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Google Targeted By Anti-Censorship Movement 311

wormnet.org writes "An article has been posted on The Observer reporting that Google has been targeted by the group "Students For A Free Tibet" because of the internet company's relationship with the Chinese government. The article states: "... more than 50,000 letters have been sent to Google bosses in recent days protesting at the company's decision to censor searches on its google.cn website in line with Beijing's wishes. Protesters have also staged public 'break-ups' with Google at demonstrations outside many of its offices around the world.""
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Google Targeted By Anti-Censorship Movement

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:35AM (#14759404)
    they just think it's easier to harrass google then to take on the chineese government
    • Why do you assume that they don't confront the chinese government as well? Who do you think it is that organizes the "free tibet" rallies when Chinese officials visit American cities?

      -jcr
      • Do you really think that a letter to foreign companies, or an occassional rally, is going to change the policies of the Chinese government? I don't think ANYTHING will change the policies of the Chinese governments. There is no democracy at all in China, it is not a Republic like America where at least we have a constitution, China as far as I know has no constitution. There is nothing at all that a Chinese worker can do in China to influence policy except work hard, get rich, move to America, and pressure
        • Do you really think that a letter to foreign companies, or an occassional rally, is going to change the policies of the Chinese government?

          Not by itself, no. It's one of many, many things that will eventually bring an end to the Red Dynasty. For now, it povides comfort to the Chinese who want to be free, to know that they're not alone.

          -jcr
          • For now, it povides comfort to the Chinese who want to be free, to know that they're not alone.

            Which is probably on par with the comfort the Hungarians felt in 1956 and the Czechoslovakians experienced in 1968, when the West sympathized so loudly with their plight. And probably about as effective.

            Max
    • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:49AM (#14759452) Homepage

      Maybe it's that they think stopping American businesses from pumping money into an evil regime is a way of taking on the Chinese government?

      Seriously, read something like Blake Kerr's Sky Burial [amazon.com] ("An Eyewitness Account of China's Brutal Crackdown in Tibet") and you'll see why the free Tibet crowd exists and why they think it would be a good idea for the U.S. to refuse economic support to China until this brutal rule ends.

    • Because anyone with common sense can see that Google is being scapegoated here. Sure if you don't like Google, you can boycott Google, but why pick Google out, from all of the American companies in China who work with the Chinese government, including Yahoo, Microsoft, and others? This looks so much like politics that if Google were to actually go on CNN or worse, go to the liberal media, this situation could be blown up into something which in my opinion is not in anyones best interest.

      If censorship is a p
  • Letters? (Score:4, Funny)

    by imoou ( 949576 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:35AM (#14759406) Homepage
    Letter sent to Google bosses? They'll probably be thoroughly filtered and censored for their reading pleasure.
  • by thealsir ( 927362 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:38AM (#14759421) Homepage
    "I don't know, Google...it's just not working out. I mean, you're cute and all, but that insider stock selling is just going too far. You play with lego bricks and then screw shareholders out of billions. Now these oddball positions. You're not warm anymore, goog, you're all steely-eyed and Evil(TM)(C)(R)(K). Sorry googie, you're out..."
    • >> screw shareholders out of billions

      No, dude. It's shareholders who screw THEMSELVES out of billions by buying Google stock at astronomical prices. No one forces them. In case of Google, no one even promises them a gold mine. Google's position is neutral here. You want to buy our stock at $450? Be our guest, we'd be stupid to discourage you. Don't expect us to ever reach a sane P/E ratio, though, because we've never promised you that we will. Brin and Page realize themselves Google is ridiculously ov
  • Google company (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:45AM (#14759436)
    Don't blame Google, blame China.

    Without the restrictions Google can not do business in China.

    Intresting to note are the "small" diffrencens on the two Google sites google.com and google.cn.

