Google cofounder Sergey Brin is suddenly shocked — shocked! — that any company would be so evil as to comply with China’s censorship demands.Please.
Leave aside the fact that Google was happy to censor results for China until its servers were hacked. The fact is, Google still censors search results in other countries at the request of their governments.
Google’s policy is to remove search results at the request of national governments if its lawyers agree that the content in question violates local law. Google also removes results at the request of individuals in countries where there is less protection against libel suits.
To be fair, many of the censorship requests Google honours are far less objectionable than China’s, which are overtly aimed at silencing dissent. We also think Google’s new position that it is immoral to censor results for China is perfectly reasonable. We also think Google’s old position was perfectly reasonable — that censoring results for the Chinese is distasteful, but on the whole, leaves the Chinese people better off than cutting them out of Google altogether.
Entirely different: Censoring results for years, shifting course for entirely unrelated reasons, and then vilifying competitors who don’t jump on the bandwagon. (Though, of course, completely Google’s prerogative.) But it’s particularly hypocritical when Google is still happily censoring its search and YouTube products for other countries.
France, Germany, and Poland are among the many countries that have laws against various forms of 'hate speech', and against saying anything that denies or diminishes the Holocaust.
But in most countries with such laws, Google search results are unaffected. For these guys, Google removes a number of offending neo-Nazi groups.
Sample search term: stormfront (for Google.fr and Google.de)
Google recently took a stand against the Australian government's request that it block Australians from viewing YouTube videos that violate a wide range of laws, including videos that contain information on euthanasia and safer drug use.
But Google has been cooperative on other matters. The (vile) entry on Aborigines in the Encyclopedia Dramatica, Wikipedia for the 4chan crowd, has been removed from Google.au results.
Sample search term: dramatica aborigines
Google's policies in Thailand are perhaps the most comparable to the sort of censorship the company now considers evil in China.
Thailand has laws against making fun of the country's king. Google has been kind enough to block access to YouTube videos that run afoul of this rule.
When asked, Google agreed to block access in Turkey to YouTube videos that mock the country's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, depicting him as gay.
Unfortunately, this wasn't enough for the Turkish government. When Google refused to go the extra mile and remove such videos altogether, Turkey blocked access to YouTube.
Google yanks all sorts of search results from its Indian site. One of the categories the Indian government has it go after is pornography.
You can see how well that's working out here.
Sample search term: porn
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