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Censorship Google Your Rights Online

Google.cn Still Remains In China 103

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
hackingbear writes "Google appears to be content to remain in China doing business as usual while it finds a way to work within the system, according to one of the search giant's founders. This despite a strong statement 30 days ago that it would stop censoring search results in China and possibly pull its business out of that country. And the company is still unwilling to confirm or deny if the alleged attacks were carried out by the Chinese government. 'I don't actually think the question of whether [the attacks were performed by] the Chinese government is that important,' Brin said. (That's the difference between state-sponsor vs. individual hacking. Why is that not important?) In the mean time, shortly after we celebrated google.cn lifting censorship, the exact same censorship has been quietly re-enabled as proved by this Chinese search query on June 4, despite the lack of any concrete actions by the Chinese government, which has so far made only useless general and standard statements on the matter."
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Google.cn Still Remains In China

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:20PM (#31134944)

    And here we thought Google had a strong backbone to stand up to china. Apparently not.

    • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:32PM (#31135036) Journal

      Who really thought that?

      Of course they aren't going to pull out. People here are like the 18 year old girls who seriously trust that their boyfriend is going to pull out just before instead of cumming in.

    • by jon3k (691256)
      I think none of us actually knows what's going on behind the scenes between Google and the Chinese government.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JohnFen (1641097)

        I don't care what goes on behind the scenes. I care about the end result. And this end result, while unsurprising, sucks.

        Google's soul is still sold, and they haven't reduced their evil level one bit. So sad.

    • by jopsen (885607)

      And here we thought Google had a strong backbone to stand up to china. Apparently not.

      As much as I despise censorship... I respect the fact the cooperations cannot dictate politics in China...

      Google shouldn't have to stand up to the Chinese government, the Chinese people should... And probably will... My guess is they're not ready yet...

      • the Chinese people should... And probably will... My guess is they're not ready yet...

        Meaning, the people are in beta?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This was for Google a strategic blunder of epic proportions. Never go on the attack if you can't follow up on it. Before this all happened, China had to consider the possibility that Google would pull out or refuse to censor, but now China knows that Google will bow to their every wish. Good going!

      • I don't think China ever gave a shit if Google stayed or not considering there are plenty of other search engines around to take up Google's meager market share.
    • by Virak (897071) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @02:51PM (#31135906) Homepage

      That's because the summary is terrible, and so is the person who wrote it, and also the Slashdot editors, for posting it.

      Google appears to be content to remain in China doing business as usual while it finds a way to work within the system, according to one of the search giant's founders. This despite a strong statement 30 days ago that it would stop censoring search results in China and possibly pull its business out of that country.

      The usage of "despite" here would suggest there's some sort of contradiction betweeen these sentences, however Google's original post said:

      We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

      Which is to say, the lack of obvious action thus far isn't particularly notable. When it's been half a year and there's been no further news, then you can start bitching, but not now.

      In the mean time, shortly after we celebrated google.cn lifting censorship, the exact same censorship has been quietly re-enabled

      And this part is just outright false. They were never disabled in the first place, as noted even by several comments in the article that was linked to there. Furthermore, Google's announcement never said anything like that they'd be immediately removing the censorship.

      Basically, there's nothing of note here and anyone whining about how Google hasn't pulled out and uncensored their search engine and organized an elite team to overthrow the oppressive Chinese government and given everyone on Earth their own personal unicorn has gotten vastly inflated expectations due to poor reading comprehension.

      • by yuhong (1378501)

        And this part is just outright false. They were never disabled in the first place, as noted even by several comments in the article that was linked to there. Furthermore, Google's announcement never said anything like that they'd be immediately removing the censorship.

        Yea, I remember there was a lot of confusion over this, partly because English-language searches were never censored.

  • Look this way while I go the other.
  • -Filter prevention-

  • by hobbes75 (245657) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:26PM (#31134994)

    Obviously not being evil is too expensive... maybe that explains the amount of evil in the world in general.

    • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:37PM (#31135068) Homepage

      Obviously not being evil is too expensive.

      It could also be, "Leave and we'll kill your family." Or economic threats, or they could have threatened anyone who ever worked in the China offices with arrest and prosecution, they have a lot of ugly tools at their disposal. Probably not, but when you're dealing with a government you don't always know the whole story.

      I'm just saying it's a little early to condemn Google before we get more facts.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        It could also be, "Leave and we'll kill your family." Or economic threats, or they could have threatened anyone who ever worked in the China offices with arrest and prosecution, they have a lot of ugly tools at their disposal. Probably not, but when you're dealing with a government you don't always know the whole story.

