Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Jan 2006 19:26 UTC
Google Google has been basking in good publicity from refusing US government demands to hand over search results but in China it is happy to create a search engine based on government specifications. Google will offer a censored version of its search engine running on servers in China. It will remove results on 'sensitive' topics like human rights and Tibet. The decision would not seem so bad coming from another company but Google used to pride itself on the morality of its business strategy and devotion to free speech.
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don't be evil
by nivenh on Wed 25th Jan 2006 19:36 UTC
nivenh
Member since:
2005-07-06

unless the $$ is good enough?

Reply Score: 1

RE: don't be evil
by segedunum on Wed 25th Jan 2006 19:54 UTC in reply to "don't be evil"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

It isn't just about money. Indeed, there are a hell of a lot of companies circling around China as some great big money pot, but none of them look like making anything. China still has a hell of a lot of development left before anybody makes anything.

Google needed to appease the Chinese in order to stay in the game. Yahoo and especially MSN have been more than happy to say yes to everything, and Google couldn't really afford to be banned from China when some form of censorship, possibly more extreme, was going to happen anyway. Indeed, we don't know how MSN is banning things and we don't know whether people at MSN are spying on people in chatrooms, tracking them down and having the secret police knocking on their doors the next morning. It is telling that Google is not ofering e-mail, chat or blogging services.

It quite clearly does not sit well with Google themselves as well as it does with a company like Microsoft. However, Google knows what the Chinese are doing is a completely futile exercise doomed to failure. They've got researchers scouring the internet looking for sites they don't like and terms they want banned, and as we all know, that's just impossible no matter what the technology as more Chinese get online. People will quickly twig on, as they always do, that they're not getting the full story, they'll do something the Chinese authorities consider to be more dangerous, ask questions, and they'll get around it. Google have made it perfectly clear that if people get around China's firewall then the world's their oyster, and entering search terms is by no means a catch-all.

China is changing, it's inevitable and it has to change if the money people think is in there is going to materialise. Google may just be cleverer than either Yahoo, and especially Microsoft, for the long-term in realising it.

Reply Score: 4

v RE[2]: don't be evil
by segedunum on Wed 25th Jan 2006 21:18 UTC in reply to "RE: don't be evil"
RE[3]: don't be evil
by nivenh on Wed 25th Jan 2006 22:22 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: don't be evil"
nivenh Member since:
2005-07-06

indeed, even i found it insightful. people are too quick to mod down people they may not agree with instead of people who are actually abusive.

Reply Score: 2

...
by Mitarai on Wed 25th Jan 2006 19:41 UTC
Mitarai
Member since:
2005-07-28

This is bussiness after all, google owns nothing to those anti-China advocates.

Reply Score: 1

well?
by helf on Wed 25th Jan 2006 19:42 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

what did you expect? google is a corporation. All this google hype is pure BS that only morons bought into.

Browser: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 95; PalmSource; Blazer 3.0) 16;160x160

Reply Score: 4

RE: well?
by ma_d on Thu 26th Jan 2006 04:44 UTC in reply to "well?"
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Being a corporation does not give entitlement to a complete lack of ethics.
We'll see how Google tries to recover on this one. But it does sadden me to see them and Microsoft bend over the such an anti-democratic nation with the money they've made from democratic nations ;) .

Reply Score: 1

RE
by Kroc on Wed 25th Jan 2006 19:43 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

There's one thing worse than censorship to Google - a generation of kids growing up on Yahoo. (BTW Yahoo is the default search engine for Firefox in China too)

Reply Score: 1

The Wrong Call
by Jarsto on Wed 25th Jan 2006 19:50 UTC
Jarsto
Member since:
2005-10-06

I can see why Google did this and on the surface there is some logic in "some search results is better than none", but I think they made the wrong call.

If Google had not cooperated chances are some Chinese search engine, possibly even something sponsored by the Chinese government, would be offering "some search results". I don't think a situation is imaginable where Chinese internet users would have had literally no search system available. If that had been the alternative Google's explanation "some is better than none" might have made sense.

But even that excuse had made sense I wouldn't like it. For one thing it sets a dangerous precedent (although the same can be said for the German example mentioned in the article). It sort of makes one wonder what the next step will be, which will be the next country to demand something and will they get it?

I would guess that be China's position as an increasingly strong, and increasingly high tech market place played a role in this decision. At least as big a role as some results versus no results. Only time will tell if Google got it right, my feeling is they didn't.

