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Google Redirects Traffic To Avoid Kazakh Demands 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-how-you-talk-to-the-google dept.
pbahra writes "Google has rejected attempts by the Kazakh government 'to create borders on the web' and has refused a demand to house servers in the country after an official decree that all Internet domains ending with the domain suffix for Kazakhstan be domestically based. Bill Coughran, Google senior vice president said in his blog that from now on, Google will redirect users that visit google.kz to google.com in Kazakh: 'We find ourselves in a difficult situation: creating borders on the web raises important questions for us not only about network efficiency but also about user privacy and free expression. If we were to operate google.kz only via servers located inside Kazakhstan, we would be helping to create a fractured Internet.' Mr. Coughran said that unfortunately, it would mean that Kazakh users would have a poorer experience as results would no longer be customized for the former Soviet republic."
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Google Redirects Traffic To Avoid Kazakh Demands

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by igreaterthanu (1942456) * on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @07:05PM (#36381506)

    unfortunately, it would mean that Kazakh users would have a poorer experience as results would no longer be customized for the former Soviet republic

    What is wrong with simply using something along the lines of http://www.google.com/kz/ [google.com] to customize results?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or http://www.google.borat/

      • by cshark (673578)

        Funny thing about the situation is that this is exactly the kind of stupidity that might just happen in a Borat movie.

    • by dreampod (1093343)

      Because it wouldn't let them punish Kazakhian internet users for their governments foolish behaviour. As a result it wouldn't allow Google to implicitly threaten any other country (due to lack of economic clout and small internet using population) where a law like this might actually have a non-negligable effect with unhappy constituents as a means of preventing them from excercising their sovereign rights and obliging Google to abide the laws outside the US.

    • Yeah, I could have almost swallowed everything else that Google has said on the subject, but this is just grandstanding. Wikipedia manages to localise its website for tens, if not hundreds, of world languages under a single .org domain (with subdomains), so it's utterly ridiculous to think that Google couldn't do the same.

      I agree in principle that a national domain registrar should be able to restrict their domain names to people and organisations with a connection to the country. Simply having a localisa

    • by xded (1046894)

      Already possible, even tho the country code appears to be kk.

      http://www.google.com/search?hl=kk&q=russia [google.com]

      You will get a similar search also when you're redirected from .kz to .com and it's not just a translated interface, the results do look country customized.

      I think the poorer experience is referred to loger round trip times, impacting especially features like InstantSearch.

  • In former soviet Kazakhstan, Google configures YOU!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    No longer make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Now it take longer to find picture of my sister with boobies!

    • Mr. Coughran said that unfortunately [the demand for local servers] would mean that Kazakh users would have a poorer experience as Google has no servers capable of operating on horse urine.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @07:16PM (#36381620)

    'We find ourselves in a difficult situation: "..." "If we were to operate google.kz only via servers located inside Kazakhstan, we would be helping to create a fractured Internet.' "...".

    The more plausible reason follows, thus: -

    "We find ourselves in a difficult situation: If we were to operate google.kz only via servers located inside Kazakhstan, we will be backing ourselves into a corner where we could find ourselves subject to the whims of governments good and bad. Not a good move under any measure at all. We could enable governments confiscate our equipment and be subject to more blackmail.

    Further, our yielding to such [outrageous] demands could mark the beginning of a torrent of similar requests from governments around the globe, disrupting our current efficient setup, which we modify/tweak without asking for any government approval.

    All in all, Google will not succumb to any action and will oppose any efforts from within or without that seek to undermine the value of our shareholders.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      In quoting, you cut out the part about questions of efficiency, then replaced it with more verbose questions about efficiency. Good job.

  • by tomer (313505) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @07:27PM (#36381740) Homepage Journal
    If they won't fill the government demand to host google.kz inside Kazakhstan, will they lose the their google.kz domain? Because it might worth few bucks to typically host the site in a server farm located in Kazakhstan and than redirect everyone to the international site. This way, they won't lose their domain and will fill the government demands.
    • by arisvega (1414195)

      .. will fill the government demands.

      Excuse me, have you seen this [wikipedia.org] guy? And this was one of his neighbors. [wikipedia.org]

      First one still puts his face on stamps- do you seriously think there will ever be any reasonable way to "fill the government demands?

