On Sunday I challenged Skype's Jaanus Kase to respond to user concerns that Skype's Chinese-language client being marketed by TOM Online censors politically sensitive words in its text chat function. In my original post, I challenged Skype to be more transparent with its Chinese users about the fact that it is censoring, and to disclose what is being blocked, by whose authority and according to what law.
Jaanus responded yesterday here:
Rebecca -- thanks for all your comments and questions. I have not posted a followup on the comments because I don't have any new info to add to what's already been said. Skype has taken a decision to have TOM Online actively manage its business in China, thus you should be addressing these questions to TOM.
My response here:
Thanks very much Jaanus. However, given that the censorship is happening under Skype's brand name, don't you think that Skype should be taking responsibility for how censorship of your tool is being carried out? Otherwise if you don't want to take responsibility for TOM's practices, shouldn't the tool just be called TOM in order that users are clear about which company truly has control over their conversations??
Am I being unreasonable?
Note that Skype is now part of eBay... I wonder what their socially conscious founder Pierre Omidyar might think about a member of the eBay family delegating political censorship to a local partner and then not taking responsibility for any details of what is being done?