Reply Score: 2

hypocrisy
by dukeinlondon on Wed 25th Jan 2006 19:54 UTC
dukeinlondon
Member since:
2005-07-06

the problem is not with the 'do no evil' motto but with the stance being taken with US government (that might be justified) compared to the compliance exhibited in China.

The consistency is whatever makes good business gets the go ahead : it might look bad in the US to bend to govt demands (that might hurt business) whereas who cares about what happens to whoever China opresses ? Surely Tibet and rural China is not high on the target customer list.... The stance would be very different if it was techno fan and well off south korea that was targetted. Then again, it's also a matter of balance. If China is already a bigger market than say, Taiwan, then why bother trying to look like the good guy in Taiwan ?

Edited 2006-01-25 19:57

Reply Score: 0

China $yndrome
by netpython on Wed 25th Jan 2006 20:04 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

.>

Reply Score: 1

not a good idea
by necrosis on Wed 25th Jan 2006 20:30 UTC
necrosis
Member since:
2006-01-18

given how little the rest of the world appreciates the US (google being a US based company) intervening in foreign nation's governence, even if Google did the "right thing", good publicity would not necessarily follow.

one possiblity is:
access to currently censored information => chinese revolts (some violent) => people dead/the chinese government vocally complaining on the international scene => Goolge in a tough situation

that's even assuming that Google manages to exert pressure on the government to install uncensored search; highly unlinkely. this case would translate into a smaller bottom line (for US shareholders).

in the end, we should let other nations fight their on war for freedom; particularly when they might not value it as highly as we do, and expect them to, eg: Vietnam)

Reply Score: 1

When in rome.
by theTSF on Wed 25th Jan 2006 20:46 UTC
theTSF
Member since:
2005-09-27

Do No Evil, when agreeing to censor the information for China, it is not evil, If they didn't china wouldn't use it, Here in america Google is fighting for the rights it already has. For China, the best google can do is give them as much as you can.
Information is good. Either you can see things all or nothing, or make compromises to get some of the information out.

Reply Score: 1

Sad
by Smartpatrol on Wed 25th Jan 2006 20:57 UTC
Smartpatrol
Member since:
2005-07-06

Googles action inadvertently condones such censorship and oppression. They are in the business as an information distributor and supplier now they are in the business of censorship. Shame on Google

Reply Score: 5

Google = Communism???
by JohnD on Wed 25th Jan 2006 22:39 UTC
JohnD
Member since:
2006-01-25

The founders of Google are like all the other left wing limousine liberals. They are part of the blame America first crowd. They wonít help the US government in tracking down terrorists but they are all for censorship in China where torture is exercised daily.

Iím sure they would have complied with the Naziís too if they were still around and thank god they are not.

Maybe its time for the public to censor Google!!!!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Google = Communism???
by n4cer on Wed 25th Jan 2006 22:56 UTC in reply to "Google = Communism???"
n4cer Member since:
2005-07-06

The founders of Google are like all the other left wing limousine liberals. They are part of the blame America first crowd. They wonít help the US government in tracking down terrorists but they are all for censorship in China where torture is exercised daily.

As opposed to the US where torture is exercised daily. Darn, now I've gone and gotten myself on the NSA's list. Time for my rendition I guess.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Google = Communism???
by sigzero on Thu 26th Jan 2006 02:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Google = Communism???"
sigzero Member since:
2006-01-03

Probably not. They know an idiot from a terrorist. You are no terrorist.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[3]: Google = Communism???
by n4cer on Thu 26th Jan 2006 08:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Google = Communism???"
google
by Dutch Guilder on Wed 25th Jan 2006 23:07 UTC
Dutch Guilder
Member since:
2006-01-22

Whats new?

Reply Score: 1

IBM
by Dutch Guilder on Wed 25th Jan 2006 23:08 UTC
Dutch Guilder
Member since:
2006-01-22

IBM supported the NAZI party with business machines which were used to record data about jews.
Nothing is changed.

Reply Score: 1

Google is the new Microsoft
by line_eater on Wed 25th Jan 2006 23:34 UTC
line_eater
Member since:
2006-01-25

Google hired a bad man(Dan Senor) from the pentagon PR team. Even if they protest the government getting access to their information, I'm highly suspicious they're giving it up anyway.

NEVER trust a corporation. If Google is getting too big for us, we should be working on a non-profit alternative, where the rank algorithms aren't beholden to corporate shareholders.

We should have 100% transparency for any infrastructure that important, not to mention individual privacy. I'm betting, in the future we'll see the emergence of free webservices to challenge Google's search strangle-hold. I bet we'll see open source, non-profit google alternatives on the horizon.

