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Google to Censor India Satellite Imagery  (View post)

David T [PersonRank 7]

Monday, February 5, 2007
17 years ago5,309 views

Camel analogy excellent Philipp!

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

They should censor the normal results too! Just think of it: Terrorists can look up the address of IBM in New York on Google and then strike!

Anonymous Googler [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

It's a great analogy. It is especially difficult when the camel flashes a police badge. We keep trying to push the camels out, but as our tent gets bigger, more and more of them want to come inside, wearing government uniforms.

The biggest problem with censorship is that it's demanded by governments who can shut us down or block us out of their country. China, the US, Germany, India, ... it's all the same. They all have things they don't want people talking about or looking at, so they're all threatened by the idea of universally available information.

We strike the best balance we can, but if you really want change, be politically active and start changing laws.

- Make search history and email content "privileged communication", just like a medical history or financial records, and make wiretapping illegal again.
- Demand that your governments stop censoring information they don't like, whether it's porn, history, or views of the roofs of government buildings.

The days of "security by obscurity" are over, but few people in power want to believe that.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

"be politically active and start changing laws."

Yeah, how come google is not leading the charge and telling the China / India and US gov to go shove it where the sun does not shine eh ??

Why not ?? Because, you have to strike a balance. Balance between what ?? Money and evil ??

Anonymous Googler [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

We could, indeed, tell China, the US, India, Germany, etc. to "shove it where the sun don't shine." We'd be shut down.

We have to strike a balance, not between money and evil, but between following laws and being shut down. Google doesn't have an army or a seat at the UN. We don't have the choice of ignoring laws we don't like. If Germany says "you will censor Nazi information or we'll kick you out of Germany", or the US says "you will censor porn or we'll kick you out of the US", we have to make difficult choices. Sometimes we make the wrong ones, and there's always a huge amount of debate about any compromise. We take stands where we can (as with the FBI's requests for search records), but ultimately we must abide by laws until they are changed.

You can vote, change leaders, and change laws. Google can't.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Anonymous Googler (if you are): I agree that the we need to fight for our freedoms in a variety of battles.

But when it comes to Google, which is a responsible player too in this game (and for better or worse, the focus of this particular blog), then this ought to be a discussion of specifics, not abstracts. Yes, you absolutely do need to show civil disobedience when the police asks you to offer information on a dissident who fights for human rights in their country, risking their life. No, you may not want to show civil disobedience when you agree with the morals of the law.

Example: when German IT reporting site Heise is ordered to remove a link to a Russian music site, which they consider public newsworthy information, then they go fight for it through the various laws because they take their role as messenger very seriously.

Google, on the other hand, in Germany joined a *voluntary* organization for self-censorship. What exactly did you do, say, to fight censoring on

And sometimes, Google is not as weak as it may seem. The last time China tried to block access to, a public outcry made them withdraw the ban again, according to information from Sergey Brin provided in a Playboy interview.

<<BRIN: China actually shut us down a couple of times.

PLAYBOY: Did you negotiate with the Chinese government to unblock your site?

BRIN: No. There was enough popular demand in China for our services—information, commerce and so forth—that the government re-enabled us. >>

As Google admitted, this wasn't a case of being shut down completely, it was a case of a 90% working

We really ought to discuss specifics. As a first step, Google could disclose as much as possible about how the censorship works in different countries, like China. There's no competitive advantage, as the blacklists are shared with every IT company doing business in that country.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

From the second link in Philipp's post:

> Official sources said Google Earth would distort building plans
> by adding structures where none existed or masking certain
> aspects of a facility. This could be done without attracting
> attention to such establishments, which range from laboratories,
> mines, military sites, space and atomic centres and residences
> of high-profile VVIPs

Hmm. From a link in next year's post:

> Official sources said Google News would distort news reports
> by adding bogus sentences where none existed or masking certain
> aspects of a story. This could be done without attracting attention to
> such news items, which range from Amnesty reports, Chinese
> Government leaks, reports of military failures, nuclear power
> disasters, and activities of high-profile politicians.

(I already posted something similar to slashdot; apologies to readers who have seen it before).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

"Official sources said Google Earth would distort building plans by adding structures where none existed or masking certain aspects of a facility."

Incredible. I didn't even realize that. Is that true?

/pd [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

>> Hmm. From a link in next year's post:

aay where's the linky ?? any chance of dropping it here.. seems to be a lot of disinformation efforts in progress too.... if so... that's a nice catch Roger B!!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

The other link Roger mentioned was just satirical.

Stephan Locher [PersonRank 9]

17 years ago #

For years we are now talking that this sort of censorship isn't what we like and nothing happens.

What possibilities we have to not only talk but (re)act.

-For example we could actively start using other search engines for one day each time google has censored something and only use google for searchs like "Censorship is bad", "Censorship is evil"
-Customers of Google AdWords could remove the code for a week.
-Advertisers should immediately stop their AdWords campagn and if some sales rep calls them why they did so start a long talk about free speach and censorship. Even if the sales rep tells you he has no influence about this topic don't stop talking. If he has a longtimed call with you and you still didn't restart your campaign his supervisor asks why and eventually this will go up in the headquarter.

I'm sure there are a lot more ways to act. If just one man react then he can be called an idealistic fool but if a significant number of customers who make the revenue of a company join the protest we are making the world a better place I think.

Nowadays we are lucky that journalist or PR-Reps tell us if there is some censorship in place. But what would be if some government shut them down or even worser fake the blogs?

Someone could write a web service(Or stand alone application because the result of this service could be proxied too) which compares the result of a google map(Or other) search with the results some days ago. Then we would see some change because of censorship. As a nice side effect we know also when the map data is updated ;-)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

> For example we could actively start using other search
> engines for one day each time google has censored
> something and only use google for searchs like "Censorship
> is bad", "Censorship is evil"

To which search engine do you want to switch? Yahoo, for example, is even worse when it comes to working together with the Chinese government.

> Customers of Google AdWords could remove
> the code for a week

A couple of people tried that:

Most of all, I hope Chinese users will always go to, and never to, and in instances where they can do this without getting harmed, communicate their protest over censorship to Google. But they are risking their lifes if they do protest, so in most cases, it's more realistic for those outside of China to spread the word.

Stephan Locher [PersonRank 9]

17 years ago #

I forget always the name but its vivisimo or somtething like this. (Quick google search revealed it's

This is the only competitor known to me which has some inovative ideas in search technology and the result could be better as the ones google is offering.

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