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Associated Press Story On Google Possibly Censorsoring Links in China
China Syndrome Continues.
Brett_Tabke




msg:135735
 8:20 pm on Sep 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

[ctv.ca...]

SAN FRANCISCO Google Inc.'s recently launched news service in China doesn't display results from Web sites blocked by that country's authorities, raising prickly questions for an online search engine that has famously promised to "do no evil.''

Dynamic Internet Technology Inc., a research firm striving to defeat online censorship, conducted tests that found Google omits results from the government-banned sites if search requests are made through computers connecting to the Internet in China.


 

dauction




msg:135736
 9:14 pm on Sep 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google has their foot in Chinas door..it would be rather ignorant for Google to have the door to a market nearly 2 billion people shut in it's face for acting without patience.
As google grows in China so will it's contacts, associations and hence it's ability to opening up it's search ..

Making blowehard demands dosent work at the post office in the US let alone to China rulers.

Goolge is taking the correct approach IMO..

Get your foot in the door ..expand your contacts and influence opening your search a bit broader every year to the people of China..

cabbie




msg:135737
 9:19 pm on Sep 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google are in between a rock and a hard place here.I think they have got the balance right and are doing as much as they can do to foster international goodwill.The Chinese Government are the representatives of the Chinese people and there is far too much of countries projecting their own standards and ethics on to other countries as it is.

div01




msg:135738
 12:56 am on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not to be picky and to get the facts right, China is far from a 2 billion person economy, it is more around 1.3 billion.

plumsauce




msg:135739
 6:33 am on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)


presenting an inaccurate index for purely political motivations is by another name, kissing ass.

grelmar




msg:135740
 6:39 am on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ok, let's think this through a bit....

The Chinese government is effectively that country's only ISP, and if it decides to block certain websites, then you pretty much don't have access to them in china. As an ISP, it's not a terribly difficult thing to simply block all info coming from domain "enemyofthepeoplesliberationarmy.com".

So, exactly what would be the point of google serving up search results from a domain you wouldn't be able to see anyway?

rfgdxm1




msg:135741
 6:39 am on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>presenting an inaccurate index for purely political motivations is by another name, kissing ass.

Yep. To Google, "do no evil" just means do nothing to diminish profits. Greed is good.

rfgdxm1




msg:135742
 6:43 am on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>So, exactly what would be the point of google serving up search results from a domain you wouldn't be able to see anyway?

I gather you know nothing about web proxies? Anyone in China with half a clue could get around this.

SlyOldDog




msg:135743
 7:41 am on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wonder if that research group realized that Google's regional results are not always the same as the US results.

Oh my god, Spain and Germany are censoring results too!

Must call the newspaper tomorrow!

Marval




msg:135744
 11:55 am on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I know I've brought this up a long time ago (about a year ago), but Google has been doing the same thing for English language vs. overseas (Europe and Asian language) indexes for "objectionable content" in the eyes of the current political climate in the US. They have removed at least 6 sites that I know of in the top 50 results for a keyword in the displayed English language (hl=en) SERPs although they are displayed in the index if you change the language to es or just about any other hl=value.
I did ask Googleguy about it back when he was a regualr contributor here, and was told that was part of their wanting to display "PG" rated results for that keyword. Sticky me for an example if you want to see both the algo changes that are made and an example of a manual placement due to this "political correctness" filter

grelmar




msg:135745
 12:25 pm on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I gather you know nothing about web proxies? Anyone in China with half a clue could get around this.

There are ways around any block, but 95% of the surfing population won't know how to do it. The average Chinese surfer isn't going to be leaps and bounds more intelligent than the average Western surfer.

So for 95% of the Chinese surfing population, blocked sites effectively won't exist. Serving up search results from them would be pointless.

And, as mentioned above, Google and other SEs screen results in all their listings, regardless of nation. Google and other SEs don't list info that IS accessible from the web from pages with noindex nofollow pages, which is a form of private censorship. Is that really any different, from an ethical point of view? Just because 1 private individual decides he doesn't want something listed in the index, is that a more ethically sound reason to keep something out of the public eye than when a government decides to limit access to certain information? Not to mention all the things that the engines simply miss.

For the forseeable future, there will be vast chunks of the web that are simply "off the radar" of the major SEs, most of it unintentionally, but some of it very intentionally. The web will always be tweaked for political reasons.

My favorite example: Within a few days of 9/11, "The Book of Destruction" was taken off freespeach.org (only to resurface elsewhere within a few weeks).

Western societies tend to have too much faith in free speach, they believe a myth that it exists in their own societies. It never has, and never will. Google "playing by the rules" in China is no different than google "playing by the rules" in the US, Canada, Europe, or anywhere else.

Oddly, the most "wide open" net tends to be in Russia right now. Go to securityfocus or some other security based watchdog site and do some heavy reading on exactly where all the top hacking sites and servers have been based out of for the past few years.

j4mes




msg:135746
 8:15 pm on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

There are ways around any block, but 95% of the surfing population won't know how to do it.

And surely the remaining 5% could just use www.google.any other TLD?

trimmer80




msg:135747
 8:31 pm on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

My guess would be that the cached pages are the biggest concern for the China Government. This is the easiest way for anyone to see the contents of a page that is banned.

rfgdxm1




msg:135748
 8:32 pm on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>And surely the remaining 5% could just use www.google.any other TLD?