Reply Score: 2

Who cares. Lets worry about the NSA
by jakesdad on Thu 26th Jan 2006 01:35 UTC
jakesdad
Member since:
2005-12-28

People complain software companies dont do what the consumer wants. Well guess what... China, the consumer, wants software made to "their" spec, thats going to run on "their" networks.
I also heard that Google will be displaying that content was blocked to the user, Sort of like a related site list of information and there are ways to circumvent the filtering, like proxy servers. So -1 for do no evil and doing it, +1 for saying your being censored, equals big fat 0. Google breaks even.
Now im not saying I support China's censorship. Im saying I support a company providing a product to a consumer. Good, bad or indifferent this is capitilism. Who cares how slippery the slope is when money is on the line. Money is influence. (ok that last part was sarcasm.)

Reply Score: 1

consider the alternative
by kamper on Thu 26th Jan 2006 01:43 UTC
kamper
Member since:
2005-08-20

Google has this thing of not being evil but on the other hand, they've never been hailed for doing good either. They have no neutral choice here and I really don't see that they are obligated to boycott china because of moral issues. That's an intentional selflessness that has never really been asked of any company.

On the other hand, of course, using their technology to acheive what is generally taken to be 'evil' isn't good either. Ideally they'd just be able to ignore china and not make a decision but they can't do that either. I think what they should do is license their technology to the chinese government and provide support for the stuff that has nothing to do with censorship and then wipe their hands of the whole thing and let the government do the dirty work.

But, whatever... being a typical selfish north american, I will probably just keep using google products until I feel their evilness is affecting me.

Reply Score: 1

China will eventually open up
by Shane on Thu 26th Jan 2006 06:45 UTC
Shane
Member since:
2005-07-06

China will eventually open up much more. They are just doing it at their own pace. Turning a nation around takes decades. You can't expect that 100% western values would work for it overnight. Look at what happened to the Soviet Union. This fuss about Google will be moot in in the end.

Reply Score: 2

"Do Just A Little Evil"
by case on Thu 26th Jan 2006 14:59 UTC
case
Member since:
2005-06-29

Googles company motto of "do no evil" was a promise given to all the people who would use their services. It was great to see the company succeed because of their commitment to this ideology. With this decision to support censorship of information they have placed themselves on the same level as other self serving business entities.

Reply Score: 1

Google respect the law of the country
by Moulinneuf on Thu 26th Jan 2006 15:53 UTC
Moulinneuf
Member since:
2005-07-06

Google is respecting the law of the country its in , in China there is no human rights law , Tibet discussion are banned due to terrorism , there is no privacy law , its up to the Chinese to change there law.

In the US , its the opposite there is law protecting the individual and there privacy , the current government is trying to bypass them and as already scared the weak into compliance , read AOL , MSN and Yahoo and probably many others , in order to pass a law which whas stopped before in its track in congress , because it whas too broad.

When the Chinese and Iranian and all the other place change there way and it become law there too Google will respect and protect them.

Reply Score: 1

but..
by gdanko on Thu 26th Jan 2006 17:51 UTC
gdanko
Member since:
2005-07-15

The big question is.. why is China so afraid of free speech? Hmmmmm

Reply Score: 1

Anyone here from China?
by Quag7 on Thu 26th Jan 2006 18:02 UTC
Quag7
Member since:
2005-07-28

I am curious is anyone who reads this site lives in China, and, if so:

(1) How well have the efforts by the Chinese government to prohibit access to certain sites worked? More to the point, how many "controversial" sites about things like Falun Gong have been blocked, compared to the amount that are still out there?

(2) How hard is it to circumvent any search engine blocks by simply connecting to foreign search engines?

(3) How much of a demand is there for the kinds of data you find on these blocked sites? I can't see something like Falun Gong being of much interest except to a minority predisposed to be interested in this sort of thing?

(4) If it is easy to circumvent these blocks, is this something an average every-day internet user in China would know how to do?

I am wondering how much of a practical problem this is. Obviously I oppose such censorship, but I am curious what its effects are in practice.

Reply Score: 1

Followup...
by Quag7 on Thu 26th Jan 2006 18:05 UTC
Quag7
Member since:
2005-07-28

As an experiment, go to:

www.google.cn

And enter Falun Gong as a search term, and look at the summaries that come up on the first page of hits.

Then do the same for www.google.com

Interesting.

Reply Score: 1