Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Businesses The Internet Censorship

Google Agrees to Censor Results in China 862

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the caving-under-pressure dept.
neutralino writes "The Associated Press is reporting that Google has agreed to censor results in China. According to the article, '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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Agrees to Censor Results in China

Comments Filter:
  • Worthwhile?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NETHED (258016) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:24AM (#14554768) Homepage
    Didn't google used to stand for free information for all? Now its, free information for all, but if someone asks, we change the information. If I ask google about 'revolutions in China' I bet I get some answers that would be filtered in China. What ever happened to the 'WHOLE' Truth? I understand this company must abide by local laws, but why not just disable service to someone who does not wish to follow YOUR "don't be evil" strategy? How much money does Google really make in China? Is it worth selling out?
  • by sulli (195030) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:24AM (#14554770) Journal
    China needs Google more than the other way around. Google should tell the Communists to jump off a pier, and let them block Google. They should absolutely not do anything to help the Chinese authorities do what they do best, which is persecute religious minorities and throw people in jail for perfectly capricious reasons.

    I have no problem with selling China cars or airplanes or other stuff like that. But to actively collaborate with the regime in stifling dissent is just too much. After this, I don't think anyone should have any faith at all in their claim that they will stick up to the US Government's fishing expedition.

    Google is dead. Someone new will take their place. Someone who doesn't kowtow to dictators.

  • Re:Bold Statement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:27AM (#14554783)
    They didn't have to go into China, no one is pointing a gun at Google's head, nor will they go away for not going into China. Instead, Google "don't be evil" the Company is aiding and abetting the censorship of 1.3 billion people. Huzzah Google!
  • Greed is Good(TM) (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:30AM (#14554799)
    I have always believed in the motto:

    Greed is Good(TM)

    It is gratifying to know that even Google cannot overcome its inherent Greed and has finally succumbed to the profit motive.

    Greed is the lifeblood of human societies. It drives humanity to realize its unlimited potential and it is probably the best of all virtues found in humanity.

    Greed is responsible for the progress that Americans have made since independence. Without Greed, Americans could not have used slavery, manifest destiny, atomic bombs, financial markets, railroads, and other means to achieve its rightful place in the world.

    What is good for Greed is good for America. What is good for Google is good for America.

    Greed is Good(TM)
  • Re:Bold Statement (Score:-1, Interesting)

    by user317 (656027) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:32AM (#14554817)
    Did ig farben have a choice of selling Zyklon-B to the Nazis? Of course if they didn't somebody else would. But some things are far more important then money, especially when the chineese communist party has commited far worse attrocites against its own people then the national socialist party did in germany.


    Its just disguisting to see this happend, especially when a leading edge US tech companies that do it. What happend to "Give me liberty or give me death?" What about all those ideals, and all those people that died fighting opression to give Google a chance to become what it is today. These companies should be fighting a technological war against china, suberting their firewall, enabling their citizens with the information to fight the opressors, not the other way arround.
     

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:34AM (#14554842)
    What's really sad here is that Google is in a unique position to set a precedent for other companies to follow, big or small. If Google decided not to operate in China because it found the ramifications unethical, imagine the heat that other companies (Microsoft, Yahoo, etc) would take? They would be pushed by PR at the very least to match what Google is doing (or in this case, not doing). If Microsoft and others decided to aid the repressive regime at that point, they would be seen as *seriously* unethical and "evil". Unfortunately it looks like Google did not value ethics enough to set such a precent in motion. Based on its size, it could have had quite a positive effect on the side of freedom.
  • by Kickboy12 (913888) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:39AM (#14554883) Homepage
    By defintion Communism is as Marx described it (technically true communism is anarchy). Political Leaders who use it simply use it as political leaverage. Nothing more.
  • Re:Bold Statement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:44AM (#14554915)
    What people need to realize is that Google doesn't really have a choice in the matter.

    They could continue as they have, using US-based servers outside of China's control. Then they might be blocked from China. They don't want that, but they DO have a choice. The choice is between money and being moral. Like most businesses, they chose money. It's sad that being moral isn't even considered a possibility. Murdoch dumped BBC news from his TV broadcasts in China for exactly the same reason. It's easy to talk about democratic values, empowerment etc.; wait till they have to put their money where their mouths were to see who's sincere.

  • Re:Bold Statement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:47AM (#14554931) Homepage Journal
    Poland Spring sells clean, clear bottled water. What if Chinese law said that bottled water manufacturers had to put a little lead in the water to dumb down the population, so they won't understand how badly they're being treated by the gov't. Should Poland Spring comply just because that's Chinese law?

    Well that's exactly what Google's doing. Google normally offers uncensored, clean information from which people can learn. But the Chinese government says that Google must poison the learning through censorship, in order to dumb down their citizens so they won't know how badly they're being treated by the gov't.

    I am ashamed of Google and any other American entity that encourages China's oppressive style of government.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:54AM (#14554968)
    For starters, China isn't a communist state.

    It's still "Communist" as in Communist Party controlled. How "communist" the "Communists" are is debateable.

