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Brin says Google compromised principles
twinsrul




msg:1237505
 5:49 am on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WASHINGTON - Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged Tuesday the dominant Internet company has compromised its principles by accommodating Chinese censorship demands. He said Google is wrestling to make the deal work before deciding whether to reverse course.

Full Story [mercurynews.com]

Very interested to see if this chinese experiment continues. I doubt it lasts.

 

percentages




msg:1237506
 6:58 am on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Very interested to see if this Chinese experiment continues. I doubt it lasts.

"experiment"?....this is not an experiment, it is one cost of doing business with China today. I would be astonished if Google pulled out, it would send their stock price down the tubes.

Brin is either very naive, very dishonest, or more likely very upset that China has recently become a closer bed-partner of MS!

How big of an embarrassment can it be when the President of China decides his first stop on a trip to the US should be dinner with Bill Gates, later he will fit in GWB if he has time, and Google aren't even offered the leftovers?

Brin knew he compromised principles the day they made an agreement with China......now he wants to take the bat and ball away because they favor other team players?

Google's competitors must be lapping up this show of insensitivity on Brin's part to the Chinese people and government.

Gates has been working on China for 20 years, Brin thinks he can find a result in the next 10 minutes?

Henry Kissinger, will explain that 20 years of negotiations with China is a drop in the ocean, the Chinese people think and strategize over the span of many lifetimes.

Brin needs to develop a strategy that goes far beyond his mortality.

MichaelEng




msg:1237507
 12:18 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

What are Google's principles? "Do No Evil?" Or is it something about making all information available to everyone?

I'm no expert on Chinese culture, but who are Google to judge what China chooses to censor.

The head of Yahoo China - Jack Ma, gave some insight on the situation in China, where he felt that if China was all of sudden allowed uncensored access to all information it would create a huge problem with it's 1 billion population. He also said that the internet is having a huge positive econonic effect on the Chinese people.

A Censored google.cn can't be considered Evil and doesn't really comprimise principles.

oddsod




msg:1237508
 12:32 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

where he felt that if China was all of sudden allowed uncensored access to all information it would create a huge problem with it's 1 billion population

Pray, what kind of problem?

Essex_boy




msg:1237509
 12:41 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

indeed

whoisgregg




msg:1237510
 1:01 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Most information is better than no information.

Sometimes doing "no" evil isn't an option, and you have to be content with doing "less" evil.

MichaelEng




msg:1237511
 1:21 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

oddsod,

Jack Ma, was just saying that if you have a country with a population of 1 billion people who have not had access to the Western way of life and all of a sudden they are exposed to a different world, you could potentially have chaos or a revolution on their hands.

I wish I could find his interview, because he put it across really well.

graeme_p




msg:1237512
 1:30 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I really do not see what is wrong with what Google did in the first place.

If you do business in any country, you follow their laws.

Google's critics are hypocrites:

1) They do not expect anyone other than Google (and perhaps a few other internet companies) to boycott Yahoo.
2) They do not expect Google to break the law anywhere else - most countries have some sort of censorship (de facto if not officially).

I do not like censorship but I do not think it is realistic to expect Google to bring about political reform as well as provide search.

oddsod




msg:1237513
 1:31 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Whichever way he diced it - keeping people ignorant is not the best way to achieve "huge positive economic effect" ;)

[edited by: oddsod at 1:36 pm (utc) on June 7, 2006]

amanS




msg:1237514
 1:35 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google may be more clever then I thought. They have the best of both worlds, they are in China but wining about being there, to maintain their positive image.

When they first did this China thing, I thought it was because they wanted to be one of the first Search Engines in that country, even if they had to be censored. Eventually the censorship would end (some day) and they would already be there and well known.

I would be totally surprised if they pulled out.

Edge




msg:1237515
 1:35 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, they are not banning any of my content in China. Does anybody have a general list of the topics which are banned in China?