    Tiananmen with tanks:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=tiananmen [google.com]

    Tiananmen with happy people:
    http://images.google.cn/images?q=tiananmen [google.cn]

    Ones again, blame China.
    • Morality should come before profits. Google has violated its Do No Evil policy, and time will tell if it matters in the real world. Probably not. But they still suck for doing it.
      • Please explain your definition of "morality" and why, whatever it is, you seem to think that companies should self-regulate according to your version of it without intervention from democratic government?
        • Because that's what Google has proclaimed from its inception?
          • Re:Google company (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Bungopolis ( 763083 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:33AM (#14759610)
            "Do No Evil" is a meaningless piece of marketing. It does not define "evil", and even if it did, corporate marketing slogans are not the same as corporate policy.
            • Yea, and most people are shallow, politicians are corrupt, business people are greedy, and AIDS kills people. What's your point?

              Corporate responsibility may not be a natural priority in the business world, but that doesn't mean that businesses shouldn't or can't be held accountable for what they do. Sure, if everyone's as complacent as you then we're probably all fucked, but clearly that's not the reality of things.

              Yes, it actually takes work to make the world a better place...

            • What are you talking about? I reach my full potential because of Microsoft. There is no way THAT's marketing. That's the truth, and no amount of trolling by anyone can change that.
            • "... corporate marketing slogans are not the same as corporate policy."

              Are you saying that a corporation can make any promises that it wants to in a "marketing slogan" and that the corporation doesn't have to back up those promises because the promises are not "corporate policy"? This sounds like one of those new wingnut Bush and company corporate "beliefs".
      • Re:Google company (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:06AM (#14759533)
        The whole of the USA is doing business in/with China. Why not pick on the clothing, shoe and other industries?
      • Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by elucido ( 870205 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:58AM (#14759686)
        Why is it that people only care about morality on the Google China issue? We have this policy of corporations only acting out of profits, ok fine, EXCEPT in China?

        Why is China the exception to the rule? Morality does not matter unless it's China? Human rights do not matter unless its China? It's as if we spend more time worrying about the human rights of the Chinese than our own. Please explain to me why the human rights issue in China is so important to us?

        • Re:Why now? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @06:10AM (#14759990)
          It's as if we spend more time worrying about the human rights of the Chinese than our own.

          There is no comparison between the sleights against human rights in the U.S. compared to the egregious affronts against human rights in China. And there's many more Chinese than Americans.

          It's as if we spend more time worrying about the human rights of the Chinese than our own.

          It seems to me that young Americans make a far louder noise over the rights violation they perceive in the U.S. (Ooooh!! RIAA takes my downloads away!! Scary!! Mommy!!!) than the Real Deal going on in places like China. My hat is off to the Students For A Free Tibet for keeping their eye on the global ball while so many of their peers get distracted by their local bread-and-circuses and fret about what they can't put on their iPods.

          And as for Google... Stupid dumb-ass sanctimonious Marketing slogan comes back to bite them in the butt. They deserve every ounce of attention they are getting on this matter. Smug, self-righteous, holier-than-thou prigs...
        • Re:Why now? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Krommenaas ( 726204 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @07:03AM (#14760159) Homepage
          Why is it that people only care about morality on the Google China issue? We have this policy of corporations only acting out of profits, ok fine, EXCEPT in China? People generally accept that corporations ignore human rights abuses when they do business in China or other countries with abusive dictatorships. People generally do not accept that corporations assist in the human rights abuses. It still happens a lot under the radar of media attention, but Google isn't the first company that does not get away with it unnoticed; e.g. Shell has had to revise its policies in Nigeria.
    • Re:Google company (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jcr ( 53032 ) <(jcr) (at) (mac.com)> on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:50AM (#14759455) Journal
      Don't blame Google, blame China.

      Who says we have to choose?

      -jcr
      • Re:Google company (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xiphoris ( 839465 )
        Don't blame Google, blame China.

        Exactly. That argument is a complete false dilemma [google.com]. The argument falsely implies that either Google or China is responsible for doing wrong -- fact is that they are both responsible.