        I don't know if China would mistreat former Google employees if Google simply left. But I'd say there's a darned good chance they would detain and otherwise mistreat Google employees if Goog

      • It could also be, "Leave and we'll kill your family."

        I would assume Google to be a very smart business with smart advisors.
        In that apparent absence let me provide said advice as it seems to difficult for google to see...
        1. Silently step down services
        2. If questioned, purport not reading highly intelligent population & user Trends
        3. Leave, w/o press release.
        4. ???
        5. Take potential profit hit on the chin.

        "I'm just saying it's a little early to condemn Google before we get more facts"
        Nah. They
      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        If Google didn't have the means of doing what they claim they would do, they shouldn't have said that in the first time.
        I still hope that negotiation is happening and its result will comfort us that the "don't be evil" motto is a bit more that a motto but I am growing delusional day after day...
      • At what point do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few?
      • "leave and we'll kill your family" is pretty dramatic since even the worst political dissidents only get jail time. But hey, free to spread as much negativity as possible on China in order to make Google look better.
    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      Not being evil isn't too expensive. It just tends to get in the way of making profits.
    • ...they thought about pulling out of China, but then they decided "Don't. Be evil."
  • Uh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikkelm (1000451) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:27PM (#31135002)

    Aren't these submissions supposed to be moderated to keep these walls of partially intelligible text off the main page?

  • Right. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:29PM (#31135014) Homepage Journal

    Top businesspeople in company overrule moral arguments from staff in order to ensure future profits.

    News at eleven.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)
      At Google, the businesspeople were kind of the ones making the complaints to begin with.
  • Bad Move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UndyingShadow (867720) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:31PM (#31135022)
    The quickest thing Google can do to lose the confidence of its users is be Two-Faced. With all the recent privacy concerns, if Google starts acting one way after saying "Don't be Evil," it's going to make everyone question if Google can be trusted. Can they?
    • Bad move? Really? What are people going to do about it if Google chooses to be evil? Stop using Google? Seriously? Does anyone here go a single day without using Google a dozen times at least? Can even the technically-adept people here get along easily without it? How about the other 95% of web users?

      Google is at least as immune from criticism as Microsoft, at this point, and they know it.
      • by JohnFen (1641097)

        Bad move? Really? What are people going to do about it if Google chooses to be evil? Stop using Google? Seriously? Does anyone here go a single day without using Google a dozen times at least?

        Actually, yes, I have been doing without Google for a couple of years now. I started weaning off when Google started censoring their Chinese search engine in the first place.

        Admittedly, I do wish Google wouldn't be evil, because they have nice tools, but between the censorship, spying, and throwing their weight around like the monopolist they are striving to be, I have no hope that they'll be any different than any other huge corporation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by anyGould (1295481)

        Does anyone here go a single day without using Google a dozen times at least? Can even the technically-adept people here get along easily without it? How about the other 95% of web users?

        Well, I use Google quite extensively (lemme think, Gmail, Maps, Reader, Calendar, Documents, and general search). If I decided today that Google was Teh Evil, could I get away? Let's see:

        Gmail: easy - I use it mainly as an aggregator for my "real" accounts (almost nothing comes addressed to the gmail account), and because of the nice web interface. Turn off the forwarding, pick everything up in PortableApps-Thunderbird. (Or I could use my host's inferior webmail, as a backup plan).

        Maps/Earth: I'd miss these

      • Does anyone here go a single day without using Google a dozen times at least?

        Absolutely. I can't even use Google by accident by following a link as their entire domain and all of their subsidiary's domains that I know of are completely blocked from my network.

        This has had virtually no impact whatsoever on my existence. There are plenty of replacements for everything they do.

    • by JohnFen (1641097)

      it's going to make everyone question if Google can be trusted. Can they?

      No.

      This has been another episode of short answers to easy questions.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      In 6 months 99% of Google's customers wont remember this. It was too expensive for them to pull out, i'm honestly surprised they said they were going to in the first place..

  • Mixed results (Score:5, Informative)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:32PM (#31135032) Homepage

    It's true that the tank man does not rank number one on "tiananmen" as it does on google.com - but if I type tiananmen into the search box, the top suggestions are

    tiananmen square protest
    tiananmen square 1989
    tiananmen square tank
    tiananmen tank
    tiananmen square tank man
    tiananmen tank man

    And if I make the search more specific by adding "tank", I do get a few copies of the infamously censored image on page 1, even on Google.cn.

    Of course, I haven't digged this deeply before, so I don't know if the censorship was always this half-assed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Arancaytar (966377)

      PS: I can only use image search to check up on google.cn censorship, obviously, because I can't read Chinese.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Google knows if your origin IP is chinese. I'm sure you get different results for google.cn if you are in china or out.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      http://www.google.cn/search?hl=zh-CN&source=hp&q=&btnG=Google+&aq=f&oq=

      get's you the images of the tank man.