  • by aussie_a (778472) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:09AM (#14555055) Journal
    I think the moral high ground isn't to get into bed with a facist country for the sake of money. But I can see why Google fans would want to spin that in a positive way. Yes, Google could have done worse. But they're still aiding and abetting the Chinese government.
  • by ScriptedReplay (908196) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:13AM (#14555080)
    As the article goes on to state, when an item is censored Google will tell you it has censored the searched item to comply with local laws. This sort of censorship where you know something is being kept from you is much less scary than the type where you simply don't know what is being kept from you.

    And how long until the Chinese government will require Google to remove the 'censored to comply with local laws' notification? it's not like that would be a difficult step to take once they see that Google would prefer to play by their rules rather than leave.

    Google just placed itself in the perfect position between the Chinese carrot and stick. Let's see how it plays out (unless that info will get censored too) At least, they have MS and Y! to keep them company.
  • by SuperQ (431) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:16AM (#14555096) Homepage
    Google is aiding everyone by trying to provide the information.. the problem is Google doesn't have guns.. The Government does.
  • Just enough rope... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tajarix (604495) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:39AM (#14555205)

    For all those out there believing that Google has made a pact with the devil (and possibly so), consider this:

    Mr. China (the government) walks up to a businessman named Mr. Google (the company). Mr. China askes Mr. Google for a high-quality piece of the world's best rope, just so long as no manuals are included featuring hangman's knots. Mr. Google gives a thoughtful look at this opportunity, weights the moral and economic consequences, then smiles knowingly and hands Mr. China the rope.

    It's only a matter of time before Mr. China's customers figure out how to tie their own hangman's knot around Mr. China's neck.

    Google is led by some of the most intelligent and thoughtful people around. They know exactly what they're doing with this business deal. Oh, I doubt there's any outright attempt to "hang" the Chianese goverment, but Google knows full well what just a little bit more freedom of information will do for people over there--if they make a profit doing it, well, so much the better. The fact remains that regarldess of being villified by some, Google knows that this will make a positive influence on the Chinese people. I applaud their efforts in this.
  • by helarno (34086) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:54AM (#14555266) Homepage
    For someone who is currently living in China and using it daily, I am very glad they made this particular decision. For those condemning Google for not sticking to "Don't Be Evil" or for selling out, consider this - which is the greater evil, to filter out some information (and let people know it _is_ being filtered), or to deny them access to information altogether?

    It is easy to talk about sticking to principles and refusing censorship from the comfort of a (relatively) uncensored computer. But have you ever considered what life would be like for those without Google? When _every_ single search engine out there, including Yahoo, MSN or others, are all filtered? All this means is that the most effective information resource out there is gone and we have to rely on substandard competitors that cave in far more easily to any pressure (e.g. DOJ request for info). Finding _any_ information becomes harder. What good has it done anyone?

    It is easy to paint every decision as black and white, good or evil. But life really isn't that simple. Google had to choose between bad and evil and they came up with a solution that was better than any of their competitors. At least they tell you that something is filtered out. At least a smart and curious person still can go out and find out what it was that was filtered. The alternatives (international or chinese) do not even do that.

    Among my workmates, information is well shared. Everyone knows what happened in the square. Heck, a couple of them were there. They knew about the benzene spill in Harbin long before it came out in news. Don't worry. Information of this sort gets around fairly well through various means. Censoring it from Google really won't hide anything. All blocking Google means is that when we hit obscure technical problems, we can no longer find solutions quickly. When we want to learn about the latest technology, we must scan through pages and pages of listings to find a decent resource. Oh yes, we'll also make Overture rich cause sooner or later, we will click through one of their sponsored links.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @03:09AM (#14555330)
    This is the same shit that allowed Switzerland to remain "neutral" during WW2 yet help the Nazis and kill jews...

    "can only choose to provide a censored search engine or not provide one at all"

    The moral would walk away, especially if your moto is do no evil. If evil is the only option, do you do it?

  • Re:Bold Statement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slashdotnickname (882178) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @03:13AM (#14555348)
    Giggle. Right on, brother. We only approve of America's oppressive style of government!

    Try saying something like that in China about the Chinese government... then let us know how much giggling you do when you're thrown in jail for upwards to a decade (as its commonly the case).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @03:19AM (#14555372)
    Compared to the size of the market in China, Google's financial guns amount to about a pea shooter.
  • Crystalizing example (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CousinLarry (640750) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @03:33AM (#14555425)
    search term: "falun gong"
    Using google.com [google.com]
    Using Google China [google.cn]
  • Re:Bold Statement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by carlislematthew (726846) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @03:52AM (#14555490)
    Google is simply trying to follow Chinese law

    If Google was operating in Kaplakastan, and it was legal there to chop off the hands of an employee that was 5 minutes late, would that be OK too?

    If American oil companies went over Nigeria to extract oil, feeding money to the government and corrupt officials, while taking land from the native people, would that be OK too? Just following local rules...

