Even more irony abounds at the second World Internet Conference, this time in the form of the co-founder of Wikipedia having his anti-censorship comments censored in translation.
After making a prediction that technological advances would banish government control of information flow, Jimmy Wales found that what he really meant to say was that technological advances would in fact bolster online management by authorities.
According to China Real Time, Wales’s comments at a panel discussion at the ongoing conference were:
We will see, not perfect, but very much improved machine translation, which will very much enhance person-to-person communication worldwide. This will be a very powerful thing. I believe as a result of this, the idea that any one government can control the flow of information of what people know in their territory will become completely antiquated and no longer possible.
But according to the conference’s official website translation, Wales’s remarks on said tech advances suggested exactly the contrary:
Probably we will see improved machine translation, which will very much enhance person-to-person communication. And also the government could conduct good analysis on people’s communication in various relevant areas.
What a flip-flopper! Talk about saying two things at the same time!
This actually isn’t the first time Wales has clashed with the Chinese government over freedom of information — in 2013, he made it clear that his website would not be complying with any legislature calling for access restriction or disclosure of user data. Summarising the issue, Wales merely said: “We are quite uncompromising in our position on access to knowledge as a fundamental right, and of course the Chinese government is fairly firm on its own views.”
Quite firm in fact, so much so that Beijing likes to keep Wikipedia on its toes by blocking different versions of their websites every so often, and judging from this latest incident, it seems like the love-hate relationship (mostly hate) will continue apace.
By Pinky Latt