Monday, January 30, 2006

Google Wars

Google, being the driving force in search engines these days, seems to make no one happy. In order to get a stronger foothold in the vast Chinese market, Google chose to censor the search results of its Google China search engine. In protest,a friend of mine, along with others I am sure, pulled his Google Adsense service and removed Google links from his websites. Oddly, just a few weeks earlier Google received mounds of praise for standing up to White House requests for information on who searches for what.

Of course Republo Boobs like Rep. Chris Smith R-NJ, heard of the House Subcommittee on Human Rights in typical hypocrisy is calling for a hearing to examine the operating procedures of US companies in China. Specifically, Smith accused Google of "collaborating with persecutors". "It is astounding that Google, whose corporate philosophy is "don't be evil"; would enable evil by cooperating with China's censorship policies just to make a buck," he said.

What is more astounding is the same people who want to require Google to give up information on who searches for what make a big deal of this because it is in "evil" China. To refresh your memory, Google refused a Bush administration demand for a peek at what millions of people have been looking up, a request that underscores the potential for online databases to become tools for government surveillance. And as a tool to resurrect a law that the Supreme Court overturned,making it more difficult to access "sites that are a harm to children", such as GLBT sites, "pornography", "anti-family" know the routine. Google rightfully refused. So it seems, The Bush administration and China really are on the same page.

Google is in the middle of the old rock and a hard place. Their rationale in China was to gain a foothold in the market and work within to make changes. Supporters argue that even with some things censored, Google will give Chinese web surfers access to more information than what they have now. Some of the same things censored in China are the same things the Bushites want to censor: gay sites, pornography, family planning, and dissident sites. Their battle with Bush is over the right to privacy, which is under constant attack from the Bushites.

Google's stated corporate philosophy is "Don't be evil". This then leads us to debate what exactly is evil. Maybe switching on one filtered light will begin to illuminate the world. One thing for sure, people make better decisions with better information.

No comments: