by CIO Staff

Skype Defends Chinese Partner’s Censorship

Apr 19, 2006 2 mins

man hiding behind laptop computer sneaky employee hiding censorship by xesai getty images
Credit: Xesai / Getty Images

Skype, a voice over IP (VoIP) provider backed by eBay, has acknowledged that its Chinese partner company, Tom Online, censored text messages, defending the actions as a necessary part of doing business in the county, the Financial Times reports.

Skype’s chief executive, Niklas Zennstrom, told the Financial Times that its joint venture partner in China was only complying with local laws when it censored customers’ text messages. 

“Tom had implemented a text filter, which is what everyone else in that market is doing,” Zennstrom told the Financial Times. “Those are the regulations.”

China represents one of Skype’s top three markets along with Germany and the United States, based on the countries’ numbers of active users of its free Internet-based telephone offering, according to the Financial Times.

Skype is one of the latest companies to step into the censorship debate that has already seen firms such as Microsoft and Yahoo draw fire from critics and rights activists regarding their business practices in China.

Zennstrom dismissed critics’ concerns regarding the filtering of text messages, and stressed that this censorship has not subjected users of the Skype or Tom Online services to undue risk, the Financial Times reports.

“I may like or not like the laws and regulations to operate businesses in the U.K. or Germany or the U.S., but if I choose to do business there, I choose to comply with those laws and regulations,” Zennstrom told the Financial Times. “I can try to lobby to change them, but I need to comply with them. China in that way is not different.”

For related coverage, read Skype Scoops Up VoIP Tech Cos..

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