    We don't *have* to be OK with this. We can stand up and say "Google, this doesn't follow your company motto and this is not what we expect from you. I am selling your stock".

  • Re:Tiananmen+Square (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @03:54AM (#14555498)
    For those who can't read Chinese, there is a line of text at the bottom of the screen saying "In compliance with local laws and policies, some search results are not being shown."

    You don't tell you how many results have been removed or where those results would fit in the "normal" search results. Personally I think some message that appears for every deleted search result would be less evil than the very subtle, almost un-noticable, message that they have now.
  • Re:Tiananmen+Square (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @04:08AM (#14555541)
    altough the different results for that query between google.com [google.com] and google.cn [google.cn] are pretty scary, it's always nice to see that they can't filter everything [google.cn].
  • Compare (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @04:31AM (#14555617)
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Tiananmen+Squ are+&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

    http://www.google.cn/search?hl=zh-CN&q=tiananmen+S quare++&btnG=%E6%90%9C%E7%B4%A2&meta= [google.cn]

    The bulk of the English results refer to the massacre. Not oe of google.cn's hits refers to this. Nor is there a reference to the vast omission.

    And they say this is not censorship.
  • Re:Tiananmen+Square (Score:5, Interesting)

    by petsounds (593538) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @04:36AM (#14555631)
    True, there is some censorship going on, however it doesn't seem that either Google's software or the Great Firewall is completely effective. Googling for "tiananmen square massacre" results in a lot of hits, whereas you would think it would return nothing:
    http://www.google.cn/search?q=tiananmen+Square++ma ssacre&btnG=%E6%90%9C%E7%B4%A2&hl=zh-CN [google.cn]
  • by Conanymous Award (597667) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @05:09AM (#14555724)
    Actually, it's the People's Republic of China that is not complying with their own laws. Their constitution talks about freedom of speech and that people are allowed to criticize the government.

    Yeah, ideals often conflict with reality.
  • It is the Chinese people's job.

    They already tried. [wikipedia.org]

    Personally, I feel pessimistic enough right now to say that China will never become a democracy, no matter what anyone does. New technology has the capacity to enable both mass industrialisation and mass oppression. The Chinese communist party is showing other governments the new way to roll back liberties across the globe.

    I'd really like to be wrong, but so far, nothing has given me enough hope to be optimistic. It's been almost 17 years since Tiananmen and not a lot has really changed. Except that people have more money, and the government has new technologies at its disposal to keep people in check.
  • Compare / Contrast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @05:40AM (#14555820) Homepage Journal
    "Don't be evil" -- Google

    "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke, English statesman and political philosopher (1729-1797
  • Re:Worthwhile?! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @07:25AM (#14556151)
    You forget to add the following :

    Judaisme
          The Protocols of Zion
          Did Six Million Really Die?
          Jewish medias

    Nazism
          The testament of Adolf Hitler
          Mein Kampf

    It is time for Muslim and Christian to stop fighting each other and see the REAL enemy here! (...) Homosexual Jew
    Yeah, it's really EVIL to censor such a site.
  • by readin (838620) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:42AM (#14557961)
    Does a publicly traded company only have financial duties to shareholders, or should it be trying to help those shareholders in other ways? For example, would a shareholder rather live in a world where he has an extra $500, or a world where his kids won't have to fight a war with a brainwashed Chinese population? As a shareholder, I expect my companies to behave in a manner that will make my life better in more than just financial ways.
  • Re:Bold Statement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dread_ed (260158) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:25PM (#14559327) Homepage
    "If you don't, vote or leave"

    "But don't, for a moment, think that any country allows the ultimate ideal in freedoms"

    "Millions upon millions of people on this planet prefer the style of freedoms and restrictions granted by their government over Americas"


    Many people do leave their countries. They overwhelmingly come to the US. They even come from countries that take pride in their ability to snub the US form of government and the people who live here. In addition they find many of their countrymen already here and doing quite well. The irony is almost unbearable for some.

    The reason that they come here is the fact that we provide the best mix of economic, political, social, and religious freedom. Sure there are countries that have great freedom, however many of them have social or economic costs that are unbearable. Many nations that compare themselves with the US ignore the fact that they have a nearly homogenous culture and racial background, while the US has the most heterogenous mix in any country on the Earth. This makes for a soft landing when emigrating from another country, as you will most likely have a whole community of your birth-nation peers for support.

    Yes millions and millions of people prefer their particular brand of opression, however about 1 million people recieve permanent resident staus in the US annually, and another 500K are estimated to arrive illegally. There is your other millions and millions, the ones that prefer the US form of opression over theuir own. And these are just the ones that can get away or that can afford to move. Add this to the concept that "all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed" and you might see that the US would be even more heavily populated by emigrants were it not for this human propensity.

    It is not that every country sucks but America, just that if you are going to leave the country of your birth, there is no place quite like America where you can go and find the same mix of personal freedom, ease of integration, social support, economic advancement, religious liberty, and political influence and stability.

Repel them. Repel them. Induce them to relinquish the spheroid. - Indiana University fans' chant for their perennially bad football team

Working...