and likely never will. Zoom have continuously proven to be profit driven. This is perfectly fine, so long as they don't lie about it (they lie like they breath).

Furthermore, if you are an activist and are using Zoom, you have none of my pity. They have proven their beliefs at every possible opportunity, and then some, for months. You really have to start questioning your belief patterns and critical thinking if you are sharing anything remotely confidential or private on Zoom. Using Zoom for basically anything is the equivalent of "not being able to program the video tape recorder." It's not applying enough thought to the trivial problem at hand, and subjecting yourself to turmoil due to that.

We don't need legal structures for this. Just stop using stupid products, Zoom being one of the best examples.


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