China? Where have I heard this before…

Posted: January 13, 2010 by datechguy in internet/free speech
Tags: , ,

Way back in the hiwired blog days I put up these posts concerning China and google when they first agreed to censor the net for China, contrary to their “Do no Evil policy”.

We covered China a lot in the HiWired blog days (and kudos to the bosses at HiWired back then for letting us do it) , in those days Yahoo and Microsoft were the primary villains.

Now Google may have had enough enough:

We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.”

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

The statement is good but time will tell if it actually means anything.

Lileks tweats it best

Google lies down with dogs, wakes, does search for “flea treatment”

Nobody is telling me that they didn’t know stuff like this was going to happen or going on. I think that Plausible deniability just didn’t exist this time.

I hope I’m wrong, I hope it’s a real wake-up call but time will have to tell

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