25 Jan 2006

Google launches censored version of its search-engine

Time to leave blogger? What do you think?

Reporters Without Borders today accused the Internet’s biggest search-engine, Google, of “hypocrisy” for its plan to launch a censured version of its product in China, meaning that the country’s Internet users would only be able to look up material approved of by the government and nothing about Tibet or democracy and human rights in China.

“The launch of Google.cn is a black day for freedom of expression in China,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “The firm defends the rights of US Internet users before the US government but fails to defend its Chinese users against theirs.

“Google’s statements about respecting online privacy are the height of hypocrisy in view of its strategy in China. Like its competitors, the company says it has no choice and must obey Chinese laws, but this is a tired argument. Freedom of expression isn’t a minor principle that can be pushed aside when dealing with a dictatorship. It’s a principle recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and features in the Chinese national constitution itself.

“US firms are now bending to the same censorship rules as their Chinese competitors but they continue to justify themselves by saying their presence has a long-term benefit. Yet the Internet in China is becoming more and more isolated from the outside world and freedom of expression there is shrinking. These firms’ lofty predictions about the future of a free and limitless Internet conveniently hide their unacceptable moral errors,”

The California-based Google announced on the 25th of January it would soon launch a China-based Google.cn to improve and speed up its service for Chinese customers. It admitted it would be censored in line with Chinese law but said that while such filtering was against its principles, it was much better that not providing any service at all.

Up to now, Google has only censored its news site, Google News, by removing material from sources banned by the Chinese authorities. It has not censored its standard US-based search-engine, accessible at www.google.com/intl/zh-CN, and is the last of the world’s major search-engines not to have done so inside China. Yahoo ! has been working with Chinese censors for more than three years.

By offering a version without “subversive” content, Google is making it easier for Chinese officials to filter the Internet themselves. A website not listed by search-engines has little chance of being found by users. The new Google version means that even if a human rights publication is not blocked by local firewalls, it has no chance of being read in China.

Reporters Without Borders wrote to Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in May last year asking if they were going to censor their tool for the Chinese market and expressing concern at some recent Google decisions.

In July 2004, the firm took a share in the Chinese firm Baidu, which operates a highly-censored search-engine. Soon afterwards, Google was allowed to open an office in China under a conditional agreement with the authorities.

Reporters Without Borders published six recommendations on 6 January for ensuring that Internet firms respect freedom of expression when working in repressive countries.


rench00 said...

i wonder whether schools get LL to send people in to deliver sex ed classes which, ostensibly, students have to sit through. and i also wonder whether during these pseudo-lessons, do the LL people start talking about God, quote from the Bible, etc.

if they do, then i suggest that everyon in LL be charged with sedition.

pleinelune said...

I'll bet my bottom dollar that they will. That's what their entire orgnanisation is based on in the first place.

mister k said...

Google is an IT company, not a champion of human rights. Would it be better to deprive the entire nation of Google then?

soci said...

mister k have a look at this site for a more detailed questioning of the move made by google...


soci said...

Joint investor statement on freedom of expression and the Internet

As investors and research analysts, we recognize that our investment decisions have an impact on human rights around the world. We are therefore committed to using the tools at our disposal to uphold human rights world wide as outlined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), including freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly and association, and security of persons.

The growth of the Internet offers considerable opportunities for global broad-based wealth creation. Companies involved in providing Internet services and technology are playing a leading role in building global communities and sharing knowledge. We believe that government action to censor, monitor, isolate and jail Internet users for exercising basic human rights outlined in the UDHR threatens the ultimate realization of these benefits. We believe these actions also present significant barriers to growth for Internet sector businesses, which depend on a broadly connected, free Internet.

To help advance freedom of expression, the undersigned :

Reaffirm that freedom of expression is a universal human right that companies have an obligation to respect throughout their worldwide operations, and, in particular, in countries with a history of serious and widespread human rights violations ;
Reaffirm that Internet sector businesses have a particular responsibility in this domain for a number of reasons, including the following :
Their long-term success depends on a broadly connected Internet that is free of censorship ; and
Millions of people depend on their products and services for reliable access to news and information ;
Recognize that, according to numerous and credible sources, a number of countries throughout the world do not tolerate public dissent and monitor and control citizens’ access to the Internet as a means of suppressing freedom of expression ;
Recognize that some businesses help authorities in repressive countries to censor and mount surveillance of the Internet, and others turn a blind eye to the use made of their equipment ;
State that respect for freedom of expression is a factor we consider in assessing a com pany’s social performance ;
Announce that we will monitor the operations of Internet businesses in repressive regime countries to evaluate their impact on access to news and information ;
Commit ourselves to supporting, at annual general meetings of publicly listed companies, shareholder resolutions that we believe are favorable to freedom of expression or otherwise promote the principles of this declaration ;
Call on Internet businesses to adopt and make public ethical codes stressing their commitment to freedom of expression and defining their obligations to uphold these freedoms, and
Call on Internet businesses to make information public that will allow investors to assess how each firm is acting to ensure that its products and services are not being used to commit human rights violations (including, products and services that enable Internet censorship, surveillance and identification of dissidents).


pleinelune said...

No, you don't deprive an entire nation of Google. But why are we focusing on what Google is doing or not doing, when the real culprit is the Chinese Government?

Anonymous said...

If the Chinese govt is an upright people with integrity, there's nothing for them to hide from their citizens. So, this obviously shows.........

ted said...

Hey before google there is always Yahoo, oh forgot, yahoo already sold out to the pesudo-commies in China. Well, There's always alta vista.

P.S: you don't always need to have a blog account to write something to let the world to read.