Google Takes A Stand For Free Speech, Won't Censor China Search Results

rated by 0 users
This post has 24 Replies | 3 Followers

Top 10 Contributor
Posts 26,085
Points 1,183,205
Joined: Sep 2007
ForumsAdministrator
News Posted: Thu, Jan 14 2010 1:56 AM
Stating that things "just got real" wouldn't even begin to do thissituation justice. Google, which has maintained a Chinese search portal(Google.cn) since 2006, has just upended the nation's stronghold oncontent, and while it remains to be seen if any other search engineswill follow suit, there's no denying that serious attention is nowbeing given to a matter that has remained in the shadows for far toolong.

After a "targeted attack" on Google's corporate infrastructureoriginating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectualproperty, the search giant began to think long and hard about itsrelationship with the country. Google also maintains offices in China,and it has stated that the employees there have worked extremely hardto make Google.cn a real success. This attack, however, began to changethings. Google began to look into the matter, and it soon realized thatthese attacks were made on those who support human rights and freespeech within China.

Today, Google is a powerhouse. It's not a second-tier company; it's aworld-class company with clout for days. So much clout, in fact, thatGoogle has just made public its decision to cease the censoring ofcontent from Chinese searches. The company has decided that the timehas come to put an end to the censorship that has lived on withinChina's Internet walls, and Google fully understands that this move maymake working in China impossible. Executives plans on meeting withChinese leaders soon to hammer out a new plan, but of course if onecannot be reached, Google will reportedly pull right out of the nation.We sincerely hope this bold move encourages others to take similarstands for free speech, but only time will tell if Google has abandwagon backing it or just its own faith. A portion of the statement is below:



We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about theseattacks with a broad audience not just because of the security andhuman rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also becausethis information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate aboutfreedom of speech. In the last two decades, China's economic reformprograms and its citizens' entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundredsof millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nationis at the heart of much economic progress and development in the worldtoday.

We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief thatthe benefits of increased access to information for people in China anda more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censorsome results. At the time we made clearthat "we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new lawsand other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we areunable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate toreconsider our approach to China."

These attacks and thesurveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over thepast year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us toconclude that we should review the feasibility of our businessoperations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing tocontinue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next fewweeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis onwhich we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, ifat all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut downGoogle.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

The decision toreview our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, andwe know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. Wewant to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in theUnited States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees inChina who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success itis today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the verydifficult issues raised.

  • | Post Points: 155
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009

Way to go Google! How often do you see corporations operate with a moral compass?

Stark contrast to news that bank execs were set to receive record bonuses this year.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009

Also, it's important to note that this is great PR for Google, both in America and other freedom minded world citizens.

I do hope other search engines follow suit and force China to either change policies or risk being left behind.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 3,102
Points 38,250
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: Texas
acarzt replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 4:36 AM

yea, good job google! Stick it to the man! lol

Wait... google is becoming the man lol

Hopefully google doesn't let their power go to their head any time soon :-)

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009

Agreed, I'd rather not have another microsoft anytime soon.

Also, this is an important excerpt from Google's letter:

"We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today."

I think it pretty much sums up the conditions in China.

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 3,102
Points 38,250
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: Texas
acarzt replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 1:22 PM

I wonder what kind of backlash those employees are going to see?

This move will have the opposite effect that google was probably hoping for if something bad happens to those employees. It's a risky move, but it's nice to see they are actually trying to do something for their people's rights. Little as it may be.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009

That's the tragic thing isn't it, that google had to claim full culpability. For their China employees, the backlash might include intimidation, but hopefully not prison time.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 4,830
Points 45,790
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Kennesaw
rapid1 replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 1:45 PM

As far as not wanting another Microsoft/Apple in the market I think you already lost that. Google operates on a different spectrum really and is about communications (which apple has their hands in already on the I-phone, upcoming tablet device, and of course the Touch) Microsoft is M$ and they have their hands in everything with concentration being on software. Google will be the next if not the current big player on this business model as I said just on a differing spectrum of the IT market.

OS:Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
MB:ASUS Z87C
CPU:Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 4770 ***
GPU:Geforce GTX 770 4GB
Mem:***ingston 16384MB RAM
  • | Post Points: 35
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 4,830
Points 45,790
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Kennesaw
rapid1 replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 1:49 PM

Either way big props to Google for making a stand on this issue as I think it is the right one for sure. I would liken it to the net neutrality thing going on in the US now. Although this country is nothing compared to China on the ruling over information, I do believe the net should be open and free for the transformation of any information of any type as long as it is not done in pure malice, and or for violent reasons.

OS:Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
MB:ASUS Z87C
CPU:Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 4770 ***
GPU:Geforce GTX 770 4GB
Mem:***ingston 16384MB RAM
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009

@rapid1 Yeah, I guess you're right. But as opposed to Microsoft which is completely corporatized, Google's direction is still largely being managed by its founders.

Can you ever imagine Microsoft doing Google Books, or Google Phone free of charge?

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 3,102
Points 38,250
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: Texas
acarzt replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 2:48 PM

Google seems like a much more down to earth company tho. You know microsoft is after your money with almost everything they do. At least google is trying to do good for the IT world.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009

Here Here!

