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Google Businesses The Internet Censorship

Google Agrees to Censor Results in China 862

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.'"
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Google Agrees to Censor Results in China

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  • by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:20AM (#14554750) Journal
    be evil.
  • Bold Statement (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kickboy12 ( 913888 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:20AM (#14554753) Homepage
    What people need to realize is that Google doesn't really have a choice in the matter. I don't believe this violates the "Don't be evil" motto, as Google is simply trying to follow Chinese law. I don't think Google should be scrutinized for this, considering every other company (Microsoft, Yahoo, etc) has been forced to do the same thing. What people should be scrutinizing is Chinese law, not companies that follow said laws. Of course, the entire political situation in China is horrible and always has been.
    • 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:2, Insightful)

      by aardwolf64 ( 160070 )
      Let me see if I get this right... It's a Bad Thing (tm) when Microsoft does it, but Google should get away with it, because everyone else is?
      • I would defend with the same argument if Microsoft had to fight the Chinese government. In fact, they have before, and I said the exact same thing.
        • 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 neoshroom ( 324937 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:01AM (#14555001)
            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.

            To use your own analogy this would be like Poland Spring putting lead in their water, and then putting a bit notice on every bottle that said "To comply with Chinese law we have put lead in this water."

            If you know the water is posion you can choose to drink elsewhere if you wish.
            • 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.
    • Mreh. Or you could just say screw you China, if you don't want to use Google then block it. If everyone follows bad laws there isn't much incentive to changing it.
      • True, and normally I would agree with you. But in the case of China... they have to change these laws on their own. They've been getting protests and outside influence to remove these Facist laws, and have still held them up for decades.
    • Re:Bold Statement (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ph33r th3 g(O)at ( 592622 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:27AM (#14554782)
      Yes, they do have a choice. Rather than assist the PRC in violating human rights, they could decline to do business in China. There's all the talk here about how they faced down Bellsouth--don't you think they maybe have a little market power in China, too? Well, not now--they caved to the almighty yuan. I'm sure the dead Christians and the Tianmen Square students crushed under the treads of the people's tanks are thankful censored Google is available thanks to the sweetheart deal with the Chinese Communists.
    • 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!
      • Agreed. No one seems to want to stand up to the Chinese government because of all the money to be made.
      • Re:Bold Statement (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BewireNomali ( 618969 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:51AM (#14554951)
        dude, there is a gun pointed at Google's head. Shareholders, dude. There'e no way Google isn't all over the yuan. And they will go away if Google isn't in China. Selfsame shareholders are bankrolling Google's expanding operations. They HAVE to be in China and nail it down from the ground floor. First mover's advantage and all.

        I'd trip over myself to do business in China. Are you kidding me? Also, you lamers don't realize that Google in China would do more to erode the government's power than not? It's better for the young Chinese that Google be there, censorship or no. In fact, I'd be surprised if Google didn't code in easy hacks around the censorship criteria, and play dumb when the Chinese object. It'll take months/years for the old guard to catch on, and it'll endear Google amongst the young revolution-minded Chinese... university students, et al. Mindshare, cultural affinity, etc...

        This holier than thou stance smacks of arrogance, frankly. There's something smart. A group doesn't do what you want it to, so you stop speaking to them until they do, right? lol. It's worked with Cuba, right?

        I'm trying to teach myself Mandarin now. Are you kidding me? China is like the gold rush all over again. But then again, you'd know that, Wyatt.
    • Capitulating to an evil law is evil. If there were a law that said you could kill babies, it would be evil to follow the law. Similarly, following the Chinese laws regarding censorship is wrong.

      Laws are not automatically ethical just because Google's involved.
    • But Google does have choice. They can either choose to legitimize an oppressive governmental policy by submitting to it, or they can give the Chinese government the big finger and say "Fine! Be jerks. We don't want any part of it." The world isn't going to end just because Google (or any other internet entity) decides not to play by China's backwards and oppressive policies.
    • Why would China ever change their ways if the big rich American corporations keep bending over backwards to accomodate their oppression?

      When a country sponsors terrorism, we boycott them. When a country massacres certain races in their country, we try to stop them. Why, when a country rules by oppression, fear, and many other completely un-Democratic ideals should we make an exception?