  • I'm confused here. Isn't changing where www.google.kz points to (i.e. redirecting it back to www.google.com) the same as operating on www.google.kz? The domain is still active, and doesn't that mean to abide by their law they would need to have a server operating domestically?
    • by Lifyre (960576)

      Having a server doing redirects and nothing else would still accomplish the same ends. Google doesn't want to put servers with content there. A redirection server would technically be operating www.google.kz within their borders AND it would avoid the unreasonable demands.

      Although I'm not sure changing the DNS entry really qualifies as operating but governments will see it how they want.

      • by grcumb (781340)

        Having a server doing redirects and nothing else would still accomplish the same ends. Google doesn't want to put servers with content there. A redirection server would technically be operating www.google.kz within their borders AND it would avoid the unreasonable demands.

        Although I'm not sure changing the DNS entry really qualifies as operating but governments will see it how they want.

        I suspect you've got it exactly backwards. It seems to me that Google above all does not want to host any infrastructure (even a redirection server) in the nation of Kazakhstan because of the potential for interference.

        The redirects that they speak of would likely be from google.com to google.com (localised in Kazakh -or Russian, or whatever- language) when a GEOIP lookup determines that the query is originating from within Kazakhstan. This does complicate the issue because it means they can't use their nor

        • by Lifyre (960576)

          You're right except his question was regarding google.kz. If google.kz disappears then it is no longer being operated and you're right. If google.kz keeps being used then it might get interesting.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please to be ignorink demands of little countries. Much good of you. Maybe we tries the China next, yes?

  • Google is a business, right now only a little country is asking for it,next it will US, Russia, China, UK, or somebody else. Hell someone (even google) probably already has done it but just hasn't told anyone.

    Until a business is willing to put it's employees and profit on the line we all know that businesses are just going to dance. After all, they are only there to make money and bribe elected officials to create a bunch of back doors. Think of it like this... would you rather keep your job or would you

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      It seems a reasonable and logical request. The country has a domain as a resource and is seeking to use that resource to benefit it's people. What do they lose if you refuse basically that nothing annual domain name payment.

      Now what do they gain if you say yes. A office that provides employment a server farm that uses resources and provides expertise as well as further employment. Is that fair, well google is sucking income out of the country so it seems pretty reasonable.

      Personally I think google is b

      • by dreampod (1093343)

        I actually agree with you on governments having the right to control their own TLD and leverage that towards employment but lets be honest that this is not why Kazakhstan has made this law. Nazarbayev the (first and only) president, commander of the armed forces, and head of the political party which controls the 'democratic' legislature is a dictator in all but name. The reasoning for this law is to place Google's data where it is physically vulnerable to being seized, blackmail, or some similar tactic.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          Whilst it is true that Kazakhstan has a mock democracy, it is still a stable one. A suck and see approach is most likely appropriate in this case, so it seems rather petty or at the very least cowardly. That is of course if you can tolerate the endemic corruption of government services.

  • by joshtimmons (241649) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @07:39PM (#36381878) Homepage

    I've been meaning to suggest that all websites with a .mobi TLD should be hosted on mobile devices.

    Consistency is key.

  • Glorious nation of Kazakhstan has the best internets.

    All other countries have inferior internets.

  • If the KZ government wants certain conditions for hosts whose names are in the .kz domain, this isn't somethiing Google can work around with redirects. It's KZ's namespace and if they don't like google.kz redirecting to get around their law's intent, then Google won't have google.kz to redirect from for very long.

    OTOH there isn't any reason at all, that Google should give a rat's ass. If they want to market to KZ citizens, they don't need a .kz domain.

    Both sides simultaneously win and lose, to no effect.

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      OTOH there isn't any reason at all, that Google should give a rat's ass. If they want to market to KZ citizens, they don't need a .kz domain.

      I agree. I think it is well within a country's rights to demand that hosts carrying the country's TLD be within that country. In fact, I think it is a good thing to know where the server is. That does nothing to "fragment the net". You don't need a .kz domain name to be reachable from .kz land --

      Until the KZ government decides to pull the connections to the outside world. But then, anyone with a .kz domain who ISN'T inside the borders won't be reachable from inside anyway. It won't matter what domain you

      • by swv3752 (187722)

        Really, your naivete is charming. This has nothing to do with your espoused idealism, and everything to do with with a dictatorship trying to control information. You have a guy that has been "President" since 1991, and was the party leader for the region in the decades before when it was part of the USSR. KZ has been ranked one of the worlds most corrupt countries.