        China, for setting the policies. Google, for choosing to adopt them.
    • Heh looks like the censor isn't quite perfected. Notice the tanks amongst the happy people.

      http://images.google.cn/images?q=tiananmen&svnum=1 0&hl=zh-CN&lr=&cr=countryCN&start=80&sa=N [google.cn]
    • I know, its such a shame that China forced Google to come sell their products in that country. Oh wait... Google decided that the money was too good for them to maintain their do no evil.
    • Companies don't have to do business with all countries. In particular, they don't have to do business with a country with political practises they don't agree with. Now, in Google's case, they decided they wanted to do business with China and are ok with their reqstrictions on free speech. Fair enough, however that may, and apparantly has, make people in other countries where Google does business angry. Those people are free to tell Google that if they want their business, they need to stop doing business w
    • Just because a business has no obligation to do right doesn't mean that they are off the hook. No government should regulate what a business can do elsewhere (selling to the enemy in times of war notwithstanding), but let them receive all the bad PR they deserve.
    • Exactly. I don't really see the point. What would be the use of giving search results full of dead links for them anyway? To show the Chinese people tiny bits of those pages they're not supposed to see? I'm sure it'd make them very happy...
    • Blame both. They are both acting in concert. However, don't think Google's relation with the US is somehow different--they censor here at the bequest of our Government (I'm refering to DMCA takedowns of cached pages).
    • By choosing not to do business with China than to carry out their censorship policies, Google would be sending a strong message not only to the Chinese government, the Chinese people, but also to the rest of the world. Part of the point of protest is to rally support for your movement. Perhaps being oppressors you have little power to effect reforms, but by drawing attention to the issue through protest and eliciting outside support, you may eventually stand a chance to fight back.

      The civil rights movement

    • What is interesting to me is this....""(if you can't see that or if it didn't display right it is a buncha chinese text pulled from the bottom of the google.cn image search results for Tiananmen) it basicly says "in compliance with local laws some results have been filtered"
  • slanted reporting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:52AM (#14759460)
    I've noticed in a lot of these items that it's Google that is singled out for the headline treatment, whilst Microsoft, Yahoo et al only get small mentions in the text, usually with a desultory "Microsoft & Yahoo also filter searches" type single sentence... and usually buried well down in any article as to be practically invisible
    • Which company has a motto of "Do No Evil"? Hint: it isn't Microsoft.
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:18AM (#14759564)
      Google has worked hard to create this image of "the good company", successfully, I might add. They have most people, the media included, sold on their "we're the good guys" image. Well, thus it's a story when they don't really act it. This company that's supposed to be all about free information and such is censoring? OMGWTFBBQ! Scandal!

      MS on the other hand is the company people love to hate. They actually aren't really that bad when you get down to it, they aren't the most scary monopoly (you want scary? look up Sysco) and for that matter there's questions to if they really are a monopoly. However they have the public image as the 800lb gorilla, that's kind of an asshole. Thus to hear that they screw with search results isn't really supprising.

      There's also the fact that MS and Yahoo traditonally haven't had unbiased search engines. They have biased results, deliberatly, for a number of reasons. Google was really the first major search engine that not only didn't sell any spots or anything, but actively fought against tricks to try and bias your results higher. MS has been fighting a battle to try and really give good and relivant results, but won't let go of the want to mess with them artifically.

      I don't really feel a lot of sympathy for Google as they brought this on themselves. They created the "Don't be evil" motto, they worked the PR to spin themselves as a good company, but then they chose to do something that seems to fly in the face of that. No supprise they wind up with egg on their face. The more perfect you project yourself as and the more you claim to have the moral high ground, the less people are willing to forgive of you.
      • The weird thing is really that Google is doing, so far as I can see, the least evil thing they can. They couldn't offer uncensored web search to the Chinese people; the government would prevent it, and Google can't do anything about that. It wouldn't hurt the government or help the people if Google stayed out of China entirely; the people would just continue to do their web searches on Yahoo, and Yahoo would continue turning over records to the government. The best they can do is offer censored web search a
    • Perhaps this is because of these companies, it was Google who said "don't be evil", and now they are actually being evil? Basically, Google have been caught in a barefaced lie.

