Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hypocritical, Not Evil

In China, Google hides the crimes of the ruling tyrants by censoring the search results of its customers. In the US, Google refuses to respect the requests of a democratically elected US government. That makes Google hypocritical.

Google has agreed to censor specific topics out of search results in China (my ellipsis):

"In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn, in response to local law, regulation or policy," (Google) said in a statement issued yesterday. The search terms blocked will include what are known as the "the three t’s and the two c’s": references to Taiwanese or Tibetan independence, the Tiananmen massacre, cult-related searches, which may trigger reference to the banned Falun Gong organisation, and information about Communist party supremacy.
I guess they'll add the "two fs" - Freedom and Faith. Still, Google faced a bleak choice - either fall in line, or leave the market to Yahoo and Microsoft, who have already caved. If the tyrants agree, they'll be honest about their censorship:
In an attempt to be more transparent than its rivals, Google said that it would inform users that certain web pages had been removed from the list of results by order of the government.
Yet when the elected US government makes reasonable and legitimate demands , Google defies them:
...Google is resisting efforts by the US Department of Justice to force it to hand over data about what people are looking for.

Google was asked for information on the types of query submitted over a week, and the websites included in its index...the Department of Justice has said that several of Google's main competitors have already complied.

It wants:

A list of terms entered into the search engine during an unspecified single week, potentially tens of millions of queries.

A million randomly selected web addresses from various Google databases.

The US government is seeking to defend the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, which has been blocked by the Supreme Court because of legal challenges over how it is enforced.
Handing over this information harms nobody except kids searching for porn, and respects a law passed by the democratically Congress (on Clinton's watch!). If Google thinks the requested information breaches any person's privacy (highly unlikely), they can offer an alternative dataset.

Otherwise, Google is obeying the dictats of Chinese tyrants and opposing the laws of the US, and that's hypocrisy.