Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Google Social Networks Politics

Google Sets Censorship Precedent In India 245

Posted by timothy
from the in-accordance-with-local-laws-and-privileges dept.
eldavojohn writes "Censorship varies from country to country but India, home to a sixth of the world's population, appears to be shaping up much like China. Not far behind everyone else, Google has increasingly censored websites with an incident where a very popular politician died and Google forcibly deleted and dissolved a group on Orkut where offensive comments about the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh were posted. An official from India's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said, 'If you are doing business here, you should follow the local law, the sentiments of the people, the culture of the country. If somebody starts abusing Lord Rama on a Web site, that could start riots.' The lengthy opinion piece calls attention to the beginnings of a definitive lack of free speech online for Indian citizens. A spokeswoman for the 'Do No Evil' company explained, 'India does value free speech and political speech. But they are weighing the harm of free speech against violence in their streets.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Sets Censorship Precedent In India

Comments Filter:
  • Now what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by iCantSpell (1162581) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:31AM (#30629824)

    Fuck the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh

    • Re:Now what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:32AM (#30630162) Homepage Journal

      "Google forcibly deleted and dissolved a group on Orkut"

      Wow. Really? They just marched a batallion of Google soldiers in, with fixed bayonets, and FORCIBLY took the site over?

      FFS - how about dropping all the drama bullshit, and just say that Google deleted a fucking page on their site. Drama queens suck diseased donkey balls. Or, diseased dog nuts, if donkey balls are in short supply.

      I don't like censorship. With censorship, I wouldn't be allowed to point out that the deceased Senator Ted Kennedy was a fucking moron, a thief, a murderer, and a fraud. It could be that this deceased Indian dude was just like Senator Ted. If so, the world has the right to know.

    • Fuck the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh

      You know that is just sick. The guy is dead and you want to fuck him?

  • Free? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:31AM (#30629828)
    Free Trade doesn't seem to be doing much for freedom around the world.
    • Re:Free? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:37AM (#30629866)
      But you also need to look at it that it exposes the evil in censorship. without these incidents Indian censorship might not have been widely reported so citizens wouldn't act on it, the more the individual knows that censorship is taking place the more they will fight it. It is only when censorship is not noticed that it becomes so much more harmful.
      • Re:Free? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:31AM (#30630146) Journal

        What makes you think the citizens will act on their knowledge and fight censorship?
        In many countries the majority of the population wants certain topics censored.

        If the USA didn't have the 1st Amendment, I doubt we'd have such free speech.
        I mean, the religious types managed to get alcohol banned for 13 years.
        Just think of what they'd have done to words they didn't like.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Darkness404 (1287218)

          What makes you think the citizens will act on their knowledge and fight censorship?

          People don't want to be oppressed. Look at what happened to countries in the iron curtain. Their economy fell apart, people wanted civil rights, they protested and an oppressive government fell.

          In many countries the majority of the population wants certain topics censored.

          Eventually though, an enlightenment happens. In most of the western world it happened during the 18th century enlightenment period lead by people such as Voltaire. In the aftermath of World War I, people, indoctrinated with mass media threw aside enlightenment for nationalism which eventually lead to World War II

          • by foobsr (693224)
            People don't want to be oppressed.

            Depends on how cleverly you set up the squeezing machinery.

            CC.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by unity100 (970058)

            People don't want to be oppressed. Look at what happened to countries in the iron curtain. Their economy fell apart, people wanted civil rights, they protested and an oppressive government fell.

            that was europe. it has a different culture. it is not happening in other parts of the world. see china. indonesia. see india. see turkey. people are going for more extreme.