      Money talks, my friend. Google's got dollar signs in their eyes just like MS and Yahoo, and China's gonna be a huge marke
    • Re:Bold Statement (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WankersRevenge ( 452399 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:31AM (#14554812)
      Of course they have a choice. The people who don't have a choice currently live in China. And remember, laws aren't changed by being complicit with them. Ask any one in the civil rights movement.
    • We have to hope that the Chinese government is going through its death throes right now with respect to censorship and political repression. Unless the majority of the population itself really wants it to continue, the trend will be towards free expression, just as recent economic trends have led towards a capitalist society. It's going to take a generation but when it happens China will be the new superpower. I hope their progress in this century won't be retarded by multinational corporations, pervasiv
    • Exactly what Chinese law would that be? Much of what the Chinese government does is extra-legal and arguably in violation of the Chinese Constitution, which protects freedom of speech and other rights.

    • Re:Bold Statement (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 1u3hr ( 530656 )
      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

    • "I don't believe this violates the 'Don't be evil' motto, as Google is simply trying to follow Chinese law."

      What if the law is evil?

    • 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 mot

  • Censorship? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Neo-Rio-101 ( 700494 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:21AM (#14554755)
    I clicked on "Read More" as soon as the article came up and I got the message
    "Nothing for you to see here, please move along"

    Chinese censorship on slashdot too? 8@
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Management decided.

    You mean the suits decided.

    I think the next year will see whether Google is true to the original DNA of the company, or whether they will become the next Microsoft, with all that implies.
  • Do no evil . . . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ph33r th3 g(O)at ( 592622 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:23AM (#14554765)
    . . . unless it makes money.
  • by lamasquerade ( 172547 ) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:24AM (#14554766)
    (I'm going to use the Google terminology of 'Evil' here, even though I find the word hyperbolic and ill-defined in general usage)

    an excruciating decision for a company that adopted "don't be evil" as a motto. But management believes it's a worthwhile sacrifice.

    That statement is bullshit. The 'worthwhile sacrifice' mentioned is clearly meant to work against the clear contravention of the 'do no evil' motto. However what is being sacrificed? The ethics of Google. What is being gained by the sacrifice? Access to China == profit. So they're sacrificing ethics for profit - that isn't exactly original for a corporation.

    More from the article: "We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation, Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China," said Andrew McLaughlin, Google's senior policy counsel.

    Again, bullshit. Google is an informaiton company. Their entire existence is justified by making access to and use of information easier. If they censor that information based on the petty politics of nationalists (or any other political concern) then they are not serving their purpose. They are in fact reinforcing the policies of censorship and repression in China. If everyone, every company goes along with these policies then what motivation is there to change them?

    Here's a real sacrifice: lose profits from lack of presence in China and be ethical and further the cause of free speech. That's a sacrifice, something you'd like, for something better. Not the other way around. Really the way these PR droids use language makes me want to have them lobotomised... and PR school doesn't count.

    • I've always believed that if you aren't willing to die for the freedoms that you care about that you don't deserve them (e.g. like many Americans willing to give up freedoms for "security"). If the Chinese people want freedom, they will need to revolt against their oppressive government. In the mean time, while we as individuals should continue to encourage these freedoms, it does no good for Google to be banned from China due to noncompliance from their law. It only limits the avenues for information even
      • I don't see how you can be involved in censorship in any way and consider yourself ethical. Form me the OFLC [wikipedia.org] board and anyone who works for it is unethical. But censoring excersise of political speech and access to information on history and current affairs is far, far worse.
    • by HydroPhonic ( 524513 ) <theycallmeboss@g ... minus physicist> on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:34AM (#14554843) Homepage
      Google had the decision to either:

      - Be present in China, albeit in mutilated form. The censorship would be declared, not secret. As such, Google's chinese services would not claim to comprehensively represent Google's services. - Not operate in China at all.

      China doesn't need Google very much; they already have Yahoo, MSN, et al. As such, Google declining to operate in China would do almost nothing to further the cause of free speech because it would not damage the opponents of free speech in the slightest.

