Here's something to consider over the weekend, as you browse your favorite blogs.
Reporters Without Borders is condemning Microsoft China and about 20 other blog service providers, including Yahoo, for signing a new agreement with the Internet Society of China, which the Chinese government oversees, that doesn't explicitly require the providers to discontinue anonymous blogging in the country, but strongly recommends it.
The "self-discipline pact" is described as a step away from a previous proposed version of the agreement, which the Telegraph says was modified to remove language requiring a complete end to anonymous blogging after public dissatisfaction. That's certainly a bit of good news amid the bad, but the fact that China has the second-largest online population internationally is really the point here.
The blog providers have agreed, by signing, that they will encourage users to register with their real names, that they will retain that information, and they will be on the lookout for subversive posts and comments, deleting "bad and illegal information," reports the LA Times.
Microsoft, when asked for comment, said that it doesn't support all recommendations in the document. It is not easy to get permission to provide online services in China, granted, but this type of agreement should be closely examined by the rest of us outside China question who live our online lives without such restrictions.