            • by h4rm0ny (722443)

              Yeah, because China has never had a revolution. And Indonesia - why revolutions are unheard of!
            • by u38cg (607297)
              The situation is worst in places where people are kept poor for structural reasons. Get to work on eliminating poverty, and pretty soon you will see people wanting secure property rights - which can only really be guaranteed in the long term through a solid bill of rights and a healthy dose of democracy. It is a very slow turning wheel, but if you let economics do its work, it's pretty unstoppable.
              • despite not being kept poor, at least 30 to 40% of people in turkey are striving for a strict islamic society. another 20 to 30% of them are looking for a stricter, conservative society. dont need to tell you that all these come with considerably less freedoms. these people are making heaps of money via 'islamic' corporations engaging in manufacturing and trade. yet, they are still striving for such a hardliner life.

                the most ironic part is that what fuels and enables their enrichment and radicalism has been

                • by vakuona (788200)
                  So, by your own admission, Turkish people want to be more conservative, and so the people in the west should stop them? Playing devil's advocate here, but if that's what the Turkish people, then we should leave them be.
        • Re:Free? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @04:08AM (#30630294)

          Actually, prohibition wasn't so much a religious movement, but a pan-belief movement.

          There were the religious groups, anti-immigrant groups (they didn't like the beer and alcohol drinking cultures from central, eastern and southern Europe), and the biggest part were was the suffrage movement.

          And it wasn't just the US, they did it in 1914 to 1925 in Russia and the Soviet Union, Canada, Iceland and other non-Islamic states -
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_in_Russian_Empire_and_Soviet_Union [wikipedia.org]

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperance_movement#United_States [wikipedia.org]

        • Re:Free? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @06:08AM (#30630656) Journal

          In many countries the majority of the population wants certain topics censored

          You don't need to censor that which people voluntarily reject or have no interest in. You censor that which people might be interested in seeing but which doesn't suit your purposes.

          Quotes like this guy's "we should respect the laws of local countries" I don't agree with. Laws != Ethics. The correct extension of the principle of respecting other's values is "we should respect the wishes of the people of local countries". The people are not synonymous with their government and the more a government censors information from the people, the less synonymous with that government they are likely to be and the less reason we have to follow the dictates of a government that claims to represent them.

          If information is uncensored, then people can choose to look at it / read it / think about it or not. If information is censored then they have only one option. Given that being able to choose the better option out of two functionally subsumes only having one of those choices without cost, then the logically better option is not to censor things.

        • by kdemetter (965669)

          What makes you think the citizens will act on their knowledge and fight censorship?
          In many countries the majority of the population wants certain topics censored.

          More likely, anyone who doesn't want it gets censored. So it only seems like the majority wants those topics censored.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        But you also need to look at it that it exposes the evil in censorship.

        Yeah, that's the ticket. We need more censorship in the USA, so we can expose the evils of censorship.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LostCluster (625375) *

      It doesn't work here either. The US runs to the WTO whenever there's a problem with other places violating the rules of "free trade", but in the Internet Gambling case team USA lost by being told that international sites should be allowed to offer gambling services... yet the USA has ignored that ruling, setting the precedent that other countries can just ignore decisions they don't agree with.

      "Free trade" has become another meaningless political phrase... next please.

      • by homer_s (799572)
        The WTO has nothing to do with free trade. How can it be "free" trade when it requires thousands of pages of rules and regulations?
        • Different definition of "free." In the WTO's vision of the world, the freedom applies to corporations to move their operations between countries, seeking favorable laws for different parts of the operation, and to do so uninhibited by any government. The WTO rules and regulations concern the laws of nations, not the practices of businesses, and those rules and regulations involve strengthening the power of corporations that operate within member states. The WTO has, on many occasions, overturned laws ena
    • by c6gunner (950153)

      The big benefit of free trade isn't increased freedoms around the world, but the lessening of armed conflict. Nations which trade with each other tend to do better than isolationist nations, but they also become dependent on each other. Nation which depend on each other are much less likely to wage war on each other. Whether they both grant the same freedoms to their citizens is largely irrelevant.

      Of course, generally speaking, increased wealth (average income) does tend to lead to increased education an

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Free Trade doesn't seem to be doing much for freedom around the world.

