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Google Censors Its Results in China  (View post)

blzeebub [PersonRank 1]

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
18 years ago

I, for one, welcome our new chinese overlords .....

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Update: I've added a sentence about the removal of sites that received complaints under the DMCA laws.

George Giles [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

Google is spyware pure and simple. They log everything they can, and with their "free" services obtain a deeper and deeper profile about who is doing what, when and where. Just imagine the network graph between context searching, gmail, gtalk, gnews and gvideo.

They are clearly weighing in on the argument between principle and profits. They will be risk averse to sacrificing profits, but not principles.

Don't be evil, "Me thinks the lady doth protest too much."

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

I'm sure it was a tough decision, but they did the best thing. You can't change the system unless you're a part of it.

"Google is committed to providing easy access to as much information as possible. For Internet users in China, Google remains the only major search engine that does not censor any web pages. However, it's clear that search results deemed to be sensitive for political or other reasons are inaccessible within China. There is nothing Google can do about this." (from Google Blog, about Google News censorship – 9/27/2004)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Google says
> "There is nothing Google can do about this."

Yes, by resisting to hand over their search technology to the Chinese, they would show their protest. This protest can help those people fighting for freedom in China. If they censor the results of those fighting for freedom, they are effectively undermining their efforts.

If you're a weapons manufacturer, you also can't say, "Yes we are delivering hi-tech weapons to this country, and we know they're using it to kill their own citizens, but without us, they would still kill them, only with different weapons." (And please, don't take this comparison literally – I know Google is not delivering weapons to anyone.)

If Google would stand up and fight for what they say the believe in, then they would have told the Chinese government: "We want to work with you. But we can't censor any search results. Do you want to work with us and pay the price of granting full access, thereby allowing us to provide hi-tech search technology to your citizens? A search technology that might make your country more competitive in the net and the real world?"

Even though this is a gray zone without plan "good" or "evil", I think with the news today, Google loses a whole lot of trust from many users.

Jerry C. [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

I believe Google is doing the right thing in China. I find it to be utterly ridiculous to not obey the laws, rules and regulations of any country you happen to be in. The United States, in particular, needs to stop foisting their own beliefs and ideas on other countries. Iraq is a prime example. The US could never find those WMD's because they never existed. So, Bush promptly declared that we were there to rescue the Iraqi people from a dictator. Iraq has always operated under a dictatorial leadership. The citizens did not ask for our help to end that form of government.
Google is following the laws of China by not providing access to certain things that the Chinese government feels are detrimental to the governing of that country. Pure and simple, it is a law. Would the US allow someone from another country to violate US law simply because the violation would be considered a legal and lawful act in that person's home country? Definitely not. Put on a very simple level for those who don't get it: If a German citizen visiting the US chose to drive at 125 MPH on US highways would he be arrested? Yes! Could he use the defense that in his country it was legakl to do that? He could, but it would be to no avail. He violated the laws of the country he was in. Google is taking the same stand. They are refusing to violate the laws of China by allowing access to specific sites that China has deemed unlawful for their citizens to access. Those who find this to be offensive to the US interpretation of freedom must also support MSN and others for freely giving out the information that was recently requested by the US Dept. of Justice. They gave the information freely. Trust me, they will also hand over the information that they have that specifically gives your name and internet activity when asked for it. Whether it is for higher profits or not, Google has at least taken a stand to not release such information and they have taken the stand to obey the laws of the countries where they do business. Google as spyware? Probably, at least in some definitions. But every search engine out there does the same. Besides, Bush has declared that he has a right to intercept your email and read it without anyone saying it's okay. Most Google haters are simply haters because Google is a success and jealousy is rampant. Same held with Bill gates. Most hate him only because of his huge successes. The public made Gates a success and the same public made Google a success. Get over it.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

You can see some information about the Google censorship in German here:

The link is displayed on result pages where a result was removed.

The funny thing about this is, that evidently stuff like UFO sightings gets censored. If you look for the german keyphrase "UFO gesichtet" you get a the message on the second results page:

The notice on the UFO search just says "German regulatory body reported illegal material". What kind of illegal material and what kind of "regulatory body"?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

> If a German citizen visiting the US chose to drive
> at 125 MPH on US highways would he be
> arrested? Yes!

