Monday, February 27, 2006

[News] Google in China

Oy, where to begin...

I initially had the same knee-jerk reaction as everyone else. "But, their motto is 'Don't Be Evil', how could they do this?" But after pondering it and considering the situation in the larger context, I believe Google made the right choice. The proper, moral, _Good_ choice. I further believe that refusing to do business in China at all would have, in fact, been evil.

And the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that people still in the "Google=evil" stage just haven't thought it all the way through yet. But that's just my opinion; we can agree to disagree. ^_^

But, how about a quick experiment?

Step one: Look around you. How many objects can you see just in the room you are in right now that were made in China? Unless the answer is ZERO, _you_ are doing business with China. You are supporting them.

Does that make you evil?

Step two: Ah, Slashdot. How I love thee.

Part A: Defeat the censorship.
Use elgooG
Spell poorly

Part B: Relevant Results
275 hits, that's WITH the censorship in place. If you thought there would be zero hits, you'd be mistaken.

Part C: Comments
I used to live in a totalitarian regime for the first half of my life and know the effects of government censorship. I have to tell you that if I should choose whether to have google with censorship or not have it at all, its clear what I would choose. I would indeed perceive it as a great evil if Google would withdraw their services from me because of someone's quite stupid elitist opinion.
It's by no means obvious to me that "provide nothing" is less evil than "provide partial."
The fascinating news for me is Google, a private company standing up to the fascist tyranny of the US government.
Aside from the fact that it should be the job of the US poulation to do this, and the profound irony of a corporation standing up for rights the ordinary individual is too apathetic and mentally lazy to deal with there is the hilarious spectre of Washington chastising Google and Yahoo over their censorship. Could the irony be any richer?
Just because Google is an American company, it is not within reason for it to impose American ideology on another nation. While doing business within a market sponsored and regulated by another government, it is only fair that you play by their rules. Google is NOT a liberation army, they are not defenders of democracy or freedom; nor is it their right to assume such a role in a foreign land.
Most of the comments here and the other articles on the subject follow the "everything or nothing" mentality. This is typical when asking for opinions of people not directly affected by the matter. Most of you being outside China, it is easy to claim that you would rather not use Google at all instead of use a reliable service with certain "sensitive" pages filtered.
For someone who is currently living in China and using it daily, I am very glad they made this particular decision. For those condemning Google for not sticking to "Don't Be Evil" or for selling out, consider this - which is the greater evil, to filter out some information (and let people know it _is_ being filtered), or to deny them access to information altogether?

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