      The Chinese populace is certainly a lot more free than they were even in the recent past, though they're still certainly in poor shape.

      This single incident in India is pretty damn trivial, and India has a pretty good level of freedom for it's population. Not everyone's definition of free speech matches with the US. In most of Europe, in particular, public discussion of ongoing trials is commonly forbidden, as are statements that hurt so

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Freetrade != freedom. Also, if you want to include the WTO into the mix, its just the opposite as everyone has to conform to the least common denominator.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:33AM (#30629846)

    "We have now recognised the necessity to the mental well-being of mankind (on which all their other well-being depends) of freedom of opinion, and freedom of the expression of opinion, on four distinct grounds; which we will now briefly recapitulate.

    First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.

    Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.

    Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience."

    Local custom or not, silencing speech is harmful to society.

    • What you are saying is dogma. A statement that explains nothing, has no examples, no reasoning, just a statement presented as fact and if you disagree, you are wrong or worse, stupid.

      It doesn't matter if it is "jews are 2nd rate humans" or "god loves everyone" or "evolution is responsible for all development of life". Without reasoning, any statement becomes dogma.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:34AM (#30629850)

    If somebody starts abusing Lord Rama on a Web site, that could start riots.

    Sounds like more of a culture problem than a Google problem there. I mean, is the west the only place where people can say "offensive" things without riots? And even then Islamic idiots try to kill them (look at the Danish cartoonist issue) when free speech is protected by law.

    India needs to address this problem themselves by increasing free speech, not by trying to shut it down.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Politics is far more realistic and practical than that. At some point it doesn't matter why people are dumb enough to riot, if they will, and it gets people killed (notably innocent people) then you have to be seen taking steps to stop it. And with 1.1 billion people, no matter what happens, someone is bound to get killed. Scared sacred elephant in Allahabad, there's a dozen people trampled to death. Train ride from Mumbai to Dehli there's a few people who fall of and get killed or seriously wounded- as

    • I mean, is the west the only place where people can say "offensive" things without riots?

      Yes. Did Lord Rama include John Stuart Mill in the Ramayana?

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:02AM (#30630032) Journal

      Seriously, I'm beginning to question the value of completely free speech. I've spent my entire life so far in support of it, and the free marketplace, but I'm finding more and more, that both are a fiction and always have been!

      The "free" marketplace isn't free, it's a highly unstable situation that's carefully protected by a government that's surprisingly willing to impose on the "freedome" of the marketplace. Until the 1980s, government stepped in many times, repeatedly, over the years, to limit the power of the monopolies in the United States. But after about 1981 or so, we simply stopped caring. And the result has decimated our marketplace! In becoming more "free", we've simply become more monopolistic, where Wal-Mart now delivers some 30% to 50% of the consumed goods in the USA.

      This was unheard of before then, but only because the gubbmint stepped in repeatedly to limit the power of (among others) A&P, the mid-20th century equivalent of Wal-Mart. As a percentage of population, Wal-Mart is now at least 5x as big as A&P ever was at its height. Yet Wal-Mart is just one of many vertical monopolies now rearing, to the deafening roar of untrained people who rally and cry for speech and marketplaces free from the controls of the government that was otherwise busy serving their own interests. It's a sad, sad state of affairs.

      In a similar vein, I'm finding that "free speech" never existed. For over a century, there were strict controls on news organizations and reporting agencies - strict policies on libel and a general expectation of truth. This was easily enforced, because there were so few news agencies with the ability to reach a significant percentage of the population. And the result was filtered news and information of generally high-quality.

      But the Internet has changed all that. Even if strict news reporting standards were still in effect, the news organizations would have to compete with the deafening roar of blogs and other "almost news" sites (Slashdot being one of them!) and so the standards would lose all their teeth anyway.

      What journalistic standards is my completely private post written from my armchair going to be held to?

