Friday, January 27, 2006

Firewall of Shame?

Or just looking out for shareholder value? Still the controversy rages on through the night...

"Reporters Without Borders, a France-based group that defends freedom of the press, blasted Google, saying the company was taking an immoral position that could not be justified.
"By offering a version without 'subversive' content, Google is making it easier for Chinese officials to filter the Internet themselves.

A Web site not listed by search engines has little chance of being found by users," the group said in a statement. "The new Google version means that even if a human rights publication is not blocked by local firewalls, it has no chance of being read in China."

With a population of 1.3 billion people and more than 100 million Internet users, China's largely untapped Internet market is very attractive to technology companies. Google is opening a research and development center in China and owns a stake in, the most popular search engine in that country."

Full story from CNET article here.

"Millions of people may now be turning away from Google in disgust, but I've just reinstated them as the default search for my Firefox toolbar, because I think it should be supported for its brave decision.

Even if the primary motivation for going into China is that it makes commercial sense for the company - as indeed it must do, since US law is quite harsh on boards that take actions which could damage shareholder value - it also makes political sense.

Supporters of free speech and open societies should be supporting Google rather than lambasting it. "

Full BBC story here.

Filtering and censorship issues regarding the Internet do not exist only in places such as China or Iran or North Korea. Indeed, filtering and access and censorship issues are at a fast and furious pace right here in 'Merica. What you can count on is that the Internet as we now know it will be refined, realigned, redirected and just generally scattered, smothered and covered right here. WE are ground zero for "Internet neutrality" issues.

If you'd like to read more, there's an excellent, albeit rather academic, paper on the web refering to "The Filtering Matrix" you can browse through here. Then, rather partisan but nonetheless illuminating, info on "internet neutrality" and pending legislation to revise the Telecom Act is on the Common Cause website.

Buy Google shares here.

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1 comment:

Sorin Adam Matei said...

The BBC commentary you pointed us to is very interesting. This is a very messy afair, I tried to make some sense out of it in this posting, too...