      Because Google lacks the potential to "further" the cause of free speech in this altercation, their failure to advance that cause in China is not sufficient to warrant the claim of evilness.
      • by gordo3000 ( 785698 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:50AM (#14555256)
        so in other words, google wanted money and decided that because everyone else was being unethical, it wouldn't matter if they did? what is this, did google forget what it learned in kindergarten? you know, the whole discussion about doing what is right even if everyone else is wrong and standing by it.

        Every little bit of effort has the potential to further free speech. The biggest name right now in the industry saying no to China might incite others to do the same and that means something. Someone has to have the balls to be the leader, and google is obviously not it. But that isn't a big deal to me. No matter how big a person(or corp) talks, not everyone is cut out to really take the sacrifices necessarry to stand by their values.

        PS> I've been up for 20 hours now, spelling and grammar are no longer important matters.
    • by KagatoLNX ( 141673 ) <kagato@NOSpam.souja.net> on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:35AM (#14554854) Homepage
      That's the problem with being publicly traded...

      Sacrificing the profits of China on principle has to be backed by the majority of the shareholders. Additionally, they don't want to enrich Microsoft and don't want their stock price to tank.

      Of course, they have quite a few PHDs to feed.

      In terms of net evil, of the options available, this is the least evil option. To remove themselves entirely from the Chinese market (the Great Firewall is effective and Google would likely not do well working around it) would be no better.

      Make no mistake. Leaving the Chinese people high and dry would not be more effective or less evil. Especially when substituting a willing Microsoft or Yahoo. Ignoring a bad situation is evil. Making the best of it isn't.

      Google may cooperate with the Chinese government. However, they won't be able to "purify" the search engine completely. There will be holes in the cache as well. They have so much data that there is no solution to solving this problem. Does making "imperfect" censorship available to the Chinese people sound worse than making a "perfect" set of firewall rules?

      As for "reinforcing the censorship policies of petty nationalists"...how does removing yourself from the picture help? What should they do? Develop a crypto query network? Distributed it via clandestine means? Help me here.

      Either using Google's "censored" content and tools will send countless Chinese to jail, or they will be able to continue to provide what they do now. In China, right now, Google is a wealth of information with everything you need nestled in the nooks and crannies. While it will be censored within the limitations of the Chinese government and technical possibility, it can still serve some purpose in spreading censored information.

      Maybe all this means is that the honchos at Google have some humility. Perhaps they realize that this is the best they can do for the Chinese people. Perhaps they have coupled "Do no evil!" with "Do what you can."?
    • Not to mention the sacrifice of Americans who will divest their Google stock now because they want nothing more to do with the company's profits. Will be interesting to see Google's valuation over the next few days as news of the sellout propogates.

      I for one am glad I do not own any Google stock, nor do I wish to in the future at this point, I don't care how big and mighty their cute little colors become.

    • I have to disagree with the people who are arguing that Yahoo's and MSN's presences in China make this a non-issue for Google. By censoring results they are relieving a great deal of pressure from Yahoo and MSN by reinforcing the "not so evil" nature of being beholdent to the Chinese governments request. While I recognize that few people here would have the balls to put their multibillion dollar corporation on the line for this, its an unethical decision either way.

      Imagine if they had decided to allow the
    • Less hysterically (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:12AM (#14555069) Homepage Journal
      I think you have to look at it pragmatically. If Google don't do what the Chinese Government asks then the whole of Google will be blocked/filtered so what Google is doing doesn't have an "evil" effect that wouldn't be happening anyway.

      Liberalisation of China is probably going to be something that happens in a creeping fashion. A position based entirely on principal (ie Google refusing outright) might actually be worse in practice because it would actually mean more isolation for the Chinese people, not less. Whatever blocks are placed it isn't going to be 100% effective.

      If Google put's up a "Some results have been omited due to local legal requirements" message like they do with some other blocks all the better, at least the people will know they are being filtered and why.
    • by Ogemaniac ( 841129 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:38AM (#14555198)
      The alternative is to be shut out of China entirely. This would be WORSE for the Chinese citizens trying to break though their government's tyranny. Google isn't sacrificing anything at all. It is giving its Chinese consumers the best product that the government will allow them.

