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China's Search Engines Have More Than 66,000 Content Rules

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A Bing page with Chinese links.

According to Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity research group at the University of Toronto, the most diligent censor is Microsoft’s search engine Bing, the only foreign search engine operating in China.

Credit: Florence Lo/Reuters

Analysts from the Citizen Lab cybersecurity research group at Canada's University of Toronto found China's search engines have more than 66,000 rules governing content, suggesting the growing pervasiveness and subtlety of the country's censorship apparatus.

The search engines have developed algorithms to limit politically sensitive searches by yielding no results or restricting them to pre-authorized sources.

The study determined Microsoft's Bing—the only foreign search engine operating in China—to be the most diligent platform in terms of censoring results from domains, although Chinese technology companies follow more content rules.

Citizen Lab's Jeffrey Knockel said these findings strengthen the notion that foreign tech firms have little recourse for limiting censorship or other demands from China.

He explained, "Just simply allowing American tech companies to do business in China isn't going to solve any of the censorship or larger human rights issues that we would like to be solved in China."

From The New York Times
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