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Of Censorship, Business and Access to Information

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Of Censorship, Business and Access to Information

Postby nakatago » Wed, 13 Jan 2010 11:30 am

CONTEXT: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-approach-to-china.html

As some of you know, Google has a "do no evil" motto. But also as a business, they will try to raise their revenue. In 2006, Google decided to establish Google.cn, agreeing to censor some of their results for China, believing that a moderately censored internet is a lesser evil than no internet for China.

Google, however, claims that they received cyber attacks that aim to access information from activists that advocate human rights for China. This prompted them to rethink their business in China. They are now planning to drop censorship altogether but will discuss with the Chinese government if they can do this and if not, just close shop in China.

Some people praised Google for finally taking a stand while others think that it's just a ruse to drum up business (Baidu is China's leading search engine and more readily censors search than Google). Either way, Google's decision will surely have people--governments, businesses and the general public--thinking.

To a much. much, milder degree, we here in Singapore, experience something similar. How do you feel about Google's decision and what do you think will be the effects on other countries?

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Postby macaroonie » Wed, 13 Jan 2010 5:44 pm

This is a heavy topic. The crux of this topic relates to freedom of speech and freedom of dissemination of information... hmm why has no one replied to your post....

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Postby nakatago » Thu, 14 Jan 2010 8:43 am

macaroonie wrote:This is a heavy topic. The crux of this topic relates to freedom of speech and freedom of dissemination of information... hmm why has no one replied to your post....


not quite sure...could be a number of things. maybe they haven't heard of it yet (but the mainstream media is quickly gaining ground), maybe people don't know what to say...or maybe people just don't care. :-|

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Postby x9200 » Thu, 14 Jan 2010 8:52 am

nakatago wrote:
macaroonie wrote:This is a heavy topic. The crux of this topic relates to freedom of speech and freedom of dissemination of information... hmm why has no one replied to your post....


not quite sure...could be a number of things. maybe they haven't heard of it yet (but the mainstream media is quickly gaining ground), maybe people don't know what to say...or maybe people just don't care. :-|

I've read about it before you actually posted but as Macaroonie said...a heavy topic. Too heavy and too general just to pick it end enjoy. Also a bit of cliche... too many times, too obvious not too much to talk about. My PoV.

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Postby taxico » Thu, 14 Jan 2010 1:43 pm

perhaps this isn't a (purely) Google v PRC issue, but more of a Google vs Baidu issue.

i'd cut my losses and figure out how to win the fight globally, not just within China...

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Postby nakatago » Thu, 14 Jan 2010 2:21 pm

Just read about the whole thing more, at least on how the world sees this whole issue and what the implications are. Basically, the cyber attacks were just the proverbial straw. The way I see it...

* Google lives up to its "do no evil" motto. The founders also have never been comfortable with the decision to censor search results for China
* They discovered "highly sophisticated" attacks on them that originate from China. They're not saying who did it but everyone, from experts and policy makers to pundits and everyone who is search savvy deduces that it was government sponsored. Kinda heard to deal with someone you've already bowed to and now you think is screwing you because you weren't looking
* They could also be cutting their losses to Baidu. Add the following items above and just packing up makes more economic and financial sense. There's just no winning so might as well exit with your dignity (and PR) intact.

It really looks like a complex issue with no one, singular cause but rather several issues that ultimately lead to the decision. People may want to believe otherwise; but looking at all available information, I'm convinced that Google is really saying, "That's IT."

@taxico: it's also estimated that Google may lose 600 million a year if they pack up and maybe more as the Chinese market grows. But I think Google already knows this and is willing to accept it.

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Postby ksl » Thu, 14 Jan 2010 3:01 pm

The problem with China is nothing is safe they cannot be trusted in business call it technical hindrances!

Literally thousands of businesses are getting ripped off every year, if they want what you have they just take it! Google would be at risk too! So they are better off staying well away from China, or limiting the flow of knowledge. The Chinese are experts at industrial espionage as many Taiwanese businesses have found out.
It's kind of a sport to rip off foreigners and be proud of it!

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Postby aster » Sun, 24 Jan 2010 2:23 pm

Singapore is fine, unless there is something I don't know about URL blocking. Unfortunately that has even crept into certain European countries like Italy. Until you start cutting off internet addresses then everything is fine in that regard.

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Postby jpatokal » Mon, 25 Jan 2010 12:35 pm

aster wrote:Singapore is fine, unless there is something I don't know about URL blocking. Unfortunately that has even crept into certain European countries like Italy. Until you start cutting off internet addresses then everything is fine in that regard.


Tried eg. playboy.com or youporn.com from a Singaporean PC lately?

Singapore has the technological capability to censor the Internet 100%. They just mostly choose not to use it.
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Postby ksl » Mon, 25 Jan 2010 1:36 pm

jpatokal wrote:
aster wrote:Singapore is fine, unless there is something I don't know about URL blocking. Unfortunately that has even crept into certain European countries like Italy. Until you start cutting off internet addresses then everything is fine in that regard.


Tried eg. playboy.com or youporn.com from a Singaporean PC lately?

Singapore has the technological capability to censor the Internet 100%. They just mostly choose not to use it.
That is correct

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 25 Jan 2010 1:43 pm

China responded to Google saying that companies operating in China should obey the law. Ok...that's expected.

But here's the kicker: they say that the internet in China is open. Wide open.

Riiiight.

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Postby aster » Mon, 25 Jan 2010 7:20 pm

jpatokal wrote:
aster wrote:Singapore is fine, unless there is something I don't know about URL blocking. Unfortunately that has even crept into certain European countries like Italy. Until you start cutting off internet addresses then everything is fine in that regard.


Tried eg. playboy.com or youporn.com from a Singaporean PC lately?

Singapore has the technological capability to censor the Internet 100%. They just mostly choose not to use it.


Not sure I understand what you're saying... just checked and having no trouble accessing either site.

Virtually every country out there can censor the internet 100% if they choose to. But just like with Singapore, most of them choose not to. Once again I don't quite see where this is leading.

P.S. I know Italy blocks some URLs, so does Thailand. I'm sure a lot more countries do it too.

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Postby nakatago » Mon, 25 Jan 2010 8:51 pm

*criticism*cough*gubmint*cough*patriarch*cough*

@aster: mebbe your ISP is not singaporean, lah?

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Postby aster » Mon, 25 Jan 2010 9:12 pm

Luckily I don't maintain an interest in local politics. ;)

Seriously, I am having no trouble accessing any of these porn sites, what exactly shows up when you guys type in these URLs? :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 25 Jan 2010 9:24 pm

aster wrote:Luckily I don't maintain an interest in local politics. ;)

Seriously, I am having no trouble accessing any of these porn sites, what exactly shows up when you guys type in these URLs? :)


You will get:
Access Denied
The requested URL has been denied
____________________________________________________________

You are not allowed to access the URL: http://www.anxxxurl.com/

Reason:

* Request has been denied by access control configuration specified by the Media Development Authority.
____________________________________________________________

For more information, please contact Media Development Authority.


That is, as noted above, you are using a Singapore based ISP. Starhub, Singtel, or Pacnet.


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