      If you disagree, please explain how Google refusing to participate with China would help a Chinese dissadent. Remember, China's filters have holes, and there will be even more of them if they have to watch every darned google search.
  • 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?
    • Re:Worthwhile?! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:09AM (#14555051)
      Google has been censoring it's results in France and Germany for some time now, in order to comply with French and German laws. Do you think that Google should also choose to stop doing buisness with France and Germany too? Is google being evil by complying with France and Germany's censorship laws?
      • Re:Worthwhile?! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tommers ( 893816 ) *
        No, because I also don't think France or Germany is being "evil" by disallowing the sale of Nazi memorabilia. While I am glad we do not have this limitation in the U.S., the disservice it does to German and French citizens is miniscule compared to the affects of the Chinese governments laws on its citizens human rights. While doing business in China is not as evil as these particular Chinese laws, serving as a censor for the Chinese government is much much more evil than agreeing to not facilitate the sal
        • Re:Worthwhile?! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:54AM (#14555268)
          Well, one of the sites banned in the French and German version of Google according to the most recent list is radioislam.net ...

          Now, just in case you think radioislam.net is some sort of fanatical extremist islamic sight, the first paragraph I read on the site is this:
          "No hate. No violence
          Races? Only one Human race
          United We Stand, Divided We Fall
          Freedom of Speech - Use it or lose it!"

          A lot of their stuff is very anti-Bush and anti-Israel, but I see nothing that would constitute any sort of hate crime or anything like that. Certainly they are not selling Nazi memorabilia as you are suggesting.

          Now, do you think censoring this site is OK? If so, why? And if it is "good" for France and German to censor sites like this, why is it bad for China to censor sites it feels are just as negative for its own society? Do you even know the sites that China bans? Maybe China is banning the exact same sites! No one has published a list yet!

          There is a double standard. If you think it is OK for Google to obey censorship laws, then it should be OK. If you think it is wrong for Google to obey censorship laws, then it is wrong. But if you are asking Google to determine which is "good" censorship, and which is "bad" censorship, then isn't it reasonable that you and Google would have different opinions on what is good or bad censorship?
  • "Didn't used to be evil"

    Nothing says they have to do business there. It seems, after some soul searching, they are putting profits ahead of 'do no evil'. If that were truly the motto, then they might tell China to insert it where the sun don't shine, and forgo that market.

  • by malraid ( 592373 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:31AM (#14554810)
    At least Google's management are in touch with the Chinese people, the make the same wage: $1. That's really taking into account the culture of the country!
  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:32AM (#14554823)
    Did China convince Google executives that they had huge penises, and that the Chinese weren't a threat because they have small penis?

    I am sick and tired of the West sucking up to China. It seems China gets the best end of the bargain - they get the benefits of capitalism and trade with the west - but they get a free pass on democracy, and the West even helps them with their dictatorship and censorship needs.

    So, I guess totalitarianism is bad, as long as a small, weak country is doing it. But "China very big" so, we have to do what China says.

    Motherfuckers. Screw Google and all the other apologists.

    • Not Just China (Score:4, Insightful)

      by 246o1 ( 914193 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:15AM (#14555093)
      Totalitarianism is ok in:
      a) any country with a useful resource and a friendly-to-us government (see: Saudi Arabia)
      b) any country that would be kind of a pain to invade with no clear benefit (see: most totalitarian countries)
      c) any country that would be a total bitch to invade (see: N. Korea) despite possible security benefits for us and our allies/helpers.

      I am speaking of US policy hear, but generally, governments in the west follow these policies. I hate that people think that China gets a blind eye. The human rights and legal situations in China are probably the most talked about and scrutinized in the west of any non-democratic country (besides Iraq). But what the hell do you expect countries to do?

      There's a goodly amount of international pressure on China as-is, and while I wouldn't be against ramping that up, I think an invasion there would be pretty much 130% Grade-A insane.

      While this has been a bit off-topic, it does apply. Google has to deal with the country the way it is (as our national governments do), and the other choice is to let some other non-blocked IP become China's Google. The real test of their principles will be whether they use their market share there, once gained, to try to stand up for greater freedom of information. 'Standing up' to the government on this issue now would provide nothing besides a little bit of good PR here in the west, no substantive gain for the Chinese people.
  • This is Google we're talking about here. They typically find more than one way of delivering the same information. Are you telling me Google won't find a way around their agreement? If they get access to China (which I grant they sort of have already) they can work from within to foster change. Lastly, This is a business. If China intends to shut you out, do an end-run around. Agree without agreeing, and go do what you want to do, while putting on a good face.
    It's not like Google doesn't have some of the sm
  • by oquigley ( 572410 )
    While I understand that Google's just a business, this seems to mark a fall from grace. It's kind of a pity. I respected them for their moral positions, not just for their products & services.

