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Censorship Google Your Rights Online

China Says Google Pledged To Obey Censorship Demands 177

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the information-wants-to-be-filtered dept.
bonhomme_de_neige writes "China renewed Google's internet license after it pledged to obey censorship laws and stop automatically switching mainland users to its unfiltered Hong Kong site, an official said. Google promised to 'obey Chinese law' and avoid linking to material deemed a threat to national security or social stability, said Zhang Feng, director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's Telecoms Development Department, at a news conference." Update: 07/21 21:56 GMT by S : Changed headline to reflect that this is mainly just China trying to paint a better picture of the outcome. In a comment on the linked article, a Google representative said, "This piece suggests that Google has 'bowed' to censorship. That is not correct. We have been very clear about our committment [sic] to not censor our products for users in China. The products we have kept on Google.cn (Music, Translate, Product Search) do not require any censorship by Google. Other products, like web search, we are offering from Google.com.hk, and without censorship." If you go to google.cn, you can see the prominent link to the Hong Kong version of the site.
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China Says Google Pledged To Obey Censorship Demands

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    that Google has milked all the positive PR out of standing up to China (covered by major news networks) and is prepared for the small amount of negative PR by selling out (Slashdot).

    • by Nzimmer911 (1553899) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:51AM (#32977130)
      They didn't bow at all. In Google's own words in the article's comment section: This piece suggests that Google has "bowed" to censorship. That is not correct. We have been very clear about our committment to not censor our products for users in China. The products we have kept on Google.cn (Music, Translate, Product Search) do not require any censorship by Google. Other products, like web search, we are offering from Google.com.hk, and without censorship Lucinda Barlow, Head of Public Affairs, Google AU/NZ - July 21, 2010, 2:43PM
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Major news outlets have some pretty specific standards, unlike ./ which will basically post any BS summary even if it has sh*t to do with The Fine Article. Major news outlets (AP) report only information that is passed to them through specific channels which are vetted and carefully positioned to avoid public censure. Although this results in a lot of mind-control and bias, and the news is by no means 'true', it is much, much more reliable as a 'one stop' news source than Slashdot (let's face it, people don

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by molnarcs (675885)
      Well, we'll only see some negative PR on slashdot because people don't usually read the linked articles. This is old news, it was up on BBC Online over a week ago. The only difference is that instead of the neutral "China Renews Google's License" they went for the more sensationalist "Google Bows to China" headline. Which is, by the way, not only sensationalist, but misleading as well. In other words, they still don't censor content for Chinese users, the only concession Google made was to redirect users to
  • Tiananmen Square (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:45AM (#32977030)

    The photo of the student confronting tanks isn't a national security risk.

    So they won't have to filter that.

    • Re:Tiananmen Square (Score:5, Informative)

      by thijsh (910751) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @10:00AM (#32977254) Journal
      Yeah, lot's of things are claimed in the interest of "national security"... it's the most abused term since you can't possibly be against security of your nation (and yourself). But no country is really free of this abuse...
      Example: the story of a mom (ironically named Freeman) who was arrested, convicted and lost her kids in the interest of national security [latimes.com]. She surely must have been a terrorist... right???
      The only thing different about China is the blatant censorship, most western nations try to be more subtle with their censoring... but it still happens (and guess which two words are always the reason).
      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @11:43AM (#32978634) Journal

        A flight attendant confronted Freeman [about her fighting children], who then responded by hurling a few profanities and throwing what remained of a can of tomato juice on the floor. The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Freeman's arrest and conviction [three months jailtime] for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

        That's reminiscent of what happened to Professor Gates. He gets angry about being mistreated, and suddenly he finds himself in jail.

        Apparently we no longer have free speech in the United Soviets of America. An airline should have power to remove unruly passengers, but never to arrest them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dhalka226 (559740)

        it's the most abused term since you can't possibly be against security of your nation (and yourself). But no country is really free of this abuse...

        Huh? Of course you can.

        For starters, "your nation" is an ambiguous term. If I'm a terrorist from Belgium* living as a permanent resident or even citizen of the US, what is "[my] country?" What if I am living there with the express intent of harming the country, much as the 9/11 terrorists were?

        Even if I'm purely from the US, born and raised, that's not to

      • by houghi (78078)

        and guess which two words are always the reason

        Common sence?

      • by cparker15 (779546)

        Yeah, lot's of things are claimed in the interest of "national security"... it's the most abused term since you can't possibly be against security of your nation (and yourself).

        I'm a masochistic anarchist, you insensitive clod!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      The photo of the student confronting tanks isn't a national security risk.

      So they won't have to filter that.

      Are you mad? Then everyone will know their tanks aren't student-proof! It'll be the end of China!

      • by thijsh (910751)
        If anything the photo's show the reverse: that students are not tank proof. I just saw a link to the HK google site that displayed it with full blood-and-gore glory. You'd guess they might want to highlight this little bit of 'squished cowardly dissidents' VS 'mighty peoples army tanks'.
    • The truth is a national security risk in China.

