In this edition: Web users comment on the Google-China row; the British blogosphere is gripped by the "cash for influence scandal"; and an American singer uses « chatroulette » during a concert.
GOOGLE VS CHINA
Google has once again defied the Chinese government. Rather than pulling out of mainland China, the web giant announced it has stopped censuring its Chinese language search engine google.cn. Visitors are automatically redirected to its Hong Kong platform.
This Chinese web user criticizes the decision, saying that even if Google Hong Kong lies outside the Great Firewall of China, this is not the case for web users in China. He says they will be able to see the results pages, but will not be able to go on to access the source materials displayed.
He also states that this measure could encourage the government to block all google sites.
The Mountain View based company says on its blog that it understands Beijing could decide to block their services at any moment. So, it has created a page, updated on a daily basis, showing which Google sites are accessible in China.
Many Chinese are convinced the site will be blocked for good and as we see in these images currently circulating on Twitter, they have visited the American company’s Chinese headquarters in Beijing to leave flowers or chocolates. It’s their way of paying tribute to the web giant.
But many are unsure of the facts and are asking for more clarity. Twenty or so Chinese web users, including the cyber activist Isaac Mao, have posted an online open letter. This open source document, which can be modified by users, is appealing to Google and the government for more transparency towards web users.
The British Political Class has been hit by a new scandal, following the broadcast over the weekend on Uk television channel “Channel 4” of a particularly damning video. We see several former Labour Cabinet Ministers say they can use their political influence in return for payments. The affair which has been given the name ‘cash for influence’ by the media has provoked lively reactions online.
This blogger says he’s not particularly surprised by the scandal. He reminds us that the country’s general election is approaching, and many of the MPs who will soon lose their seats are trying to make the most of their contacts by capitalizing on their political influence. He says this common practice is nothing new.
Some however, particularly the Conservative opposition party, are shocked by the scandal and feel that light must be shed on this affair. Via their web site several members including Conservative party leader David Cameron are calling for the Prime Minister to open up an investigation into the subject.
This organization which campaigns for more political transparency has created an online petition demanding that the former Transport Minister Stephen Byers, who is implicated in this affair, be stripped of his membership of the Privy Council. His critics no longer want him to hold this symbolic position.
This web user thinks these revelations could damage the reputation of Britain’s two main political parties, not just Labour, which currently appears to be the only party concerned. He believes the scandal could benefit minor parties who have been saying for a long time that the ruling political class is corrupt.
THE OTHER PEOPLE
The illustrator Thomas Cadène decided to launch a digital soap opera called ‘The Other People’. It’s a sort of online comic book. Cadène is in charge of the scenario, it’s the story of Mathilde, a 22 year old student who is going to indirectly win the lottery. But Cadène has asked twenty or so artists to take it in turns to draw the comic strip. Every day, the style, colours, decors, and the characters faces change. But their personalities and their relationships stay the same. The subscription fee is 2,79 € per month.
THE FOLKSOMY PROJECT
A screen composed of four videos which show young people destroying their computers and other such high tech machinery. It’s part of a piece of work called Folksomy Project created by Jodi, a collective of two internet artists. The project aims to explore web users love-hate relationship with new technologies.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Inspired by the video of a web user improvising songs at his piano for the different people he was talking to on the now famous site “Chatroulette”, the American singer Ben Folds from the group Ben Folds Five decided to compose songs for web users during his live concert. The 2000 people at the concert thought this was a great idea, as did the “Chatroulette” users who were lucky enough to benefit from a virtually private show.