    It also calls into question their motivations for resisting the Bush administrations requests. (reminds me of the old joke: Man asks a woman to have sex with him, she says forget it. He says "how about for a hundred thousand dollars". She consents, so he says "how about for ten dollars". She says "what kind
  • by Ph33r th3 g(O)at ( 592622 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:34AM (#14554844)
    And you can bet your ass they'll do it to those of us in so-called "free" countries so long as the money's right. "Don't be evil" indeed.
  • by DeadPrez ( 129998 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:35AM (#14554848) Homepage
    Same _exact_ reasoning will apply to handing over search queries and associated user data to the US government.

    New motto:
    Do no evil unless governments compel you to if you want to stay in the market.
  • Maybe they could toe the line very closely and repeatedly attempt to slip things past the Chinese government. It might be risky but "do no evil" isn't far off "try to undermine evil"
  • Each year thousands of Chinese citizens are put to death under a legal system plagued with corruption and secrecy. While the rest of the world moves toward abolition, Chinese authorities only continue to expand the application of the death penalty. According to reports, an average of 15,000 people per year were executed, judicially or extrajudicially, by the government between 1997 and 2001... [amnestyusa.org]
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:59AM (#14554989) Homepage Journal
    If you want to spread democracy, is it better to simply not to business in anti-democratic countries or to do business on their terms?

    That is a question that every pro-democracy person, company, and government has to make when it comes to anti-democratic countries like China.

    The answer, as with much of life, varies with the individual circumstances.
  • by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:02AM (#14555009)
    Google now censors it's search results for things that the Chinese government doesn't want it's people to read, just as it has been doing the same thing to comply with laws in France and Germany.

    Here is some more information:
    http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2005-01-15-n50 .html [outer-court.com]
    http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050117-0906 38 [searchenginewatch.com]
    http://sethf.com/anticensorware/general/google-cen sorship.php [sethf.com]

    So the question is, why are people so offended when Google censors for China, but think the same behavior is fine for Europe?
  • How is this evil? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UserGoogol ( 623581 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @02:15AM (#14555089)
    I fail to see how this is evil. Google had two options. They could either censor some of their results, or China would censor all of their results. If censoring is bad, logically more censoring is worse than less censoring. Google thus is not doing evil, they are making the best of an inherently evil situation. If this is evil, then "doing no evil" is impossible, because no matter what they did, evil would have been done.

    Some might argue that Google could have simply held their ground and China would have eventually caved. I doubt this. There are plenty of search engines out there, and although they might not be quite as good as Google, they're not bad or anything. If popular demand for Google is big enough to make China give up their censoring, then China's censorship laws can't be that strict if something as trivial as Google versus Yahoo is willing to make them cave.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • It's a start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smallfeet ( 609452 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @07:04AM (#14556090) Journal
    You have to consider this over a longer period of time then a couple years. That government in China can not last, none do. Being told that your government hates you is a good way to encourage people to change their government sooner rather then later.
    The notice might as well be "If you lived in a free country you would be seeing all sorts of neat stuff right now".
  • by JFMulder ( 59706 ) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @10:28AM (#14557150)
    "We realise that China is a growing country that is being more and more aware of the world therefore it represents great advertising opportunities for us. We would be sorry if we missed that boat, since this is our core business."

    This is nothing more than a business decision.
  • Pot, kettle... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FurryFeet ( 562847 ) <joudanx@yahOOOoo.com minus threevowels> on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @01:07PM (#14559095)
    You Americans can wax poetically about "censorship" when I can see a nipple on the Superbowl without the whole country going "WTF we're all going to die!".

    Different cultures have different standards. I don't believe China's way is the best, but I'm not sure. And neither are you.

    Do you really think Google has to fight against opression? Why don't you start? Go and break the DMCA ina really visible way, and face the consequences. I mean, we all know it's an unjust law, right? So why are you abiding by it?

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp