China Adds Search Engines To Its Censorship-By-Guilt Plan; How Will Google Respond?

from the fix-it-yourselves dept

It's well known that the Great Firewall censorship brigade in China employs tens of thousands of people monitoring what's said across the internet -- but perhaps far more effective has been the fear factor imposed on various ISPs by the government threatening them with punishment, if they don't ban unacceptable content. Of course, the government doesn't define what exactly is unacceptable, leading the ISPs to over-ban in order to protect themselves. Mostly, this effort has focused on internet access providers, but it looks like the government is now expanding it to search engines as well, after the government publicly named and shamed both Google and Baidu for failing to prevent access to "undesirable" content such as pornography.

This may prove to be an interesting test for Google, which was widely criticized for its original move into China, whereby it agreed to block content as designated by the Chinese government -- while alerting users to the fact that the content is blocked. That was Google's way of striking a compromise, while trying to call attention to the censorship (perhaps in the hope that it would eventually cause the policy to be changed). However, if Google is now getting pressure to be more proactive in determining what's "unacceptable," rather than just blocking specific content designated by the government, things could get a lot trickier for Google. Of course, some might point out that this was the slippery slope that Google put itself on when it first made the deal to get into China.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    George Johnston, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 4:58pm

    Speaking of fear and loathing...

    How is the US ban on gambling sites working?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 5:05pm

    Hopefully - What happens in China stays in China.

    How do they keep those tens of thousands of human censors from exposure to the toxic nature of the unfiltered internet ? Surely there is some form of counciling provided for these distraught pioneers of the 21 st century.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    christopher, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 5:53pm

    How shame and/or guilt works.

    China says Google provides pornography links.

    The correct response to this would be: so what?

    Oh, they reply, you do not care for the well-being of children?

    The correct response to this would be: it is not our responsibility to shoulder the responsibilities of others.

    Or Google cuts them off from access, which is really how we should be dealing with Communist nations and the like. If the people can't or won't rise up, too bad. 1.2 billion people and not a pair of balls among you.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 5:59pm

    shouldn't all alcohol be illegal because kids can get their hands on it?


    so you don't care about our children?

    The fact of the matter is that you need to actually put some blame on the people actually committing the act. if kids go on porn websites its the kids fault, or the parents fault for not keeping tabs on their kids, not google's fault. you cant blame ford if you get hit by a drunk driver.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Charles (profile), Jan 5th, 2009 @ 6:40pm

    Re: How shame and/or guilt works.

    1.2 billion people. Most don't care about the censorship anyways. You can't miss something that was never there. Without the 9/11 attacks, do you think most of America even wants to be in the Middle East?

    On the other hand, Americans are so used to pornography that they find it fine. I'm sure poor countries without much internet do fine without porn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    toby, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 6:41pm

    Google is at fault

    and its a real shame that the country of China has to be the one to point out the fact that Google is intentionally using porn to draw more users to its search browser. Case in Point. Google terms "Thai girl" "Asian girl" and "Caucasion girl" . What do you see listed for the very first listing? Porn and prostitution for terms thai and asian girl but not for caucasion girl. This is demeaning to Asian women the majority who are not prostitutes. Not only do they promote porn but they promote stereotypes. If I want porn then I will Google it using the term "Asian porn girls" I think Google is a disgrace and they don't give a shiot!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Google is at fault

    ha ha ha
    pretty funny
    Note, you could've developed the outrage a bit further before the misspelled word, but overall a good attempt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    David, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 9:14pm

    Re: Re: Google is at fault

    I think (hopefully) that is hyperbole...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Luci, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 2:44am

    Re: Re: How shame and/or guilt works.

    Even WITH the 9/11 attacks most Americans did not want to be in the Middle East. Or more specifically, did not want to invade a country that was not even involved in the attacks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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