Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Google, China, and Censorship

The Google side of the Google.cn story has more than you think. Plus, older Communist party members take the moral high ground when speaking out against censorship, namely against the shutdown of a news magazine for an article criticizing the way textbooks portray the government as infallible:
History demonstrates that only a totalitarian system needs news censorship, out of the delusion that it can keep the public locked in ignorance
I learned a lot of things I didn't know from Google's testimony before Congress. For example, the Chinese government[, through individual ISPs, ]has been filtering Google.com for years, making the site slow and unusable and driving users to search engines that are self-censoring, or redirecting it to these sites which doubtlessly had indexed less information.

Also, I saw proof of what my Students for a Free Tibet friend first told me--that in the least, Google.cn (which complements the sporadically available Google.com) makes an effort to inform its users that what they're getting isn't the complete picture--that results have been filtered. The following is displayed at the bottom of every page of censored results:
据当地法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示
It translates into, "In accordance with local laws, regulations, and policies, portions of these search results have not been shown." This is not trivial, as it's not displayed for normal queries like "cats". They still With Google, as opposed to other major search engines, people might at least be heartened to see at least a shadow of the truth with hope that at least it is out there. That, in addition to all the other content available in the internet.

SOURCE: Googleblog and digg

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