While everyone cheers Google (GOOG) for ending government-mandated censorship of Chinese search results, it’s important to remember that this sensitive issue isn’t always so cut and dry.
For example, in Australia — where Google does censor some search results at the government’s request — there is an increasingly heated free speech debate over a game called “RapeLay.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, in this downloadable game, “players earn points for acts of sexual violence, including following girls on commuter trains, raping virgins and their mothers, and then forcing them to have abortions.”
Australian communications minister Stephen Conroy says he’d like a law that would force Google to censor links to places where the game could be downloaded.
But a poll of 45,000 Sydney Morning Herald readers came out strongly against Internet censorship, 96% to 3% (with 1% admitting to being dully “indifferent”).
Here’s how an Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesperson defended this stance:
Those who want to will be able to get around the filter, and the content will be quickly copied from site to site. Games like this will only ever represent a tiny minority, and the proper response is largely parental, to make sure kids aren’t getting their hands on them.
eBay (EBAY) and Amazon (AMZN) have already banned RapeLay from their servers. Meanwhile, here’s what the Australian version of Google’s search engine pulls up when you search for “Download RapeLay”:
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