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Monday, January 30, 2006

Google evil in a nutshell

Google did not have to become the actual implementors of political censorship, but they chose to do it, to trade dissident blood for AdSense dollars. And there's no big gain here for freedom lovers in China to have access to a censored-but-faster Google, that is rationalization. So I'd say "shame on them", but it would be understatement, since the correlate of political censorship is murder.

7 Comments:

  • At 1:30 PM , Anonymous Mark said...

    Surely people in China can still access google.com just as they could before? Admittedly that wasn't very well, but that wasn't Google's fault. Now, on the other hand, they can also reliably access google.cn for all the other, non-political stuff they might be looking for on the Internet. So, there's exactly as much access to the "sensitive" information as there was before, plus a lot more access to all the other information. How are they worse off, exacly? How is this going to result in the death of dissidents? And do you really think that anyone in China who's likely to care about censorship isn't going to pay close attention to the bit at the bottom of censored google.cn pages that explains that they have been pruned according to Chinese law?

    Just because something feels wrong doesn't mean it is wrong.

     
  • At 2:22 PM , Blogger Brad Williams said...

    The Chinese people are worse off exactly because Google has given its moral sanction to the PRC's life-destroying essence. Actions speak louder than words. Implementing censorship says to the world: censorship is okay to implement. The PRC is riding that sort of moral blank check into the future as the most powerful dictatorship the world has ever seen. I fear that in 20 years it will be obvious to everyone how wrong-as-in-death it is to support the PRC now.

     
  • At 2:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Brad:
    what about Yahoo, who obliged the Chinese police and disclosed the identity of a pro-democracy activist using their network (he was subsequently jailed for six years)? And what about Cisco, who built a restricted network for the Chinese government to close access to foreign web pages? These and many other companies provide goods and services to China and help restrict freedom there.
    Is Google.cn more evil just because it's in the news today?

     
  • At 10:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Companies voluntarily selling their soul to enslave people is an ancient and very sad story.

    Today it's Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft, Google and so many more. (I agree: Yahoo's, Microsoft's & Cisco's crimes are worse than Google, at least at present.

    Many European companies (often with support from their governments) sold Iran the equipment they are now using to make atom bombs.

    Many European companies also knowingly sold Iraq, Libya, and many other countries supplies to make chemical and biological weapons.

    Read and weep at how IBM supplied the Nazis with the technology to hunt down Jews, efficiently run Dachau, and make the trains to Auchwitz run on time:

    Village Voice Article on IBM and the Nazis

    It's time we, the people of the world, say NO MORE! Start with Google because they promised to "Do No Evil", and demand an end forever to collaborating with tyranny.

    If we don't, all the technology of today's and tomorrow's world will increasingly be used to enslave even more millions, and then, with any protest impossible, will end up being used to enslave you and I.

     
  • At 9:54 AM , Anonymous Mark said...

    "Many European companies (often with support from their governments) sold Iran the equipment they are now using to make atom bombs.

    Many European companies also knowingly sold Iraq, Libya, and many other countries supplies to make chemical and biological weapons.

    Read and weep at how IBM supplied the Nazis with the technology to hunt down Jews, efficiently run Dachau, and make the trains to Auchwitz run on time."

    All of those examples are companies supplying the actual tools to do wrong. They are not the same as this. Furthermore, it's a bit rich saying that Google has given its moral sanction to censorship when they point it out so clearly and publish - on a page easily found with a quick search, even on google.cn - that they do not approve of it.

    In other news, I just, in about a minute, google.cned my way to the Amnesty International site about Tianenmen Square. Looks to me like Google have compromised their search as little as they can without getting google.cn blocked.

    Another point: go to google.com, or google.co.uk, or google.fr, or pretty much any Google you like, and you'll see links in the top-right to sign in for the personalised homepage service. These, you'll note, are missing on google.cn. Why? Because Google don't want to find themselves in Yahoo's position, faced with demands to hand over the names of Chinese activists to the authorities. Do you think they're going to make more money by disabling Google Accounts in China?

    All this fuss still seems like a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to me.

     
  • At 1:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Imagine if nobody ever heard Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech? If Rosa Park's brave defiance was silenced? If all the other courageous voices of the civil rights movement had never been heard?

    Imagine if all newspapers and media of that era had been censored by our government.

    You know what today's America would then be like.

    Why then should we accept justifications and excuses from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco and all the others who, to line their pockets with cash and prop up their quarterly statements, provide China's regime with the means to keep their own Martin Luther Kings and Rosa Parks silenced?

    And if it's "ok" to use American technology to prop up a terrified dictatorship halfway around the world; how will we be able to object if or when the same technology gets used at home, against you and me...

    ...once there is nobody left who can stand up and shout: "I have a dream!"

     
  • At 6:40 AM , Anonymous Mark said...

    I don't think Google does provide the means to oppress. I reckon the means to oppress are probably the ones that would allow them to block or shut down google.cn if it wasn't censored. If anything, Google makes it harder because they state that some information is not being provided.

    Surely with no Google at all information would be even more easily concealed? I would like to mention again the astounding ease with which I found the Amnesty International page on Tiananmen Square using google.cn.

     

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