Or just use a proxy in another nation. Sure, the vast majority of Chinese surfers don't know how to do this. But the intellectual elite who matter do. I just assume those with a clue in China know as much as I do. Asians ain't stupid in my experience.

coolkie03




msg:135749
 2:44 am on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

wrong, china gov is not as stupid as you thought, they place the packet filters on routers right now, normal proxy tech doesn't work in china.

SlyOldDog




msg:135750
 8:36 am on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

and all sites using google results are blocked too?

There are a lot of them in many languages.

Lord Majestic




msg:135751
 8:55 am on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

The Chinese Government are the representatives of the Chinese people

As much "representative" as Communist Party was on now defunct USSR.

IMO Google is on a very slippery road now with that censorship.

timster




msg:135752
 12:33 pm on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

So, exactly what would be the point of google serving up search results from a domain you wouldn't be able to see anyway?

That's easy. If you search for, say "Tibet" or "tiananmen massacre" and find that most of the sites are blocked, you'll have a big hint that someone is hiding information from you.

Also, the SERP's will contain some of that information.

It's more like "See no evil, hear no evil" at Google these days.

GreatVista




msg:135753
 1:14 pm on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

sigh...no politics, please.

Jorb




msg:135754
 8:09 pm on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

How is respecting the government and the laws of the countries that Google is in go contrary to their "don't be evil" policy? I firmly believe in free speech, but I don't think we should expect that to be the responsibility of businesses. Why should Google be taking on governments?

Google's restrictions come from the countries it serves. Remember, it is the Chinese government that is the source of the censorship.

SlyOldDog




msg:135755
 8:33 pm on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

>Google's restrictions come from the countries it serves. Remember, it is the Chinese government that is the source of the censorship.

That's all well and good, but there are a couple of issues there.

1) Ethical companies don't do business in dictatorships
2) If there is censorship, is Google hiding it?

homegirl




msg:135756
 1:28 am on Sep 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interestingly, this article does not mention that Xia and DIT are also responsible for Freegate [theregister.co.uk], which allows Chinese users to view blocked sites.

Another article from Epoch Times [english.epochtimes.com] discusses this as well.

Nicke




msg:135757
 7:15 am on Sep 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

China is an huge market and most major companies are keen to get a foot into there, and to do that you have to follow the rules, as in any other country.

I am from Sweden but live in Thailand, last year the government told the ISPs here that they have to block unsuitable websites on a blacklist maintained by the government. I havent found any blocked site yet but as I understood it was mainly targeting adult or gambling websites. (Porn is illegal by law here but still available everywhere "under desk")

Jbrookins




msg:135758
 1:25 pm on Sep 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's all well and good, but there are a couple of issues there.

1) Ethical companies don't do business in dictatorships
2) If there is censorship, is Google hiding it?


This would be all fine and dandy if it wasn't for the fact that these criteria would make virtually every company on the planet unethical. Heck, that makes you unethical just about every time you walk into a store and purchase various products.

Ethics are not an issue at all. They're doing exactly what they have to do to be a presence in China. They won't actually win anything by being Captain America here. You have to pick your battles, and this one isn't theirs to fight. The chinese people are well aware of whats going on, when they're tired of it, they will do something about it.

While I don't like censorship and I'm a huge fan of free speech and open information, I simply don't see how Google has any choice if they want access to one of the largest markets on the planet.

arubicus




msg:135759
 10:46 pm on Sep 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

Jbrookins -

All I have to say is AMEN!

lgn1




msg:135760
 3:17 am on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have always believe that a carrot works better than
a stick. The chinese people will have access to 99% of the information, that we in the West have, and anybody that really cares about the other 1% will find ways to get this information by traditional offline means, anyways.

It sure beats internet access in North Korea.

Bernard Marx




msg:135761
 9:26 am on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

exactly what would be the point of google serving up search results from a domain you wouldn't be able to see anyway?
..and..
Serving up search results from them would be pointless.

The point is The Truth. Pretending these sites do not exist is collusion - plain & simple.

At least fellow humans living in China would know that their vision of the World was being twisted. Perhaps a small text message: "Banned by your government" would give them a fuller idea of the contempt that their 'representatives' hold them in.

The Chinese Government are the representatives of the Chinese people.

Whether any government could be said to be fully representative of its citizens is moot. Witness the extreme polarisation of opinion in The USA today. The Chinese Government don't even confuse the issue by having elections to argue about.

sigh...no politics, please.

Eh?

How could anybody possibly imagine this topic without politics?

The chinese people will have access to 99% of the information, that we in the West have.

Great. So they can have the sneakers, the mobile ringtones, and all that pap, but meaningful opinions from free-thinking individuals? ...well that's just 1% isn't it?

Chndru




msg:135762
 6:12 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

[google.com...]

Lord Majestic




msg:135763
 6:33 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Heck, that makes you unethical just about every time you walk into a store and purchase various products.

Not every company claims "not to be evil" in its mission statement - Google is supposedly different but future will tell whether it is still good old Google or its Google PLC whose directors legal responsibility is to increase shareholders value.

drbrain




msg:135764
 6:40 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Lets change things around a bit. Lets say I make cars here in the US and I want to sell them in China. My cars pass every safety and emissions test here in the home country, but in China, they have different but lower safety and emissions standards in all aspects.

If I want to sell my cars in China, I have to pass the Chinese safety and emissions tests even though my cars have already met a higher safety standard. If I don't, my cars and my company will get kicked out of China until I fall in line.

If freedom of information and speech is such a big deal for you, why haven't you written your representatives to boycott all China trade?

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