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 6,374
Points 80,315
Joined: Nov 2004
Location: United States, Arizona
Moderator

Doing what most of the US economy can't... saying no to Chinese  $$$

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window."

2700K

Z77 GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER

GIGABYTE GTX670

G.Skill Ripjaws X 16gb PC2133

Antec P280

Corsair H100

Asus Blu-ray burner

Seasonic X650 PSU

Patriot Pyro 128gb SSD

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 457
Points 5,945
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Norfolk, VA, USA
Soupstyle replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 6:02 PM

The fact is that the US CEOs probably just got all of the Google China employees fired, since the Chinese government won't let them run the search site without the censoring in place.

Hopefully Google will be nice enough to let them keep their jobs and move them to Taiwan or back to the US.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 457
Points 5,945
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Norfolk, VA, USA
Soupstyle replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 6:19 PM

Is it just me or do spaces in the main articles just disappear randomly? It happens on most of the articles, but not on anyones comments.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 3,102
Points 38,250
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: Texas
acarzt replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 10:14 PM

what browser are you using?

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 2,048
Points 29,300
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: United States, Michigan
kid007 replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 10:38 PM

Der you hit the nail on the head, they rather leave with their head up. the fun part they have started a whole thing. because maybe yahoo and the others may do the same.

Remember leader lead the rest follow :)

MacBook Pro 13.3" LED-Backlit Glossy, Intel "Penryn" Core 2 Duo T8700 - 2.53G, 8GB DDR3 1066, NVIDIA GForce 9400M 1280X800

HTPC 4G DDR3 XMS Corsair, Intel i5-750 Quad Core, 6ft HDMI Cable by Rosewill, AverMedia Tv Card, Gigabyte P55M-UD2,  Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5770 with Vapor X Cooling, 500 HD Maxtor 7200 2.5 HDD, Asus Blu-Ray Optical Drive, 46" LED Toshiba TV

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 3,102
Points 38,250
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: Texas
acarzt replied on Thu, Jan 14 2010 11:05 PM

That wouldn't be such a bad thing, as long as they give credit where it's due! Google did it first.

Wouldn't be surprised if MS does it too and then goes on to announce it to the world and take all the glory lol

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009
gibbersome replied on Sun, Jan 17 2010 12:05 AM

Well it seems that the biggest losers of Google departure will be...well Chinese.

Just finished reading a good article on NY Time about this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/world/asia/17china.html

"Interviews in Beijing’s downtown and university district indicated that many viewed the possible loss of Google’s maps, translation service, sketching software, access to scholarly papers and search function with real distress."

I can't imagine a world without google.com. Even though I'm sure I'd acclimate within a few weeks, but not having so many services such as maps, docs, scholar, product search, image in one place is going to eat up a lot more of my time.

"By publicly challenging China’s censorship, Google has stirred up the debate over the government’s claim that constraints on free speech are crucial to political stability and the prosperity that has accompanied it. Even if it is unlikely to pose any immediate threat to the Communist Party, Google’s move has clearly discomfited the government, Chinese analysts say."

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 4,830
Points 45,790
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Kennesaw
rapid1 replied on Sun, Jan 17 2010 12:27 AM

Well being that the Chinese government is basically the last left at least of large government's which support the communist doctrine. I mean Russia is still recognized for it, but in many ways they have stepped far away from the fundamentals of it in all reality. They may still even used it for recognition, but don't really seem to support the full doctrine of it any way.

OS:Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
MB:ASUS Z87C
CPU:Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 4770 ***
GPU:Geforce GTX 770 4GB
Mem:***ingston 16384MB RAM
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009
gibbersome replied on Sun, Jan 17 2010 12:48 AM

Indeed and China does have a very strong hold on its population. I'm surprised a corrupt Communist regime has functioned as well as it has. Just goes to show you the enormous labor and talent resources of China.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 35
Points 520
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Northern

Censorship of its people does seem like a horrible thing to most of us . Don't forget that this IS a communist country with a very different set of social beliefs. I am not condoning this, but china is not alone on this matter either and every part of the world is different.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 639
Points 7,630
Joined: Jul 2009
ClemSnide replied on Sun, Jan 17 2010 5:47 PM

If they do pull out of China, I won't miss it. Every time I used Google.cn to search, the results always included something about lead.


"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot... but I cried when HAL was turned off."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,964
Points 25,705
Joined: Sep 2009

The Chinese still have Baidu.com which has the overwhelming share of the searches in China. Google.cn was a distant second, though it was the more popular option amongst college students and professors.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 457
Points 5,945
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Norfolk, VA, USA
Soupstyle replied on Mon, Jan 18 2010 1:00 PM

Baidu will still be the leader, and I'm sure there will be people jumping at the change to fill the space that the google apps leave, but I doubt MS would ever leave China, they make too much cash from their government I think, MS would probably start promoting stuff like it's passport & silverlight heavily to pick up users dropped by google.

While I don't believe in censorship of any kind, I can see where the world gets the view of "arrogant American" (and lesser extent westerner) from this sort of thing. If China were smart they'd be crying about Google not caring about their society and how the "americans" want to bully them into changing their national policies. That would at the very least get our congress and government to back off really quickly, if not get them support from other asian/middle eastern countries.

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (25 items) | RSS