Saturday, January 21, 2006

Google this!

This is amusing. And how two-faced Google is. Right now they are resisting a DoJ subpeona for two months of search engine activity so DoJ can guestimate how much search activity is for child pornography. Meanwhile in the People's Republic of China, Google has agreed to make its search results more transparent to government surveillance.

I have to ask Google one question, why fight for civil liberties in the United States but not in the PRC? Is it perhaps because in the US you could be jailed but not tortured like in the PRC? Or like Eason Jordan's CNN in Saddam's Iraq, they want to stay in the PRC market and are willing to allow the government snoop, arrest, and convict citizens who do not share the official party line to keep that market share? Or is it simpler, that Google sees the PRC as a friend while viewing the United States as an opponent?

Until this apparent contradiction is answered then Google will be in the camp of fellow-travelers. And everyone should treat Google with caution since Google may turn you over to totalitarian regiemes unless you like kiddy-porn in the United States then you are safe because Google will protect you.


Anonymous said...

the unfortunate thing is that all the big internet companies will capitulate in china in order to do business there. of course, the flip side, always hard question, is whether it might be better for the citizens of china to have the companies there, even if they are complicit in the government's surveillence.

see this recent yahoo "betrayal" of user data. Link

Anna said...

Correct you are, Yahoo! and AOL also turned turf on Chinese Internet users at the request of the PRC government.

However while Google refuses the DoJ request, both AOL and Yahoo! have turned over information the DoJ requested in regards to search engine traffic for child pornography.

So you can understand by kvetching at Google.