Google Aids China's Censorship of Information
Google has remained outside this system until now. But its search results are still filtered and delayed by the giant banks of government servers, known as the great firewall of China. Type "Falun Gong" in the search engine from a Beijing computer and the only results that can be accessed are official condemnations.
Now, however, Google will actively assist the government to limit content. There are technical precedents. In Germany, Google follows government orders by restricting references to sites that deny the Holocaust. In France, it obeys local rules prohibiting sites that stir up racial hatred. And in the US, it assists the authorities' crackdown on copyright infringements.
The scale of censorship in China is likely to dwarf anything the company has done before. According to one internet media insider, the main taboos are the three Ts: Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen massacre, and the two Cs: cults such as Falun Gong and criticism of the Communist party. But this list is frequently updated.
Google's action is already coming under massive criticism around the world. It is cowardly and disgraceful for a company the prides itself on allegedly advancing the spread of information and democracy through the internet is now the tool of a brutal regime in the systematic repression of freedom and thought. Shame on Google. They deserve whatever comes next.###
It hasn't taken long for Google's new policy of blocking people's access to information to take effect. Via Drudge:
Within minutes of the launch of the new site bearing China's Web suffix ".cn," searches for the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement showed scores of sites omitted and users directed to articles condemning the group posted on Chinese government Web sites.Communist Google: Helping Totalitarian Governments Repress Information Since 2006.
Searches for other sensitive subjects such as exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, Taiwan independence, and terms such as "democracy" and "human rights" yielded similar results.
Great commentary by John Murrell of Good Morning Silicon Valley:
Apparently you can scratch "censorship in pursuit of profit" off your list of Things That Are Evil.Absolutely right John. While Google earned my respect this week by opposing the Bush administration's request for information about its users, they can't expect the net to afford them respect when they act like puppets to a totalitarian regime. Censorship and the repression of information is antithetical to the egalitarian spread of ideas on the internet.
I have a ton of respect for all that the Google folks have done and aspire to do, and they can dress the decision up in whatever way makes them comfortable, but this is just wrong to the bone, a capitulation that is anti-everything the Net and the communications revolution is supposed to represent. Google made a nice deposit in its credibility account with its refusal to join the U.S. government on a fishing trip... But a few more moves like this China kowtow and that account will be drained dry.