    • Perhaps that's because in the world of Internet searching they are little more than bootnotes themselves. I don't know what it is like on other sites but on my main site 90%+ of the people that find the site via a search do so using Google. The other search engines just aren't in the same league.

  • US Govt as well? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 10 Speed ( 519184 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:54AM (#14759466)
    Will they also be sending letters to the US Government over the attempted suppression of the Iraqi prisoner of war abuse images?
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wronskyMan ( 676763 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:54AM (#14759468)
    Looks like their website (studentsforafreetibet.org) still comes up 4th in a search for "free tibet" on Google China...:here [google.cn]
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:56AM (#14759475) Journal
    Google is censoring as per the Chinese Gov. But so is MSN and Yahoo. The difference is that Google will tell the person that an item was censored, whereas MSN and Yahoo will not be doing that. As a user, I would hate the censoring. But I would hate much more NOT being informed exactly when I was being censored. This guys should either be going after all search engines or should push the others to be more like Google.
  • Free Tibet? (Score:3, Funny)

    by DigitlDud ( 443365 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:02AM (#14759503)
    Tibet's Free? I'll take two!
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DavidHOzAu ( 925585 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:02AM (#14759506)
    From the FAQ [studentsfo...etibet.org]:
    Q: What about Yahoo! and Microsoft etc., they're already doing this?

    A:We deplore Yahoo and Microsoft's actions as well but as the industry leader, Google's impact is enormous. Google's decision to create its product to the Chinese authorities' specifications sets a very dangerous precedent of bringing the most advanced technology to the most closed and repressive government under the guise of effecting change. More importantly, the launch of Google.cn is a reversal of Google's policy of non-cooperation with China's internet censorship program.

    If this isn't a sign of bias, I don't know what is. I've also noticed that when you search for Microsoft, [studentsfo...etibet.org] 8 out of 11 times they are comparing Microsoft to Google, and Microsoft's equally abysmal record is always glossed over and not gone into detail like they do with Google. This smells like media manipulation to me. Yahoo and Microsoft must be both loving this.
    • If this isn't a sign of bias, I don't know what is.

      Just making sure I understand the argument:

      Google is better than Yahoo/Microsoft
      Google censors, just like Yahoo/Microsoft
      Google is still better than Yahoo/Microsoft because people are singling Google out

      Everyone knows how Yahoo/Microsoft do business. Google wouldn't be getting slammed unless they were so insistent they were above it all.

      Google doesn't want to censor? Easy solution. Don't. They say that they must, because it will cost them mar

  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:04AM (#14759519) Journal
    A lot of people talk about how google brings net services in, and that eventually that will do a lot more good than staying away would. That's not a dumb argument, or one that can be dismissed out of hand.

    But I think that when people from outside of the country take a stand, and tell the truth about what's right and what's not, it makes a difference. There are people in China who are fighting, and when companies or foreign governments stand by what's right, those people know that they're not alone, and that they're not crazy, and what they're fighting for is real.

    I take some comfort when the UN critizes US behavior in Guantanamo for that reason. I know the UN isn't going to be able to bring about a change in policy, but it's nice to know there's a world beyond talk radio and cable news coverage.

    In google's defense, it is a lot of money. And I guess if they can believe their giant jetliner is good for the world, because they can fly people other rich people to africa to see what poverty is really like, then they can believe that what they're doing in china is good for the world too. I guess when you're that successful, everything you do is good for the world.

