back to article Microsoft Bing censors politically sensitive Chinese terms

Microsoft search engine Bing censors terms deemed sensitive in China from its autosuggestion feature internationally, according to research from Citizen Lab. The University of Toronto research organization analyzed the search engine's autosuggestion system for censorship of nearly 100,000 names in the United States, Canada and …

  1. Scott 53

    Return of an age-old problem

    Welcome to Lu'an, twinned with the UK town of Scun{redacted}

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    You still can't have your cake and eat it

    "an internet platform cannot facilitate free speech for one demographic of its users while applying extensive political censorship against another demographic of its users"

    Well, it seems that Borkzilla (et al) must make a choice : either it is for free speech, or it is for raking in the dough in oppressive dictatorships.

    It's going to be interesting to see how this goes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You still can't have your cake and eat it

      Always the latter choice. Even google weren't immune to that one. Competition inside a closed market is a bit dumb though. I'm semi-surprised that the North Korean mandated OS requirements didn't make their way into China. However, China does need the ability to pilfer docs from the outside world to stay competitive so external internet is a bit more important to them.

  3. VoiceOfTruth

    Citizen Lab

    Another sock puppet.

    It has not once revealed any American-sponsored activity in the media. It has reports on GhostNet, but no reports on the NSA.

    It is another one of these groups which point a finger elsewhere while ignoring the elephant in the room. Look who funds it. And before anyone says that it is based in Canada, so what. It is a sock puppet organisation with no credibility.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Citizen Lab

      Indeed, whatabout American activity?

      1. JamesTGrant

        Re: Citizen Lab

        I’ve a theory…

        The usual VoT person that’s charged with monitoring El Reg has become more nuanced and appreciative of the commentades offbeat humour (with a u!!). This guy likes UNIX and dislikes choice (duplicated effort) in Linux distros (even though people are often doing this because they enjoy it - nothing wrong with that!). Whenever the regular person spots an article whose topic is vaguely related to some list of key words, it is flagged to the FUD person who then uses the account to write a comment, often without really reading the article, hence the duality and the context free (as per this article’s comment) vitriol.

        Can I claim a prize?

  4. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge
    Coat

    Bing Bada Boom!

    Yeah, gettin' my coat ...

  5. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    MS Filters Sensitive Search Results

    But on the other hand they are making millions on the Chinese market, so the ends (suppression of democracy and free speech) do justify the means (profit) in their eyes.

    Meanwhile over in Russia, MS suspends sales while saying:

    "These actions add to those we have previously detailed on protection from cyberattacks, protection from state-sponsored disinformation, support for humanitarian aid and protection of our employees."

    So at least they are inconsistent when dealing with oppression.

  6. albaleo

    Oh, you are awful

    drag queens (who are often unfairly linked to sex work).

    You must be kidding, dear. We do that kind of thing for free. Your place or mine?

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Oh, you are awful

      "Oh, you are awful" - the late great Dick 8)

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Oh, you are awful

      Her Maj doing the quarter mile?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not different in the EU though

    Try running a search for, for example, Russia Today (or the pirate bay) on Google's, or Microsoft's search engines from an EU address.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not different in the EU though

      "Russia Today" first result is rt.com. Good try, comrade!

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Not different in the EU though

        Just tried it on my phone (using DuckDuckGo). First hit was Al Jazeera. rt.com is nowhere to be seen.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Not different in the EU though

          To be fair, I can't actually connect to rt.com so perhaps the search engine is correct not to list it.

          Has it been taken off air?

          1. choleric

            Re: Not different in the EU though

            Me too on DuckDuckGo.

            Google lists the site, along with a link to the RT app.

            I get HSTS errors if I try to access it via mobile network (Vodafone), but manage to connect fine when I use my home network. I presume that's down to the DIY DNS config at home resolving to the actual RT supplied addresses, while Voda DNS is returning results that RT did not supply.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not different in the EU though

        > "Russia Today" first result is rt.com.

        From an EU address? Using one of the mentioned search engines? I am unable to reproduce that from three EU countries.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Not different in the EU though

          drill rt.com @8.8.8.8 yields 91.215.41.4

          drill rt.com @217.169.20.20 yields 0.0.0.0

          The former is Google's service. The latter is Andrews & Arnold, an ISP in the UK that has traditionally taken a dim view of censorship (see https://www.aa.net.uk/broadband/ and skip down to "An unfiltered Internet connection"). A&A's boss had a few things to say on the subject in this article -> https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2022/04/russia-sanctions-add-shock-internet-censorship-twist-for-uk-isps.html. That article concludes:

          "UPDATE 6th May 2022

          Ofcom and the UK Sanctions List appear to have confirmed that the first block list domains are for rt.com, sputniknews.com and rossiyasegodnya.com. Most ISPs will be implementing this via a basic DNS level block, which is usually the simplest approach."

          So yes, we're being censored.

  8. msobkow Silver badge

    The Chinese government gave us some major concessions for ensuring our tools and OS would exhibit this technical error.

    It doesn't affect anyone elsewhere, so eat your Wheaties and grow up.

    -- The Microsoft.

  9. razorfishsl

    in the meatime they are building their own communist dictatorship.

    much of MS website for admin & technical support now does not work with anything but edge.

    The same inside 365 , it is gradually being locked down to ONLY work with hte MS browser.

    Plus functionality is being removed from inside 365 to tackle hackers/spammers and fishing, only for it all to be put behind a per user paywall.

    Tere used to be the ability to generate reports on domains contacting your domain...... came back a day later and it was gone.

    Seems every-time i find something useful it dissapears.

    and don't even talk to me about having paid $60,000 for corporate licenses , that require each computer to be connected to MS support in india for upto 3 hours

    just to get the "upgraded" licenses into win 10 after the forced fuck of auto upgrade from win 10->win 11, they are still claiming they don't know what happened...

    maybe.. but it is my fucking time & money they are wasting , dealing with this shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not a communist dictatorship...

      ...it's you choosing to use Microsoft.

  10. choleric
    Trollface

    Technically...

    ... it's an error

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