      But the end result is that any whining idiot with an opinion that sounds nice gets lots of play, and real information gets lost in the din of noise and misinformation. Without any expectation of accountability, idiots like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly are free to spread their bile and intellectual filth to unwashed masses who haven't developed the means to filter them out, partly due to the falling standards and expectations from our public school system, which has gotten so bad that no schooling at all [unschooling.com] is often an improvement.

      Free speech is just noise without a bullshit filter. Look in your spam box for 99.97% "free speech". If society is to save itself, it will need to learn the difference between speech and honest-to-god information.

      Right now, it's not looking so good.

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:23AM (#30630112)

        Until the 1980s, government stepped in many times, repeatedly, over the years, to limit the power of the monopolies in the United States. But after about 1981 or so, we simply stopped caring.

        But the problem wasn't that we stopped enforcing anti-trust acts, it was that we deliberately -helped- the monopolies and harmed the general public with such rulings as software patents, the DMCA, etc.

        And the result has decimated our marketplace! In becoming more "free", we've simply become more monopolistic, where Wal-Mart now delivers some 30% to 50% of the consumed goods in the USA.

        ...And in all honesty theres nothing wrong with Wal-Mart delivering most of the goods because Wal-Mart is a monopoly not because of government intervention or lack of the ability to compete, Wal-Mart is simply willing to take risks and deliver what the masses want.

        Wal-Mart has competition with a lot of other stores: Target aims to be a more aesthetically pleasing form of Wal-Mart with more specialty goods and generally a more "upscale" atmosphere at the price of a slight bit of higher prices. Costco aims to save consumers more money by allowing them to buy in bulk. And there are many other smaller competitors.

        The reason why Wal-Mart has thrived is because it provides a large variety of cheap (in both meanings of the word) goods and is willing to expand into smaller areas. Its a lot more convenient for someone to go to Wal-Mart that has most everything in stock then to go to a specialty store only to find that it would take 2-3 weeks to get in a product that provides little to no price savings. Now, thats not to say that specialty stores are bad or don't provide what customers need, not at all, but they are specialty stores, the things that Wal-Mart isn't going to carry you can pick up there.

        In a similar vein, I'm finding that "free speech" never existed. For over a century, there were strict controls on news organizations and reporting agencies - strict policies on libel and a general expectation of truth. This was easily enforced, because there were so few news agencies with the ability to reach a significant percentage of the population. And the result was filtered news and information of generally high-quality.

        The information was high quality if you wanted one group's opinion, yes. The thing is, today we try to cover news stories from all possible angles. Back during WWII no effort was made to try to tell the war from Germany's or Japan's point of view, today every conflict even recent ones such as Iraq and Afghanistan have reporters trying to find out both sides of the story. No longer is it ok to just blindly accept the government's viewpoint.

        But the Internet has changed all that. Even if strict news reporting standards were still in effect, the news organizations would have to compete with the deafening roar of blogs and other "almost news" sites (Slashdot being one of them!) and so the standards would lose all their teeth anyway

        That is because that is what people want to hear. They don't care about the big picture which is what journalism used to be about, they care about individuals and their viewpoints. They want to hear history as told from the diaries of the people who lived through it, not from the history book.

        But the end result is that any whining idiot with an opinion that sounds nice gets lots of play, and real information gets lost in the din of noise and misinformation. Without any expectation of accountability, idiots like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly are free to spread their bile and intellectual filth to unwashed masses who haven't developed the means to filter them out, partly due to the falling standards and expectations from our public school system, which has gotten so bad that no schooling at all is often an improvement.

        And that is the way it always has been, we jus

        • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @05:39AM (#30630572) Journal

          But the problem wasn't that we stopped enforcing anti-trust acts, it was that we deliberately -helped- the monopolies and harmed the general public with such rulings as software patents, the DMCA, etc.

          Wrong. The DMCA and software patents certainly don't help matters, but that has nothing to do with the banking collapse (both of them...), the monopolization of the news media, the free reign of large corporations, etc. None of this is cause by active government interference, but rather, by the government ceding it's responsibility to regulate.