    • By simply hiring Chinese workers. Google can help Africa by hiring African workers. Just creating jobs helps people, and if Google pays workers high paying salaries, that alone is good. This takes time however, Google cannot be expected to change the world overnight.
  • Why Google? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abes ( 82351 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:07AM (#14759535) Homepage
    Last I checked google wasn't the only one responsible, why are people singling it out? I'm not trying to defend google's actions, but it is also a much more complex issue than people are making it out to be. I thought there was a pretty good summary on google's blog [blogspot.com].
    • China is censoring its citizens already. Google feels that they can at least provide more information than other companies can. Instead of simply deleting references, they make mention that certain items have been deleted at the bottom of the page.
    • China is not the only place that censorship is occuring. Here in the US, for example, links to Scientology have been edited out. Likewise, google makes mention of this.
    • They are not providing other services that they feel they have no right to censor like email or blogging on Chinese soil.
    • So, while perhaps to be more realistic they should claim to do 'less evil', they (unlike the other 3 search engines that appeared in front of Congress) very conciencious of their decisions and ramification, and have done so lightly.

    We really should be protesting censorship world wide. And not just in China.

    • China is not the only place that censorship is occuring. Here in the US, for example, links to Scientology have been edited out. Likewise, google makes mention of this.

      IIRC link was removed from Slashdot comment.

      Isn't it ironic? We are discussing censorship on Slashdot, we blame Google for being evil, but we forget that this website is being cenzored, without China, North Korea or Iran!

      I know at least two ways to trigger cenzorship on public forums:
      - put Muhammad picture
      - talk about Scientology
      of course the
  • Boycott? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zadaz ( 950521 )
    Fortunately for everyone, boycotting is just as effective as censorship.
  • and her famous "just say no" to drugs catchphrase from the 1980s?

    she was ridiculed for that, and rightly so, as "just say no" to drugs is a blatant simpleton's oversimplification of a complex problem

    well guess what? "don't be evil" is the same sort of hilarious oversimplification, and i'm kind of surprised at the slashdot crowd for not rolling in the aisles laughing at google for this phrase

    i'm really just waiting for the residual effects of being smitten with google in the early 2000s to wear off on the slashdot crowd, when google was a hugely popular upstart, and rightly so... back then

    i'm waiting for the slashdot crowd to finally wake up to the fact that, whatever google was, it is now just another huge multinational, as much to be reviled or loved as oracle or microsoft

    i sorely missing the usual amount of healthy criticism i get from the slashdot crowd when it comes to the subject of google. everyone here handles them with kid gloves, and i don't think it is appropriate anymore

    slashdot crowd: wake up, google is not your cute litle revolutionary upstart search engine from the early 2000s. it is an entirely different beast now, and you need to update your state of rapture with them, and start looking at them a lot more critically
  • I have the feeling that Google might respond to these folks, givne their moral suasion.

    If they really wanted to get attention though, they'd hit Google in the pocketbook. That would wake them up faster.
  • by Errandboy of Doom ( 917941 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:56AM (#14759681) Homepage
    Why is Google the bad guy again? As I understand it:

    1) Google's results are being censored by the government, typically by simply not allowing their traffic through, making it appear to be a technical malfunction.

    2) There's no way for Google to avoid the censorship.

    3) Google comes up with a way to disclose the censorship.

    4) Alternatively, Google could walk, leaving Chinese search engines to filter results without any disclosure.

    So if Google made the wrong decision, which one was better? Walking and leaving the Chinese with no awareness of the situation? Ignoring the situation and sticking with the status quo? Filtering results without disclosure? How would these steps help Tibet?

    This is like boycotting Zhang Yimou's films [imdb.com] because they attack the Chinese government through metaphor, rather than railing against it overtly and getting him imprisoned or killed.

