Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Google is helping its business partners in Beijing airbrush Jesus Christ right off the Chinese internet"

Not making this up. Thanks, Blogsnow for the link...

This is a very serious issue. Google has put its financial bottom line over basic human rights. An American company is assisting the Chinese government in a Stalinistic airbrushing of faith from the internet. That Google is helping Beijing wipe Jesus Christ off the web at the same time that it is defying a fairly routine request from the US government for search data to determine if kids are accessing hard core p)rn is unconscionable. I honestly don’t know how Google’s execs sleep at night.

I am linking here with some reluctance. This is one of the many sites that seem to enjoy the bash-Jimmy-Carter cottage industry (see his preceding post) but I try to look at content more than form. There's a saying that even a blind hog will sometimes find an acorn in the woods.

Google responds at the Official Google Blog...
Launching a Google domain that restricts information in any way isn't a step we took lightly. For several years, we've debated whether entering the Chinese market at this point in history could be consistent with our mission and values. Our executives have spent a lot of time in recent months talking with many people, ranging from those who applaud the Chinese government for its embrace of a market economy and its lifting of 400 million people out of poverty to those who disagree with many of the Chinese government's policies, but who wish the best for China and its people. We ultimately reached our decision by asking ourselves which course would most effectively further Google's mission to organize the world's information and make it universally useful and accessible. Or, put simply: how can we provide the greatest access to information to the greatest number of people?

More at the link. I tend to side with Google on this one. Half a loaf is better than no loaf at all.

It looks like this is developing into some kind of flap.
Judith Weiss brings it to everyone's attention.
Google is getting beat up pretty bad. (I almost said "taking a lot of hits" but it seemed tacky.)Plenty of people on high horses of principle, don't you know.
In his own coy manner, even Glenn Reynolds is piling on with the multitudes calling for public stoning. Or at least a few hours in the hot sun sitting in the stocks.
Well I just came across a different story touching on principles that is in darker shadows of principle than this one. It seems that U.S. forces (or their, uh...surrogates, maybe?...are fighting fire with fire with hostage-takers.
By siezing and holding wives or family members of "insurgents" or "suspected insurgents."
Now that is what I call a slippery slope, indeed.
I think this calls for a different post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog.

To the Jesus issue - I would have never thought that excluding Jesus from the internet could be seen as human rights abuse. Admittedly being an atheist I see it as an escape from guilt, shame and all the other wonderful trappings of organised religion. I am also a believer in free speech. And it is this that is so terrible about Google's decision. In effect, Google and the Chinese government are committing the same crime - allowing censorship to interfere with people's ability to express themselves. We will win quicker if we recognise the correct crimes.

To the Google Blog comment. This is Benthamite Utilitarianism - the greatest good for the greatest number. This will further drive the wedge of censorship into the internet...we have cause for concern.