          Wal-Mart is a monopoly not because of government intervention or lack of the ability to compete, Wal-Mart is simply willing to take risks and deliver what the masses want.

          Wal-Mart's good PR, able to bring in shoppers with a whopping 12 cent discount was what got them into this position, but Wal-Mart is a monopoly today because its vast size has become self-sustaining. They can dictate prices and terms to their suppliers, and if they aren't happy, that disagreement may well single-handedly drive your company out of business.

          The information was high quality if you wanted one group's opinion, yes.

          Bull. The news media was much better at unbiased reporting in the past. Today, it's largely a token quote from both sides (no matter how factually incorrect one side's statement may be), and then back to whatever spin was desired...

          There are only a few examples of propaganda you can possibly come up with, and it's a lousy comparison because such circumstances just don't exist today. There is no more Soviet Union, so we don't need the propaganda anymore. If you want to talk about modern wars, try comparing the news coverage of Vietnam and tell me we've got it so much better today...

          More like an editorial, they may use strong opinions to make some people convinced it is fact, but in the end it is all an editorial.

          Blatantly lying and distorting facts is NOT editorial. If it was, then you could can hide ANYTHING behind that label, with impunity.

          Because of this, unworkable or plain stupid opinions are lost in the shuffle usually and only the bright ones stand out

          That's completely baseless. There's nothing in existence to do this incredible job at filtering out the crap from the cream. With no filtering, it's he who yells the loudest, and that's what we see today... which explains Fox News quite succinctly.

          • Actually, the banking collapse was caused by government interference. When Clinton was President (although it was not primarily his fault--members of the House and the Senate played much larger roles), the Federal government started pressuring banks to extend more mortgages to "minorities" (in the context read that as minorities from poor neighborhoods). At first the banks were reluctant, as the people they were being pressured to lend to were historically bad credit risks (mortgages in those neighborhoods

        • by Pecisk (688001)

          "The information was high quality if you wanted one group's opinion, yes. The thing is, today we try to cover news stories from all possible angles. Back during WWII no effort was made to try to tell the war from Germany's or Japan's point of view, today every conflict even recent ones such as Iraq and Afghanistan have reporters trying to find out both sides of the story. No longer is it ok to just blindly accept the government's viewpoint."

          Why not? Sometimes it is just nice how bad guy's actions talk about

        • Indeed sir, indeed.
      • Aww...someone needs a hug! Did that nasty evil free press advocate ideas that you don't agree with? Funny how it's all about how the press needs to be free and unfettered...up until the point that they become TOO free and start disagreeing.

        It's especially distressing to see ideas like "information" and "truth" spouted by post-modernists. There is no objective truth, only different points of view, all of which are equally valid.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Seriously, I'm beginning to question the value of completely free speech.

        Your statement there is as offensive as Google censoring.

    • by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:08AM (#30630056) Journal

      Sounds like more of a culture problem than a Google problem there. I mean, is the west the only place where people can say "offensive" things without riots? And even then Islamic idiots try to kill them (look at the Danish cartoonist issue) when free speech is protected by law.

      What are you talking about?

      If I go into a large crowd somewhere in the US and start shouting that you guys deserved 9/11 for your arrogance, not only am I likely to start a riot - I'm also likely to get beaten to death or shot.

      Methinks your perception is a bit off. If you're going to go insinuating that other cultures or countries are inferior, you should at least examine similar situations. And surprise surprise - everyone behaves similarly when the situations have the same meaning to individual people.

      Countdown to troll mod... 5...4...3...2...1

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trepidity (597)

        We're talking about someone posting it on the internet, though, not anything so overtly confrontational as seeking out a group of people and shouting at them in person. Lots of Americans do post on the internet all sorts of absurd things about 9/11, from "America deserved it because of arrogance" to "America deserved it because of homosexuals" to "it was an inside job" or "a Jewish conspiracy". As far as I know, the existence of literally thousands of such websites has not incited riots.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Sounds like more of a culture problem than a Google problem there. I mean, is the west the only place where people can say "offensive" things without riots? And even then Islamic idiots try to kill them (look at the Danish cartoonist issue) when free speech is protected by law.