    The Chinese government is the problem, attacking Google is a huge waste of resources; how about a letter writing campaign to Beijing?
  • by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:59AM (#14759690)
    ...that Google is using subterfuge? Doesn't anyone remember what happened when Google got hit with a DMCA by the Church of Scientology? Remember the outcry over Google removing certain search results? Do you also remember the ultimate solution? Google posted a copy of the actual DMCA request...which happened to contain the exact offending URLs...oh and just because of the way parser works, those URLs were hotlinks. Add to that the press involved and I think that the reality is at the end of the day, more people read that content than had ever thought to google it before.

    Who here doesn't understand that this kind of behavior is way to both "be legal" and "don't be evil"? That a company that has a history of doing these kinds of end-runs around crummy laws is just as likely to do it in the future? Consider this:

    Google.cn censors certain pages based on, most likely, a know list of offending sites and perhaps certain keywords. What happens on Google.cn if someone googles for freed0m? or fr33dom? or c1v1l rights or anything else? You can bet that until that variation pops up on the government radar, there will be a lot of traffic on those pages from Chinese users. It's not beyond the realm of possibility for Google's engine to even play some kind of silent "did you mean freedom?" game and show the best results regardless of misspelling.

    One thing is for sure, I wouldn't put it past them. What incentive do Chinese search engines like Baidu have to do the right thing? First of all, to their culture, it's not even the right thing. It's quite possible that the management of Chinese search engines look upon it as their patriotic duty to censor, and zealously go beyond what is even required. Google is an American company...with a new Chinese arm. But the heart and the technology are still American and it is unlikely that Google could ever be as close to the government as other homegrown engines. Quite frankly, I'm shocked the Chinese government would even allow Google in to China. What do they have to gain? It's not like Google is bringing millions of manufacturing dollars. At best, a couple floors of technicians?

    You can't stop information, and you can be pretty sure that Google knows that. That's why they are in the business of providing information. Sooner or later, the bar and the slippery slope will begin and either the Chinese government will realize they've been hoodwinked and kick Google out...or move to an entirely whitelist-based Internet...or people will master the tricks and the knowledge will spread as quickly as the latest viral video.

    -JoeShmoe
    .
    • More than that - though google.cn is censored, my tests using a chinese proxy from xroxy.com and Firefox shows that google.com redirects to a Chinese internationalised page which is *not* censored. For example, here's Tiananmen Square [google.com], with full Chinese internationalisations. It also seems to get through fine. Can anyone give me an explaination as to how the Great Firewall of China misses this? Or, alternatively, what have I done or not done which didn't properly trigger the firewall?
      • I don't know anything about Chinese proxies but the only reason I can think of to use a proxy would be to get around the firewall and avoid any kind of censoring systems. Are you sure you aren't doing just that? I don't know what happens when someone in China types Tiananmen into their browser since I'm not Chinese nor in China. I know know if typing in English as opposed to the localized language makes any difference. Not even English...aren't there a couple ways of phonetically typing out chinese word
  • I mean, go to http://www.google.com/intl/zh-CN/ [google.com], search for "tiananmen square". You will get pictures of tanks and all the censored stuff.

    www.Google.cn exists in addition to this. Is it realyl censorship if they provide more information?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I know this is hard to understand, since it takes a little more thought than the usual knee-jerk "censorship is bad, mmkay?" response, but try to stay with me...

    Google's presence or absence in China does not affect the level of censorship present on the Chinese internet.

    When a user in China does a search on google.com (now or in the past) and the search returns results which the Chinese government feels must be censored, the Chinese "great firewall" simply resets the connection and blocks the user from acce
  • google in China (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nkeric ( 953623 )

    You want the market, you censorship the contents;

    You want the money, you do some evil;

    You want to play the game, you obey the rules...

    Well, it's good to provide something rather than nothing....

  • by AC-x ( 735297 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @05:33AM (#14759912)
    All these complaints against Google (especially from the US government) seem rather hypocritical, given that Google has already been censored with the DMCA [google.com].

