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The risk of hosting with Microsoft or Yahoo

Microsoft's shutdown of Chinese blog is condemned - Technology - International Herald Tribune Microsoft's decision to shut down the site of a well-known Chinese blogger was the latest in a series of measures in which some of the biggest technology companies have cooperated with Beijing to curb dissent or free speech online.

Microsoft drew criticism last summer when it was discovered that its blog tool in China was designed to filter words like ''democracy'' and ''human rights'' from blog titles. The company said this week that it must ''comply with global and local laws.''

Another American online service operating in China, Yahoo, was widely criticized in the autumn after it was revealed that the company had provided Chinese authorities with information that led to the imprisonment of a Chinese journalist who kept a personal e-mail account with Yahoo. Yahoo also defended its action by saying it was forced to comply with local law.

Apparently hosting your weblog, website, or email with a service that has a significant business presence in repressive countries is not a good idea. I can understand Microsoft's and Yahoo's actions - as a business they stand to lose much if they get in trouble with China's government. As an individual, I can see there is a big risk in hosting my website with a business whose interests might conflict.

Not long ago I was looking at Yahoo's much-improved offerings for web hosting. Safe to say I have pretty much lost interest in the notion in hosting with any big business that has other - potentially conflicting - interests.