    • yea, It has always been like that. I tried this a year or so ago and i could find tank man pictures... with a little digging. It might also have more restrictive filtering if you have a china IP address. come on Google... make us proud and PULL OUT
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not Mixed Results, obvious censorship.

      I search "tiananmen square tank" on google.com, go to images, I get over 100 images.
      I search "tiananmen square tank" on google.cn, go to images, I get over 1 images, which when clicked on, gets me a curt line of chinese text, instead of whatever page that image came from.

      So there is nothing mixed about it, google is censoring chinese communications on behalf of the chinese government. There is no doubt in my mind they do, and will continue to do whatever Chinese , U.S

    • by shentino (1139071)

      It could just be that the newly uncensored results are still inheriting their lame PageRank standings that got choked by censorship.

    • Try that query then look at the results. Compare the results from the query between google.cn and google.com. It's censored. Sad.

    • If you search for tank man directly [google.cn] then you get thousands of results including 4 pictures of him in front of the tanks at the top of the results page.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder how you got that. I am accessing from Japan and I couldn't get any of those, whether searching in Mandarin or in English (using the search terms you used).

      At the end of the search there is the usual "some results are not shown to comply with the local rules and regulations" (in Mandarin).

      So I call shenanigan on the results you obtained.

      As a fan for Google, I am very disappointed.

  • Doing business with a country where freedom of information is counter productive to your business model makes no sense.

    when money is God WHO CARES RIGHT?

  • by HoldmyCauls (239328) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:36PM (#31135056) Journal

    Well, yeah...

    Where else would you put it?

  • My guess: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:56PM (#31135178)

    Some special Chinese agent made a visit at Brin’s house at night, reminding him that they could make him disappear “just like that”.

    I hope not. But it would not surprise me a bit if this was how it happened.

    • China has now become the bogey man. Say your pledge of allegiance 3 times before bed like a good little boy or the evil chinese monsters will come out and eat you! Ignorance. Fear. Paranoia.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    the exact same censorship has been quietly re-enabled

    Take a closer look at the source of that information. Google didn't lift the censorship and then re-enable it. Who was the source claiming that the censorship had already been lifted? If you look on the source that the slashdot article cites, that source says the rumors about the censorship having been lifted already were not correct. So, it seems no changes have been made to the search results yet. Did Google ever make a statement about how long time the

    • by hey (83763)

      There were postings at the time showing search results from google.cn as queried from China.
      The censorship was not there.

    • The summary discloses the filter has been re-enabled since it was transiently lift. That can be verified by going to google.cn and do a search in Chinese. It does not counter google's claim of "will leave".

      There is no substantial report of exactly which department the company is negotiating with, and from Chinese news sources oversea or in Hong Kong, some departments came out and denied [wikipedia.org] any negotiation on going or that the company has made any formal complain. One would expect the government agency to act

  • So Brin now says that it's not important, whether or not the Chinese gov't is behind the attack? WTF? Of course it's important, it makes all the difference in the world if this is state sponsored. And I thought Google was growing a spine, apparently not. Move along, nothing to see here...

    Google, you are quickly losing any respect I had left for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    One of China's communist controlled tabloids recently printed this headline Bill Gates bats for China [peopledaily.com.cn]. Perhaps Google should be faulted for tolerating China's totalitarian regime, but Microsoft embraces it. After all, when Gates says, "The Chinese efforts to censor the Internet have been very limited.", he means that you can access Microsoft.com and MSN in China. He's happy enough that all potential threats to both the Communist and Microsoft power structure, (facebook, blogspot, youtube, wikipedia, goog
  • by Chas (5144) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @02:40PM (#31135836) Homepage Journal

    Not that I was expecting any better from them. Too much money involved. Still, doesn't stop me from being disappointed anyhow.

  • Given: the summary is correct. Why might Google do this? The tone of the summary seems to accuse them of doing so, and that this is bad, with 'proof' being statements taken out of context and placed within the context which is being implied. But you can't get from thesis to QED without some logical connections more than "we say so".

    The Chinese (gov't.; from the ministry of defense offices) have been attacking private (initially US and UK based Falun Gong and Free Tibet sites) and government web sites and ot

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      Censorship? Here comes a clue. Catch: Most of the people in China want it.

      ...according to government-sponsored polls, reported by state-run media. And Sadaam won re-election with 100% of the vote.

      you can prove yourselves hypocrites by supporting what amounts to subversion of the government of the world's largest nation.