    Ok, the censored sites are viewable by reading the takedown notice, but why is it perfectly ok for Google to be censored by US laws and not Chinese laws? Chinese laws may be much worse at the moment but the principal is still the same.
  • Google's "censorship" is only for the correct spellings of the banned words. Just like the DMCA filtering. Google links to a site that has the links they can't show you.

    Would you rather have google there, offering their search but blocking a small amount of stuff, or no Google and no access to anything?

    There should be no evil, but when there is, take the lesser of two.
  • So I could just flag the whole debate as "overrated".
  • Can anybody tell me something...?

    You can access Google.com free and uncensored from china; in fact there is even a link to it from Google.cn!!! Why is this even an issue???

    If you can tell me, thanks.
  • by toogreen ( 632329 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @08:51AM (#14760558)
    Being myself in China (Canadian working in Shanghai) I know a bit more on the story. At first I must say that I was really shocked with the news of Google following the footsteps of Yahoo and Microsoft with censoring their search results. So I went deeper and did some tests. Here is what I found out:

    First of all, and many of you know this already, the only censored search is google.CN and NOT google.COM. Yes, If I do a search with google.CN the results will be filtered, but nobody stops me from using google.COM which is still not censored at all, even for people using it in China. I thought they might use some IP detection of some sort and filter people that are located in China, but no, they don't. So Chinese people can still use the normal english Google if they are not happy.

    Secondly, and most important: My Chinese girlfriend showed me that when you search for something that should be filtered ("tiananmen", for example), it displays a very clear message in Chinese, repeated several times in the page, saying something like "Some results have been removed due to local laws". Now how does that make Google better? Well, think about it: they could have done just like Microsoft and Yahoo and simply hide the controversial entries. Nobody would even know they did as it is completely invisible. But their approach is interesting when you think about it. It means that Chinese people (who so far pretty much ignored that they are being lied to on a daily basis) will now notice that A LOT of what they search online is being censored! That will completely change their view of the government and break the general ignorance in the population right now. Who knows, maybe Chinese people will start to protest and perhaps things will eventually change? All I'm saying is that if you look at it that way it has indeed a positive effect. That's what everybody seems to completely fail to understand right now when they criticize Google. I think they (Google) know damn well what they are doing, they just hoped that us clever people would get it but it seems like most of us obviously don't!!

    So anyway, look at it that way: Microsoft tells Chinese people what to write in their blogs (when my gf writes on her MSN spaces, she gets a message saying that she uses "inappropriate language" if she tries to write "freedom" or "democracy"), Yahoo sends people to jail for writing their opinion in an e-mail, and... Google INFORMS Chinese people that they are being lied to... So, who's really the big evil one here??

    Just my 2 cents...

    David
  • by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @09:00AM (#14760593) Homepage Journal
    The great firewall of China is not news. Everyone has known about it. Everyone knows that Cisco pretty much built it. How is it that Cisco didn't get this kind of protesting? Lots of American IT vendors have been involved with Chinese censorship from the beginning. Billions have already changed hands.

    What's special about Google?

    Can it be that this darling business up and comer is just a little too new to the world of big business, and doesn't have the contacts and the lobbyists to protect these sorts of activities yet? Can it be that other more established members of big business are working furiously to hand Google their balls over this thing by engineering a PR disaster?

    I've always thought it was a bad thing for American companies to be involved in something like Chinese censorship. I am glad to see this being questioned now. I'm just wondering why suddenly now? Google did not do something new in China. The trail had already been blazed by Cisco and Microsoft and other big dogs.

    We all know that there has been a full bore astroturf campaign to get people to distrust Google, particularly here on Slashdot. We know that Microsoft in particular is interested in manipulating the Slashdot community through astroturfing. I admit, a patent lawsuit from some tiny holding company would be more their MO these days, but could all of this be coming from Redmond?
  • by antibryce ( 124264 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @01:21PM (#14762357)

    This page at Google Video [google.com] seems to suggest it is.

    Currently people in New Zealand and Singapore can view the video just fine.

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