Skip to main content

New York free speech activists sue Baidu for censorship

baidu-censorshipA handful of New Yorkers are suing Baidu, China’s largest search engine, for censoring search results. According to Reuters, eight New York residents are claiming Baidu collaborates with the Chinese government to restrict pro-democracy content – which the suit considers to be violating the US Constitution.

“We allege a private company is acting as the arm and agent of a foreign state to suppress political speech, and permeate US borders to violate the First Amendment,” prosecuting attorney Stephen Preziosi says. “An Internet search engine is a public accommodation, just like a hotel or restaurant,” he further explains, arguing this directly challenges federal and state civil rights laws.

At first glance the suit seems rooted in democratic ideals: Those behind the accusations are activists who are unhappy that their work on democracy in China is absent from Baidu. But the fact that the plaintiffs are seeking $16 million in damages and not attempting to force Baidu to correct any of these free speech violations makes it less credible. Preziosi explains “It would be futile to expect Baidu to change.” He’s right: We’ve seen this fight time and time again, and from arguably much more able opponents, such as Google. And once again, China will argue that any US entity, be it company or court system, cannot attempt any governance over a sovereign nation. “The way the Chinese government manages the Internet in accordance with the law accords with international norms and is a sovereign matter. Foreign courts have no jurisdiction,” a spokeswoman from the country’s Foreign Ministry says in response to the suit.

Baidu very nearly has a monopoly on the Chinese search engine market, and it’s more than acceptable that foreign activists want to erode the country’s censorship policies. The ensuring frustration that comes with having their efforts blocked altogether is also legitimate – but if they think they have a shot at winning this battle, they’re wrong. And that’s being conservative. China has become increasingly aware how actively the world is using the Internet as a platform for free speech, and its responding by tightening its grip on the web. It’s unlikely these policies will change anytime soon, and it seems like instead of trying to change them, the world is simply looking for compromise. But it’s doubtful China will see the lawsuit as such, and we’re thinking the plaintiffs are going home empty-handed.

Molly McHugh
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Before coming to Digital Trends, Molly worked as a freelance writer, occasional photographer, and general technical lackey…
Alienware sale: Get up to $1,000 off gaming laptops and PCs
The Alienware x14 R2 gaming laptop on a desk.

There’s a huge sale on all things Alienware at Dell right now meaning some fantastic gaming laptop deals and gaming PC deals are yours to snap up. That includes some surprisingly affordable gaming rigs right up to some maxed out options too. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a new gaming setup, take a look at the full sale for yourself. There are over 20 different models in the sale so there are plenty of options. If you’re not sure where to begin, keep reading and we’ll guide you through our favorite picks.

What to shop for in the Dell gaming PC sale
Dell is one of the best gaming laptop brands so checking out the best gaming laptops it makes is the perfect starting point. One of the more inexpensive options is the which is down to $1,400 from $1,750. It has an AMD Ryzen 7 7745HX processor, 16GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage. Even better, it has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card teamed up with a 16-inch QHD+ screen with 2560 x 1600 resolution, 240Hz refresh rate, and 3ms response time. It’s a perfect entry point to the gaming laptop world.

Read more
Lenovo sale: Get up to 67% off ThinkPad Laptops, from $600
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 12 front angled view showing display and keyboard.

Lenovo has a huge laptop sale going on right now with select ThinkPad laptops available from just $600. If you need a new system for your small business, working on the move, or other productivity-focused plans, these are the laptop deals for you. With over a dozen laptops in the sale, it’s a good idea to take a look at the sale for yourself, but we’re also here with some insight into the best deals.

What to shop for in the Lenovo laptop sale
Lenovo is one of the best laptop brands for reliability and business purposes. One great starting point is being able to buy the for $600. According to Lenovo, it normally costs $1,839 which seems a little unrealistic but in keeping with Lenovo’s overly enthusiastic estimated value system. However, whatever the discount, this is a good laptop for the price. It has a 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1235U processor, 16GB of memory, and 256GB of SSD storage. For the display, you get a 14-inch full HD screen with 45% NTSC and 300 nits of brightness. There’s also a 1080p full HD RGB/IR Hybrid webcam with a privacy shutter and dual microphones.

Read more
Ghost of Tsushima is already shaping up to be a monster PC port
Jin wearing the Sarugami armor with Iki island in the background.

Sony detailed the features that will be available in the Ghost of Tsushima PC port on Tuesday, setting the stage for when the game launches on May 16. Despite some rocky PC ports from PlayStation Studios and porting studio Nixxes in the past, Ghost of Tsushima already looks impressive.
Ghost of Tsushima DLSS, FSR, and XeSS
It's launching with all of the modern bells and whistles a PC gamer could want. That includes support for Nvidia's DLSS 3 and AMD's FSR 3, both of which support upscaling and frame generation. There's also support for Intel XeSS, as well as native anti-aliasing modes for FSR and DLSS. This runs the game at native resolution but uses the anti-aliasing of the upscalers for improved image quality -- read our explainer on Nvidia Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing for more on that.

There's a treasure trove of features here that means virtually every PC gamer will have access to performance-boosting tech. FSR 3 support at launch is particularly noteworthy. Adoption of AMD's frame generation tech has been slow, and although we've seen it in recent games, it usually isn't available at launch.

Read more