        What are you talking about?

        If I go into a large crowd somewhere in the US and start shouting that you guys deserved 9/11 for your arrogance, not only am I likely to start a riot - I'm also likely to get beaten to death or shot.

        Methinks your perception is a bit off. If you're going to go insinuating that other cultures or countries are inferior, you should at least examine similar situations. And surprise surprise - everyone behaves similarly when the situations have the same meaning to individual people.

        Countdown to troll mod... 5...4...3...2...1

        90% likeliness would be that you would be ignored.
        5% that a cop arrests you for disorderly conduct (for yelling at a crowd)
        5% that an asshole starts a fight or suckerpunches you (and probably gets arrested for it)
        0% that someone pulls a gun or a riot starts

        There have not been many riots in US history, but generally they are started for a reason (such as the shooting of war protesters or racial injustices). You aren't going to start a riot about 9/11. Nobody really cares about it anymore. You need a lot of e

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BikeHelmet (1437881)

          90% likeliness would be that you would be ignored.

          I actually live close to Seattle, so it's probably closer to 100%. Or maybe some people would agree with me.

          But this...

          You need a lot of emotion to start a riot, and it simply doesn't exist in the US at this point in time. The last time the necessary amount of emotional energy existed in the US was after Katrina, but luckily nobody lit the match to start riots.

          Is true. Who can say how much emotional energy and turmoil is churning in India right now? I certainly can't.

          I think my point stands - for a comparison to be valid it has to be similar situations to individual people.

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:50AM (#30630230)
        You mean something like the Westboro Baptist Church, the group that goes to soldiers funerals with big signs that say that the soldier's death was punishment from God because the US tolerates homosexuality? Oddly enough they have never caused a real riot, yeah, some people tried to beat them up and some guy tried to set fire to one of their garages but that was it. No riots, no nothing. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church [wikipedia.org] for more info
      • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@noSpAm.yahoo.com> on Sunday January 03, 2010 @11:33AM (#30631868) Journal

        If I go into a large crowd somewhere in the US and start shouting that you guys deserved 9/11 for your arrogance, not only am I likely to start a riot - I'm also likely to get beaten to death or shot.

        Have you actually tried this? Because I've seen street protesters saying this exact same thing and the worst that's happened to them is they get a bunch of dirty looks (which is also a kind of speech). Sure, if there's a big political thing in town, the cops will arrest you and everyone within a hundred feet of you to "prevent a riot", but that's a whole different problem in and of itself. The general populace here is typically very tolerant of unpopular opinions.

    • Sounds like more of a culture problem than a Google problem there. I mean, is the west the only place where people can say "offensive" things without riots?

      Walk into a biker bar and loudly and proudly proclaim that their favourite brand of motorcycle stinks. See how long you last. The only difference is there won't be a full scale riot because they'll make pretty short work of you.

    • "Islamic" is way too wide a generalization here. Consequence of similar is a confusion of terms leading to communications breakdown and more violence.
      I propose "extremist", "fundamentalist" without additional qualifier, and even "terrorist" as substitute.

      I hope one day the Persians and their neighbours will realize the AK-47 is the image of evil. Things didn't escalate to this level of brutality when they solved their problems with long knives.

    • by jopsen (885607)

      I mean, is the west the only place where people can say "offensive" things without riots?

      That's not unlikely... Many other places in the world the majority of people are poor and uneducated... and may very well have sort of a middle age mentality, where burning witches on the fire makes perfectly good sense...

    • You mean like the LA riots? Or the ones in Paris? Or the ones in Holland. Or the ones in...

      Riots are nothing new. And they are always invariably sparked by what someone said about something.