Personnaly, there are subjects I would not object to being banned in this country..

wmuser




msg:1237516
 2:02 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Either Brin is too naive either he is playing a game with Chineese government
Time will show,however rarely Google will leave Chineese market and they will accept "censorhsip" rule of the game

Anolonda




msg:1237517
 2:23 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

uhhh...? What principles?

jomaxx




msg:1237518
 2:26 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

if you have a country with a population of 1 billion people who have not had access to the Western way of life and all of a sudden they are exposed to a different world, you could potentially have chaos or a revolution on their hands

Oh come on, that's ridiculous. This isn't the 1950s "Bamboo Curtain". The Chinese have been plenty exposed to the Western way of life, and anyone with Web access can find virtually anything they want. <snip>

[edited by: trillianjedi at 3:50 pm (utc) on June 10, 2006]
[edit reason] Let's not go into politics please.... [/edit]

isaacvetter




msg:1237519
 2:55 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)


Well, they are not banning any of my content in China. Does anybody have a general list of the topics which are banned in China?

The example frequently given is this:
[google.com...]
versus
[google.cn...]

The interesting thing about China's culture influencing it's Great Firewall, is that there really isn't a master list. ISP's are expected to police this content themselves. Awards are given out for the most responsible censorship.

Slashdot has hashed this topic out well:
[yro.slashdot.org...]
[yro.slashdot.org...]
[politics.slashdot.org...]

Isaac Vetter

Jack_Hughes




msg:1237520
 3:51 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is an interesting question. The western companies currently compromising their principles in china may well end up being the losers.

if I were chinese, I would take a very dim view of a western company shopping my fellow citizens whilst spouting liberal "do no evil" propaganda. I could forgive local companies, because they have no choice, western companies have a choice.

Draconian




msg:1237521
 6:58 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

lmao, those search results definetely do not compliment each other XD. Poor China....

ryanjensen




msg:1237522
 5:23 am on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

whoisgregg: Sometimes doing "no" evil isn't an option, and you have to be content with doing "less" evil.

Reminds me of an Ayn Rand quote: "In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit."

- Ryan Jensen

UserFriendly




msg:1237523
 10:56 am on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Does no one else get a redirect to google.com from google.cn?

whoisgregg




msg:1237524
 1:19 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

whoisgregg: Sometimes doing "no" evil isn't an option, and you have to be content with doing "less" evil.

Reminds me of an Ayn Rand quote: "In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit."

- Ryan Jensen

Show me a decision that doesn't have both positive and negative moral outcomes. Every choice, at some level, harms and benefits someone or something.

Every choice a search engine has with regards to China is somewhat "evil." If we pretend that each search engine makes the same decision (in a fantasy utopia where everyone makes the same moral choice), let's assess the outcomes:

1. Don't go in at all.
     Evil because China's people would lack access to powerful tools for locating information. Everyone back home gets to talk about their principles while the lack of access to information continues to stifle a billion people.
2. Go in, and ignore local law.
     China will kick them out, so that's the same as #1.
3. Go in and censor some results.
     Evil because it's censoring information that would be *very* important to every Chinese citizen. Long term, the dramatic increase in available knowledge will be Good. (Notice the capital "g.")

We know that each business will make different decisions, so that adds the moral complexity of factoring in survival to the equation.

Let's take the same view that Google took in the first place. It's better to be there and hopefully get the chance to work the system from inside than to stand and watch from outside.

Jack_Hughes




msg:1237525
 2:15 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think that choice #1 might be mildly inconvenient not evil.

google has a choice just like all of the other search engines. if it was just down to filtering a few sites out I could understand but the rules in china go further than that. they want ISPs and the SEs to shop people to the police for doing perfectly reasonable things. that is completely unsatisfactory and google and the rest should be truly ashamed of themselves. putting the might buck above their principles. its not like mr brin is short of a buck or two.

wmuser




msg:1237526
 3:01 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I guess there is no gold key to freedom of speesh and making a business in China but its about a moral choise whether they will make $$ and filter obvious results or will not go to China as many search engines did
Also i am not sure if teh market worth it as i have rarely seen a Chineese user buying anything in the internet by credit card,of course they still can advertise offline local Chineese companies

tntpower




msg:1237527
 3:59 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Another G$ style marketing for the company and for its founders

tntpower




msg:1237528
 4:03 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Also i am not sure if teh market worth it as i have rarely seen a Chineese user buying anything in the internet by credit card

Buddy? Do you really think CC is the best way to pay online? At least I do not think so. Ever hear about charge back? Fraud?

