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Google: Principled Defenders of Privacy or Communist Enabling Stooges? January 24, 2006, 10:18 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Industry, Outrage, Technology.
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You may remember a story from last week regarding the Bush administration’s attempts to get porno querying habits from search engine companies like Yahoo, MSN and Google. (Full disclosure: don’t waste time trying to track me down; Quinto uses the search string “thai+asian+slut” regularly and often. What’s the matter? So I like the Asian girls, sue me.) Yahoo and MSN complied and Google told the feds to get bent:

Google on Thursday rebuffed the Bush administration’s attempt in federal court to force it to hand over search-engine data on millions of customers. The Justice Department asked a federal judge in San Jose on Wednesday for an order to turn over the records as part of the adminstration’s efforts to revive a controversial online pornography law. The issue is expected to be resolved by March. Google has already refused to comply with a subpoena, issued in August, to turn over a mountain of material, including all requests entered into Google’s search engine from any one-week period and 1 million randomly selected websites from Google databases. Rival search engines Yahoo and Microsoft’s MSN have cooperated with the government. But Google, the world’s largest search engine, opposes releasing the information because it says that doing so would reveal trade secrets and that the information requested is not relevant to the government’s case.

BTW, this is one of those issues that drives me batty with the Republican party. Can’t we leave this BS nanny state stuff to the Democrats? Oh no, there’s porn to be found on the Internet! So what! Let parents do their jobs and stay out of people’s lives with this stuff.

Any way, back to the story at hand. Google did the right thing with the subpoena they received. This is big government social conservatism at its worst and it’s none of their damn business. There’s no national security angle at play here with this information request, and I don’t know if Google looks even better because of how Yahoo and MSN just caved on the first sign of being served with legal docs, but regardless, major props to Google. They made a principled stand and are sticking with it.

That praise I heaped on Google was good for about 5 days apparently because a new story has come out that exposes how Google, in exchange for greater access to the Chinese market, has agreed to “adhere” to the Chinese government’s “speech restriction codes.” That’s a nice way of saying that Google is going to dance for Uncle Mao because the money was just too good:

Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country’s free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet’s fastest growing market. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company planned to roll out a new version of its search engine bearing China’s Web suffix “.cn,” on Wednesday. A Chinese-language version of Google’s search engine has previously been available through the company’s dot-com address in the United States. By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world’s most populous country. Because of government barriers set up to suppress information, Google’s China users previously have been blocked from using the search engine or encountered lengthy delays in response time.

To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country’s government finds objectionable. Google will base its censorship decisions on guidance provided by Chinese government officials. Although China has loosened some of its controls in recent years, some topics, such as Taiwan’s independence and 1989’s Tiananmen Square massacre, remain forbidden subjects. Google officials characterized the censorship concessions in China as an excruciating decision for a company that adopted “don’t be evil” as a motto. But management believes it’s a worthwhile sacrifice.

Nice. Well, at least we know that SELLING OUT TO A COMMUNIST DICTATORSHIP wasn’t done lightly; it was an “excruciating decision!!” So guys, which part of the “don’t be evil” philosophy should be interpreted to mean that you shouldn’t be helping a repressive government suppress the free speech and liberty of its citizenry? I know! I think it’s the “DON’T BE EVIL” part!!!!

The worst part, however, is the line of management believing that it’s a worthwhile sacrifice. Whose sacrifice are we really talking about here? Google has to deal with being a hypocritical co-conspirator of a totalitarian government and watch its stock price go up as it realizes hefty profits from the new and exploding Chinese market. I’m sorry if I am indifferent to their stock value, but how does that compare with the sacrifice of Chinese patriots, trying to throw the yoke of the communist government off the necks of the people? Which part of Google’s “sacrifice” compares to the crack down on spiritual groups trying to worship together peacefully? Which part of Google’s sacrifice compares to the Chinese government covering up the massacre at Tiananmen Square?

The fact that they adopted such language only serves to make this story more grotesque. Google, you are pathetic and you sicken me.

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Comments»

1. Iowa Voice - January 25, 2006, 7:55 am

Google Question

Anyone else find it more than odd that Google will bend over backwards to help out a communist government stifle free speech, yet not cooperate in a little experiment here in the United States?

I do.

Others commenting:

Michelle Malkin
Six24 Blog

2. Real Reason - January 26, 2006, 11:55 am

Privacy Concerns ~ “Trade Secrets Revealed,” …this is non-sense; under that train of thought, then all of us should know the secrets of Microsoft & Yahoo’s research teams since they (and many other companies) comply with such request all the time. Maybe what Google really does not want to reveal is how much money they make in advertising click-throughs from the pornography industry. Since reports show over 60% of all internet searches are porn-related, one would only have to assume this is where Google gets most of its revenue.

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