        Think maybe the folks at Google realize that the ploy to have a data center in KZ is just so that KZ can seize said data center.

        • by Obfuscant (592200)
          It doesn't really matter why the KZ government wants .kz domain owners to be within the geographical limits of KZ, the point is that a requirement like that doesn't fragment the internet or stop people from visting google as the google exec was claiming. His excuse was ridiculous.

          The only act that would fragment the net is for KZ to pull the router cables and stop traffic crossing the border. That has nothing to do with who has a .kz domain, it has only to do with who is inside and who is outside the borde

    • by green1 (322787)

      Why is it that Google isn't happy with one domain name, google.com? why on earth do they have any reason to have a domain name with every single extension available anyway?
      Most people, no matter what country they are in, type google.com anyway, they only end up on their local one because google re-directs them there.

      Google refuses to host servers in that country stating that it will fracture the internet, but they themselves are already causing that fracture by forcing people all over the world in to their

  • Really? Not a single Borat joke yet?
  • This is not news. SO many countries require a domestic presence to user their TLD.
    • by DrVomact (726065)

      Perhaps you're joking...but the whole article sounds like it's April 1 come early (or late, depending on which way you age). Domain names are assigned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). If you pay them your money, you get to use the domain name, and there's no laws I know of that say you can't set up your server wherever you want. The mucky muck of Kazakhstan might own Kazakhstan, but he doesn't own the "google.kz" domain name...presumably, Google does. Because, presumably,

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All .us domains have the legal restriction that not only the web servers, but the DNS servers too, have to be in the USA. I'm sure there are tons of countries with that same restriction, why is it bad when Kazakh does it?

    • Because it would take more mules than the country has to power a single Google search farm (and no other sources of power are available)? ~

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        Because it would take more mules than the country has to power a single Google search farm (and no other sources of power are available)? ~

        And all the mules are busy transporting mud from neighboring Elbonia anyway.

    • by russotto (537200)

      All .us domains have the legal restriction that not only the web servers, but the DNS servers too, have to be in the USA.

      The contract with NeuStar appears to specify such a requirement, when it says "In addition to the current policy set forth in RFC 1480 requiring that usTLD domain name registrations be hosted on computers located within the United States...".

      However, unless I missed it, RFC 1480 contains no such requirement. It's not even normative. The closest it comes is "Any computer in the United St

  • by codegen (103601) on Wednesday June 08, 2011 @10:30PM (#36383140) Journal
    Location of the server is becoming more and more of an issue, and most of us techies seem to consider the technical while downplaying the legal. One perfect example is outsourcing of email and other "cloud" services. Google, as well as other companies, will gladly take over you email domain and provide you with email service. Several Canadian Universities have considered this. However, student information in Canada is considered private information, and some provinces (i.e. states) such as Ontario have even stronger restrictions (We can't even admit that someone is a student without written permission). Moving email to a server that is outside of Canadian legal jurisdiction would be a legal accident waiting to happen, especially given the National Security Letters in the US PATRIOT Act. I know of professors that use services like DropBox without ever considering the legal ramifications.
    • by dreampod (1093343)

      Personally I really wish there was a way to ensure routing so that my traffic would never enter or be processed by a particular jurisdiction to avoid legal problems and illegal (but commonplace) monitoring.

      I would happily accept the potential for greater latency to keep anything that does not have an end destination in the US from passing through that country. The madcap laws and privacy invasions don't even recognize the token acknowledgement of the constitution that citizens get for us foreigners and I'd

  • This Kazakh Technology Minister, Nursultan Tuleiakbay. He is pain in the Google assholes. They get a server with a .kz domain, he must get a server with a .kz domain. They get a redirect, he must get a redirect. They get search engine that works like young wife plow field - he cannot afford! Great success!

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      This Kazakh Head Server Technician, Sergei Popklovev. Expansion plans is beautiful received! Will need more generators for stationary bicycles.

  • Obviously the Kazakh government has sinister motives, but domains using specific country identifiers should only be for use by bona fide bodies from that country. We have a lot of trouble in the UK with bogus co.uk domains being used by Indian companies to pretend that they're UK-based and rip off consumers.
  • ... dead horse flogs YOU!!!!

  • the NSA still has branch offices operating under the name AT&T.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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