If you can charge customers from their banking/cheque account directly, would you still use CC?

Most Chinese online businesses do charge customer banking account, instead of CC.

rohitj




msg:1237529
 4:15 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

it wouldn't make a difference if a user is paying via credit card or directly from their bank account. In any case, you could be vulnerable to a chargeback. Any back that didn't offer some fraud protection for checking/debit wouldn't last very long in this age with identity theft.

jomaxx




msg:1237530
 4:32 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ayn Rand quote: "In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit."

Right, and buying this would lead Page and Brin to that place where they have to blow up their company rather than compromise their vision in any way.

deep_alley




msg:1237531
 4:41 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Its all about the money...no one can leave China out of any equation because its such a big player in todays economic world.

tntpower




msg:1237532
 4:50 pm on Jun 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

it wouldn't make a difference if a user is paying via credit card or directly from their bank account. In any case, you could be vulnerable to a chargeback. Any back that didn't offer some fraud protection for checking/debit wouldn't last very long in this age with identity theft.

No.

When paying via banking account, consumers are supposed to be accountable for all matters, not merchants.

Just like Visa's Visa Verified service. If you accept a payment from a customer wish Visa Verified service. Later, the cusomer behind the CC claims it is a fraud. Visa Corp will be accountable for that, not you. And you will not lose any penny.

trillianjedi




msg:1237533
 3:56 pm on Jun 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sorry guys I've had to do some major surgery in here to remove the policital stuff. Please, let's not go there. It's not what we do here - and threads go downhill so rapidly when it happens.

Let's stick if we can to the financials and the general principle of Google compromising it's mission statement and the effect that may have on public perception of GOOG.

TJ

ZoltanTheBold




msg:1237534
 10:32 pm on Jun 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

A Censored google.cn can't be considered Evil and doesn't really comprimise principles.

"Evil" was Google's choice of wording, not anybody elses. Naive though it may have been it was the fluffy, feelgood image it created that helped them get on. Ditching it so quickly when money was dangled in front of them simply showed them for what they are.

Whilst the word "evil" is vague and could really mean anything (for example, I don't think Google murder people so in that sense they're "good") we can probably understand it to mean "wrong", in the sense of "Do No Wrong". Since one of their stated aims is free, unfettered access to the worlds information then they are evidently doing wrong in China. If that's not compromising your own principles then what is?

Sometimes doing "no" evil isn't an option, and you have to be content with doing "less" evil

This is indeed true, but, again, it was Google who insisted on doing no evil, rather than less. Then again, "Do Less Evil, If Convenient" hasn't really got the same ring to it.

I really do not see what is wrong with what Google did in the first place.

They ditched their own principles, see above.

if I were chinese, I would take a very dim view of a western company shopping my fellow citizens whilst spouting liberal "do no evil" propaganda. I could forgive local companies, because they have no choice, western companies have a choice.

Yes indeed. After the revolution first against the wall are always the collaborators. Whilst revolution is unlikely, change is almost certain. The Chinese govs main worry is not guns or military action (they have so much potential in terms of men available for active duty nobody can seriously challenge them and leave the country intact) it is of course ideas, they great worry of all dictatorships. A lot of what we read online might be easily forgettable but we can look at what we like when we like. If you live in a rigid society where the powers that be are used to state-controlled TV, radio and press the internet must seem like your worst nightmare.

Before I'm flamed I should say I don't look to publicly traded companies to attend to the worlds ethical dilemmas, but by the same token I don't cut them any slack when they are so evidently two-faced (Google) or help send people to jail (Yahoo). They're in it for the money, but this kind of healthy debate is the bit they don't yet control, and ironically the bit the Chinese government are most scared of. And it is that principle, the principle of freedom and equality to all, that is worth championing even on a forum that oppressed people can't access since Google et al evidently won't.

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