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January 26, 2006

Google: Pro-Tyrannical Censorship, Pro-Pedophilia

Google caves to China's demands to censor search results the Chinese government might find embarrassing. Or the Chinese people might find informative or inspiring.

On the other hand...

Google resists American government's request to turn over search information about child porn. With the names and such stripped out-- it's been likened to doctors sharing information about illnesses, where they also don't identify patients by name. The information is collected in aggregate for "big picture" analysis, not to nab individual pedophiles.

So: Google makes a cost-free show of "progressive resistance against the tyrannical Bush regime" by refusing to simply let the government know how many searches for child porn are performed per week and such, but won't stand by its progressive principles when billions of Chinese yuan are on the line.

Methinks the first decision is designed to provide cover for the latter.

Another example of "progressive" institutions finding it easier (and yet "braver") to defy, tweak, or condemn America while collaborating with or apologizing for actual tyranny.

Just curious: Which is more central to the marketplace of ideas? Basic information and dissenting opinion in a tyranny, or everyone's putative "right" to search for dirty pictures of naked children with the impunity of anonymity?

According to Google, it's the latter.

It's amazing how the First Amendment, both by its letter and in its spirit, is so steely adamant on the question of pornography but so flexible and porous regarding political information and argumentation.

"Freedom of speech, while overrated, is absolutely invioable when it comes to 'candid photos' of 13 year old girls in bobby-socks." -- Thomas Jefferson

A Piece of a Loaf Is Better Than No Loaf At All? Greatmoose, a bit of an optimist, sees this as a net positive--

I think you're looking at this backward. Google's presence in China may actually HELP the situation there. I'll explain. You're under the assumption that Google has a CHOICE whether to be censored or not in China. In fact, it's either be censored, or don't come in. What Google has done is say, "OK, we'll be censored, but we're going to tag everything that's censored so that the people will now KNOW they've been censored." Before this, "embarassing" information was simply non-exsistant. Now, people still can't read it, but when Xia Ling searches for "Real Democracy" or "Chinese Human Rights Violations" she'll get back "Sorry, your results have been censored" (or something similar) letting her know that there ARE results, but the Gov't is not allowing her to see them. That's a slight but important improvement to the current situation.

Greatmoose also suggests that the "Chinese Wall" can be breached. Codewords can be used, and in a war of a 10,000 censors versus millions of people determined to defy the censors, the censors will mostly lose.

I suppose. And I guess it's worth pointing out that, when dealing with China, not even the United States itself can afford to be too demanding on human rights. There are realities here. More than a billion of them, and lots of nuclear bombs, too.

Still, I find it amusing that Google grabs its ankles for China but then plays the hard-guy for the United States.


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posted by Ace at 11:39 AM

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