      Free speech is easy when discussed in a class room, a lot harder when applied to the real world.

      Take Slashdot itself, free speech is constantly censored here by being labeled as hate speech (flamebait/troll) which makes it disappear from normal view.

      And Slashdot uses moderation to keep the site functioning. So censor

  • by drdrgivemethenews (1525877) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:34AM (#30629852)
    Seems to me that Google and others are correct in following local law. This is not the same, however, as following the dictates of local advocates of political correctness. Doing that is simply a recipe for increasing the level of local corruption.
  • Do no evil. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:38AM (#30629876)

    Except when emerging markets subtly demand it.

    • Re:Do no evil. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by blarkon (1712194) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:19AM (#30630100)
      Google is a disproof of the old saying that the "Internet Routes Around Censorship". For most people Google *is* the Internet. Unless Google's search algorithm becomes open source, we will never know what is getting hidden from us.
    • by chabotc (22496)

      Can you please be more specific?

      I mean, breaking laws is the classic, definitive version of being evil right? So in fact it sounds like you would prefer if they did do evil and broke the local laws and risked huge fines, being arrested or being completely banned from doing business?

      Perhaps you've never left your home town and met other cultures, which makes it very easy for you to judge anything that does not comply with your set of values; But the world is a big and complex place and the subtleties what is

  • contradiction much? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:42AM (#30629896) Journal

    'India does value free speech and political speech. But they are weighing the harm of free speech against violence in their streets.'"

    Translation: you can say *anything* you want as long as we approve of it. Censoring speech with which the government does not agree is completely incompatible with free speech.

  • So would I be correct in asserting that the cowardly douchebags would rather stifle something as central to democracy as free speech than put up with a few rioting morons?

    Or is it that the people who get to make such assertions fear free speech because it would expose them for the money-grubbing, honourless thieves that they are?

  • Ethical Standards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:01AM (#30630026)
    Google is and has been an American corporation. They started here and grew up here. And it's time they stopped making excuses.

    When they agreed to censor the internet in China, their excuse was "If we don't do this, somebody else will." Translation: "The dollar is more important than principle." That pretty much puts the lie to their "Do No Evil" motto.

    Google needs to decide whether they really want to "do no evil" or whether they just want to make a profit. They really can't have it both ways. And by traditional Western ethical standards, censorship is EVIL.
    • ...do business that would advance any removal of the capitalist system of profit.

      But any other kind of evil is A-OK!!! Its just following the local laws, you know.

    • by toriver (11308)

      Yes, "traditional Western ethical standards" were in full force after 9/11/2001 - people lost their jobs for saying "unpatriotic" stuff, people were ordered out of malls for expressing their views with peace symbol T-shirts, ...

      then there are all the "no"-words you are supposed not to use etc.

      By traditional Western ethical standards, censorship is common but not blatantly so.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      by traditional Western ethical standards, censorship is EVIL.

      By my standards, you're full of crap. More relevantly: tradition is never sufficient justification to do any thing any more than the simple ability to do it. Every tradition which cannot survive in the light of reason must be eliminated. It's fine and good to do something just to remind you of the importance of something; I don't presume to discard ritual. But any harmful ritual must be done away with.

      With that in mind, does Google better help the people of India move forward from reactionary superstition b

  • by Morgaine (4316) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @03:08AM (#30630058)

    Trying to accommodate the demands of each foreign country's governments on a case-by-case basis in order to do business in their countries is an extremely dangerous game to play. You can rationalize away small losses of freedom as "fitting in with national conditions", but there is nothing to stop "fitting in" going all the way to directly supporting dictatorships and the worst kind of abuses of human rights.

    When you don't have fixed principles, you have no principles at all.

    Some will say "Google does have a fixed principle: to make money." The trouble is, that is not a principle about human rights, it's a principle that expressly allows human rights to be negotiated away. In effect, it's a principle to do evil against people in order to do well for profits.