      Why would NOT supporting an authoritarian government like China make us hypocrites? Most people who live in representative governments value personal rights and freedom, not slavish obedience to governmental authority. As a simple example: people cannot sell themselves into slavery (see: inalienable rights [wikipedia.org]), as this would violate their natural rights, even by their own consent.

      And last we looked, China was an ally no less than Israel

      We spy

  • Check out the WoW machinima --it's had resonance far beyond the gaming community.

    http://digicha.com/?p=125 [digicha.com]

  • I guess Google couldn't live without it's 25% market share in China. Clearly it needs the cash. We don't need Google, but Google needs us, and that's a fact.

    All you morons who thought Google would actually cause China to cave and not the other way around, how does that crow taste?

    Also, what a retarded article summary, clearly if they didn't follow our laws we were going to kick them out of China, the "concrete action" the summary refers to. The implicit threat of this was obviously enough for them to
  • "I think that the Chinese government has tens of millions of people in it. If you look at the army, the associated army, and whatnot, that's larger than most countries by far. So even if there were a Chinese government agent behind it, you know, it might represent a fragment of policy, as it were." from TFA
  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @05:43PM (#31137376)

    Imagine if this wasn't censorship of search results that we were talking about. Instead, imagine that the Chinese government looked the other way while local officials demanded bribes for keeping the office utilities running. If you're a multinational company, those are the kind of things you need to deal with...and reconcile with a different set of ethics.

    Companies need to decide whether or not they are willing to play by the local rules when they jump into an international market. Those bribes they pay may not be a good ethical choice, but they may make the company much more profitable. Since company shareholders are the only concern for most companies, they need to set aside their feelings and do what the local government says.

    Personally, I think what they're doing is fine, simply because it's not our place to tell a foriegn government what to do. It's their country, and human rights abuses, censorship, Taiwan and the Dalai Lama shouldn't really matter to American citizens. That's how China chooses to keep their country in line (and growing economically at 10%+ per year, I might add.) It seems to work well for them, and even if it didn't, we can't tell them otherwise. Doing so puts us on the same Cold War era "keeping the world safe for democracy" bandwagon that hasn't worked for us in four wars since WW2. I've long held the belief that once we solve 100% of our social problems at home, then we can go lecture people around the world about how to behave.

  • Isn't the important thing what Google.cn returns for someone in the USA, it's what it returns for someone in China. Why would the censoring be done by site rather than by querying IP?

    • by Evro (18923) *

      Oops... I need a do-over:

      The important thing isn't what Google.cn returns for someone in the USA, it's what it returns for someone in China. Why would the censoring be done by site rather than by querying IP?

  • Google, as a publicly traded company, has only one obligation: to make a profit for shareholders. Let that soak in.

    In doing so they have to do things like bow to the Chinese, track all of your searches, etc. It's business folks!

    Unfortunately that also means that "do no evil", is more of a guideline than a rule. Maybe they should change their motto to "We do less evil than everyone else"

    Really I'm amazed that anyone is surprised by this.
    • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @10:39PM (#31139938) Homepage Journal

      Google, as a publicly traded company, has only one obligation: to make a profit for shareholders.

      That's not necessarily true. A publicly-traded corporations primary obligation isn't to make a profit, it's to fulfill the goals laid out in the articles of incorporation and the prospectus that defined the public offering. In most cases, those documents say that the primary goal of the corporation is to make a profit, and that, then, is what the company's directors must focus on doing. But there are plenty of corporations, especially non-profits and for-profits that have a "social good" agenda, with different goals, and the directors of those corporations would be failing in their duty to their shareholders if they focused on profit at the expense of their stated goals.

      Was "Don't be evil" part of Google's corporate charter? And if so, was it given an equal or higher priority than profitability? I don't know, but if so, then Google's directors have a legal obligation to abide by it.

      • Someone mod parent up.
        Thank you.

      • A corporation is nothing more than a entity that establishes a legal framework within a country's legislation. Yes there are entities that exist who have specific agendas and goals besides making money. However, the number one goal of any BUSINESS is to make money, plain and simple. It is the heart and soul of capitalism and the engine that drives this country. This is plain to anyone who has worked in business, financing, trade, etc. Of course, a company can have secondary goals, such as meeting laws and
        • by swillden (191260)

          Have you ever drafted articles of incorporation and filed them to create a corporation? I have, and while you're certainly right that the primary goal of most businesses is to make money, the founders of a corporation are free to put whatever goals they like in the articles. Those goals are then carried over to the prospectus provided to potential investors in an IPO, and they define what the potential shareholders expect the company to do.

          Both the articles of incorporation and the IPO prospectus are le

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