It is not a basic human right to drive at 125 MPH on a highway. However, freedom of speech is a human right – one that is violated in China. And just as a German citizen retains the right to not go to the USA, or protest against their laws from within his own country, so does Google have the right to not operate in China under the Chinese laws.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

> You can see some information about the Google
> censorship in German here:
> ...

As you can see, searching for [] in does not show any link to an explanation why results are missing... so sometimes it's showing, and sometimes not. [ufo gesichtet] indeed shows such a message. The explanation at Chilling Effects that's linked from reads:

"A URL that otherwise would have appeared in response to your search, was not displayed because that URL was reported as illegal by a German regulatory body."

I wonder why?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Also, the LA Times (AP) writes:

"When Google censors results in China, it intends to post notifications alerting users that some content has been removed to comply with local laws. The company provides similar alerts in Germany and France when, to comply with national laws, it censors results to remove references to Nazi paraphernalia.",1,63195.story?coll=la-headlines-business

This is wrong. Google doesn't alert me at all when I search for [] (a "White Natuonalist Community" which likely falls into the "illegal hate sites" categoy in Germany). It does put up alerts for some other searches.

I updated the article with this information.

blzeebub [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

"Philipp Lenssen" wrote

If you're a weapons manufacturer, you also can't say, "Yes we are delivering hi-tech weapons to this country, and we know they're using it to kill their own citizens, but without us, they would still kill them, only with different weapons."

Well if your a American, British or French weapons maker, then you can say exactly that – as well as line about "well, it keeps our people in jobs" – they don't care – business is business – even when the weapons they sell to the "bad boys" are then used against yanks, brits or frogs .....

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

I'm trying to locate a German version of this article from the "Reporters without Borders" organization, which strongly criticizes Google's decision:

dx0ne [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

"There is nothing Google can do about this."
Well they can protest. If some "little unimportan" from global point of view people can protest and stand against violating freedom why such big powerfull company can't? They standing against US govs recently, but here they can't be banned so feel save. This is hypocrisy. This is evil.
They are big and CAN change things. But thet want make evil money.

And for "god skates" violating speed limit soooooo different than censoring information search results.
Talking like "they donig less evil makes me sick". People dying for freedom.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Here is a part of the Reporters Without Borders statement released:

<<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 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 Last of the Infinite Monkeys [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

I would propose that Google changes its first principle to:

"Do no evil unless it is less than another evil."

Milly [PersonRank 10]

18 years ago #

Very well said, Philipp. I've quoted a small excerpt of your fine words :-

Assuming (as if!) they don't do as you ask ...

"[...] hand over the list of banned words or sites for every country [...] offer every other country in the world never-mind its economic size or internet market share an easy way to ban their own things too in Google. [...] allow every dictator, every repressive regime, and every government restricting human rights to work with you. [...] by your argument, you&#8217;d be making positive contributions at the same time"

   ... then what else is it but hypocrisy and cynical self-serving expedience?

Stephen [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

It's' a shame, but I guess I can't blame them. I mean China would not give one iota if Google refused to censor and thereby banned. I highly doubt the agony of making their nations search engine Yahoo over Google is going to presure them into allowing free speech. I think Google acted as a company here, which is sad, but I still have faith in them as a company. And on Google's tracking of everything I do, the only regret I have is that I wish I could delete my email's off their servers and possibly opt out of tracking by ip. Logging my search terms I don't care because that will undoubtably improve results.
The real in roads in China will have to be done throughout the rest of the world first. Bringing Africa up to standards and democratic I think is a very key issue.

jaxon [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

As a libertarian I support Google to run their business as they see fit. They are not the keepers of freedom, just another web site on the world wide web.

Anon [PersonRank 7]

18 years ago #

Access using this proxy:

find out for yourself.

ah nee [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

for opera users: you actually can access by changing the language in the opera preferences to ''Chinese (China) [zh-cn]''.

Patrick Kempf [PersonRank 1]

18 years ago #

Google already censors in Germany:

"Aus Rechtsgründen hat Google 1 Ergebnis(se) von dieser Seite entfernt. Weitere Informationen über diese Rechtsgründe finden Sie unter"

Yowlz [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

It's amazing to me how people can defend a company with such a righteous motto when that company turns into a willing collaborator with a murderous and oppressive government. Hey, maybe will turn the little "o"s in its logo into tank barrels every June 4th, just to remind the peasants who's boss.

teods hierro [PersonRank 0]

18 years ago #

you can try google china by try omitting the www prefix. :)

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