    Google needs to get its head sorted out before this starts to go really bad. Because it will.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by aerograMMer (996600)

      I don't think it's only about the money here. Having been through a mini-riot in India, when public goes beserk on the streets it's not a pretty sight, people die. Whoever incited the riots, whatever the rioters' reasons, right or wrong, I feel the government's aim here is to quell dissent that can bring life to a standstill or worse, lead of loss of life. There's not much cops can do when 1000s of mindless drones hit the street with the single-minded objective of practicing acupuncture with knives on anyth

  • And not just because he doesn't exist. ;-)

  • I think that's how I remembered the quote from one of those "bug" movies, where the evil dicator bug was trying to explain almost exactly the same topic.

    There is an important distinction between falsely crying "Fire" in a crowded movie house and exposing a corrupted government and potentially causing mass riots. Both involve possible harm, one is definitely not protected free speech and the other should always be. The difference seems to follow whether the statements are actually true or not.

    Google, Bing,

  • If your nation is so on the verge of rioting that some commentary on a website is all that is required as a trigger, further removal of civil liberties may not be the best course of action.

  • the real problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer&alum,mit,edu> on Sunday January 03, 2010 @04:33AM (#30630358) Homepage

    If somebody starts abusing Lord Rama on a Web site, that could start riots

    This is a huge problem. Any country in which people will riot because someone criticizes their religion, political party, or favorite celebrity is a country in which people don't understand the notion of a civil society.

  • What? Do you think censorship and other oppressions steal theatrically onto the scene in the guise of an Snidely Whiplash or some other obvious villain?

    No, no, a thousand times no. Very earnest and well intentioned men promulgate evil most often in the guise of preventing greater evil. Harm to children, innocents or other spectres are proffered. These spectacular horrors are given to distract you and "justify" far more pervasive oppressions. Searching your underwear so an airplane does not crash. Usi

  • By definition whatever they were censoring had been on the internet and didn't cause riots, so what's their excuse again?

  • 'If you are doing business here, you should follow the local law, the sentiments of the people, the culture of the country.

    Of course they do not want to be educated about slightly more modern values and norms w.r.t. freedoms and rights.
    So why is it that these USA based companies, VERY much unlike their military actions, appear to do not so much about this freedoms situation when it is internet-related?
  • she says india 'values free speech', but they are 'weighing' the 'harm of free speech' against ..... well the rest is not important.

    hey, google spokeswoman. next time you say something like 'harm of free speech', dont continue the sentence. shut the fuck up. because when you say 'harm of free speech', it means you totally screwed up.

    your shitty polished words made your company lose more pr than if anything wasnt said. next time, either shut the fuck up, or tell your company to make someone else but you spea

  • Transfer of Guilt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b4upoo (166390) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @08:29AM (#30631046)

    Here we have an official who is in essence shifting blame to the unwashed masses. If he does not censor then the wretches will riot. History teaches the opposite. When censorship exists the masses may very well go into total riot and revolt.
                    I do wonder if people in the US knew a few things that are hushed up if they would not riot in the streets.

  • Boo-hiss (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pubwvj (1045960)
    Every time Google does this I lose respect for them. Shame on Google.
  • So what will we do about it? Can we lobby for legislation? Or perhaps we can enhance existing legislation that prohibits bribery and other corrupt practices by U.S. companies in other countries?

    Or maybe we can go about this another way -- convince everyone that money interests are more important that human interests? The evidence for this is widely abundant. We accept that life-saving drugs are only for those who can afford it. We accept that food and clean water is never free.

    I remember a story I hear

  • India does value free speech and political speech. But they are weighing the harm of free speech against violence in their streets.

    Sorry, you cant have it both ways.

  • "... weighing the harm of free speech against violence in their streets."

    Yep... because, as everybody knows, when you deny citizens the right to free speech that never results in violence in the streets, right?

Any given program, when running, is obsolete.

Working...