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Search engine companies are working hard to try and operate properly in China

Google's decision to censor material for the restrictive Chinese government has been a rather unpopular move, and has brought a lot of criticism.  Google CEO Eric Schmidt, working hard to defend the company against criticism, recently held a press conference aimed to clear a few things up.  Schmidt announced the creation of a research center that will create products for the international market.

Along with publicly announcing the research center, he stated that Google's Chinese-brand name is "Gu Ge," which means "Valley Song." -- a name the company picked because of its "rural traditions."  Google e-mail and blog services will likely not be introduced to Chinese users, because those services would increase the likelihood of Google having to turn over personal information of its users to the government.  The Seattle Times writes: 

"We have all made commitments to the government that we will absolutely follow Chinese law. We don't have any alternative," Schmidt said at a news conference.

Because China is second only behind the United States in the number of users online, search engine companies are willing to agree to restrictions that would not sit well in the US.  Some Internet users believe that it is okay for the companies to filter search results, but it is absolutely despicable if Google and Yahoo turn over information to the Chinese government.

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Filtering is Necessary
By TomZ on 4/13/2006 12:33:31 PM , Rating: 3
I don't see what the big controversy is. If google doesn't filter their search results, then the Chinese government will simply block the service entirely. At least this way, Chinese people can have some of the benefits of google.

Turning over information, however... that's just plain wrong.

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By creathir on 4/13/06, Rating: 0
RE: Filtering is Necessary
By TheBaker on 4/13/2006 1:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
Being a shill and aiding the propoganda of the communists is also plain wrong...

So it's better to just offer them nothing rather than try and get your foot in the door?

"Hmmm...They won't let their people see anything right now. But, they won't let me show them everything either....Oh, well, then screw them."

Come on, this is how the Soviet Union crumbled. In order to compete with the US, they had to relax some restrictions in order to allow their economy to grow. Once the people got a taste of it, they demanded more and more until the whole government collapsed. China is on the same path, and every little bit helps. Their economy is already growing by leaps and bounds, and their government can't afford to stifle that growth. Leave Google alone, they're taking a first step.

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By Mr Perfect on 4/13/2006 6:58:41 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't support them at all, personally. The Soviet Union fell because it went bankrupt due to the arms race, not because we opened a McDonalds in Moscow.

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By RandomFool on 4/13/2006 1:45:19 PM , Rating: 3
Google is just doing what any company would do in the same situation they are after all created to make money. I don't agree with China's laws but if I was oveer there I'd take limited access to information over no access any day.

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By jcolonial7 on 4/13/2006 7:29:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point is Google is essentially legitimizing communist China's iron grip on the people's rights (or lack thereof). It really doesn't help the people to have Google say "we don't care about the people's rights, just let us make our money off them and we'll do whatever it takes". It gives the government a way to say "hey, we gave the people access to Google and that's more than enough. now shut the hell up". So yes, it is a little worse than the average company out there just to make money. Google is making it harder for the people to rally around a cause like fair internet use and win the right to search "Taiwan" or "Tiananmen Protest" without propaganda.

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By TomZ on 4/13/2006 10:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point is Google is essentially legitimizing communist China's iron grip on the people's rights (or lack thereof).

Well, like it or not, the Chinese government is already the legitimate government of China, and it is up to them to determine what rights to permit its citizens. Google's actions don't in any way make the government "more legitimate."

I think we tend to forget that China is a communist society, and what that really means . Think about it for a moment... You are trying to assert liberties for Chinese citizens that do not legally exist in China. You are condemning google for deciding to not break Chinese law, which would certainly cause their content to be banned entirely.

At least if Google lives with the restrictions, Chinese citizens do have the benefit of Google's services, which is far better than if they didn't.

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By nyogen on 4/14/2006 8:22:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeap, excellent point ! How do you spell legitimate by the way ? Like in : "all the "illegitimate legitimate" " are too dead to form any other government or like in "legitimate crimes against own people and humanity e.g. Tibet, Tian square etc..." ? How much is your life worth ? Ask Google, Bush, the oil companies and all the corporations vampirizing on cheap labour force, for reference on human life value under the NYSE rules. And get a life if they give you permission !

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By jcolonial7 on 4/14/2006 10:24:58 AM , Rating: 2
Well let's see, slavery was perfectly legal in the U.S. for a long time. Does that mean there was nothing wrong with making money off the plight of millions? This is what I meant by legitimacy.

Google is fully complying with policies that the chinese people themselves perceive as unjust. Sure it's up to the chinese government to determine what rights to permit its citizens, just like plantation owners could determine how cruelly to abuse their slaves. That doesn't really make it fair/just/right for some company to come in and profit off those policies.

Again, I don't think anyone is arguing the legality of Google's actions or the legality of china's government. We're talking about questions of values, and in this case I think Google has chosen a poor set of values, especially for a group that promotes itself with the motto "do no harm".

I'm saying that by cooperating, Google has established a sense that they're fine with those restrictions and that the chinese people should be too. It's not enough to simply live by the law if you want to gain popular support or avoid value-based criticism.

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By TomZ on 4/14/2006 2:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
There's a big difference, morally, between slavery and filtering Google searches. We have to make a clear separation between what Google is cooperating with - filtered searches - and the more serious human rights violations the Chinese government apparently commits. I don't think there is any evidence that Google has been even remotely involved in the latter.

I think you're advocating that Google take an all-or-nothing approach with the Chinese government, which is really idealistic and not at all productive or realistic. Clearly the Chinese government will not change their position one bit, and thus the net effect will be that Google would be banned from China. That would be "doing harm" to Chinese citizens.

RE: Filtering is Necessary
By mghofran on 4/16/2006 6:42:35 PM , Rating: 2

Maybe google has already been in bed with the patriots' act and that's why it was no skin off thier back to accomidate the Chineese! Shame on anyone who takes part on degrading the greatest freedom that we have in this country.

Matthew from Boston

in my view
By Wwhat on 4/14/2006 4:30:28 AM , Rating: 2
I think that google at least should put on their chinese site "search results are censored"
(and on their german/french/US etc sites, wherever they censor)
So that people at least know what's going on so they have something to protest.

RE: in my view
By PrinceGaz on 4/14/2006 5:24:11 AM , Rating: 2
Actually they do say that, more or less. At the bottom of each page of search results it says in chinese what translates as "In compliance with local laws and policies, some search results are not being shown."

RE: in my view
By Wwhat on 4/15/2006 1:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
good show, hope it's in big letters.

Minor setback
By linkinpark342 on 4/14/2006 7:23:54 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter in the end. I mean, after all this is done and a few years have passed, you KNOW that Google will be the next superpower. We'll see if China will force them to filter results when they are looking at the Google(tm) Nuke

Triangle boy anyone??
By Yames on 4/14/2006 5:10:20 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I know the CIA snatched it up, but I'm sure there is an alternative out there.

Google & china
By crystal clear on 4/13/06, Rating: -1
"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
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