  • In my home it's my rules.
    • And Google doesn't have the balls to move out, apparently.
      • I feel for google. On one hand their "Do no evil" mantra is merely window dressing if they in fact, do evil, which helping a repressive government surely is. On the other hand, not having a direct presence in an emerging market is incredibly harmful to a global business. In my opinion google need to at least pay lip service to the PRC but continue to out perform China's own Baidu. This is the short-coming of a repressive gov; if they continue to step on and censor superior technologies eventually people are
        • Or you could, you know, open http://www.google.cn/ [google.cn] as see that it's NOT a censored version, it's a link for the UNCENSORED HK version.

          If someone is censoring it won't be Google itself - so yes, they have kept their "mantra" intact without closing Google China.

        • >>>In my opinion google need to at least pay lip service to the PRC but continue to out perform China's own Baidu. This is the short-coming of a repressive gov;

          Its also a demonstration why its foolish to fear corporations while trusting government. Corporations are powerless in the face of government and its laws. As we see here with Google - they tried to do that right thing, and lost, because the government has guns and other means to force compliance.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The only source cited in the article is "Zhang Feng, director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's Telecoms Development Department." I wouldn't put it past the Chinese government to lie about what Google is doing.

  • I could have sworn that Google bowed to China's censorship demands once before, and then retracted the censorship policy after wide-spread outcry. Or am I just misremembering things? Because if so, this seems pretty dishonest on Google's part. It's hard to make a statement about the importance of free speech if you keep changing your position on the subject. If I didn't know any better, I'd say the giant mega-corporation was just following the money.
  • at least on the servers in China - if not also in HK
  • Not true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lomegor (1643845) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:49AM (#32977108)
    Although China did say that Google is censoring its web search, it's just not true. If you go to google.cn you can see that there is an image which takes you to Google Hong Kong. Even if you RTFA all through the comments you can see the answer from a Google PR person answering to his issue saying that they are NOT censoring web search, and that the only products which remain in China are those that can exist without censorship. This is just the Chinese government trying to make it appear as if they won. That is NOT true. Again, you can't search on google.cn and google.com.hk is not censored
    • in fact, you can't do anything useful on google.cn
    • Re:Not true (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @10:02AM (#32977278)
      I guess it just shows how effective the Chinese government propaganda machine is. Hopefully the Chinese themselves aren't as stupid as all the /.ers who are buying it.

      The only thing that has ended is automatic redirects, but that doesn't do anything for the Google haters, so they will say that Google has completely caved without bothering to find out what's really going on. Here's a hint haters: Xinhua is the LAST PLACE you ever want to look to find out what's really going on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      China renewed Google's internet license after it pledged to obey censorship laws and stop automatically switching mainland users to its unfiltered Hong Kong site,

      it's just not true. If you go to google.cn you can see that there is an image which [if clicked] takes you to Google Hong Kong.

      Fixed your post for you. Now, what part of "automatically" is confusing you? Do you need me to break out the <blink> tag? I'll do it. I'll do it, man. I'm a troll on the edge.

    • by Qwavel (733416)

      Yes, thanks for that clarification.

      Have we reached the point that even on a technical site like this, the editors just accept what the Chinese government (or any gov't) says, without making the slightest effort to check it? Is that the level of discourse now?

      There has generally been a lot of confusion on this issue and this is really sad. A lot of people just read headlines and a headline such as this item has would give them totally incorrect information.

      It is important that Google is judged on what they

  • Oh my! (Score:5, Funny)

    by SimonInOz (579741) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:50AM (#32977114)

    Let's hope China does no evil.

  • by mmmmbeer (107215) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:51AM (#32977134)

    Personally, I don't trust one word of what comes from China's propagandists. Does anyone know of any press release from Google about this?

  • Pardon me while I sigh in disgust.

  • by michuk (996480) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @09:53AM (#32977164) Homepage
    As The Wired already explained a couple of days ago ( http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/07/google-china-fiction/ [wired.com] ) what Google and Chinese government agreed on is pure fiction. Google doesn't redirect Chinese users to the Honk Kong search engine automatically, but there is a button to easily switch and google.hk is left uncensored in China, meaning that the Chinese can still search Google without filtering. The article linked by Slashdot as the source presents the Chinese official version of the story which obviously hides the above fact.
  • Trolling.. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Google did not censorship anything. The only change they did is: instead of automatically redirecting to .hk domain now the users have to click the big picture on the page to be redirected.

    Wasn't there a similar article on /. before?

  • O-p-p-r-e-s-s-i-v-e G-o-v-e-r-n-m-e-n-t

    [Google Search]

    "Your search - Oppressive Government - did not match any documents."

    "Did you mean Outstanding Government?"
  • by RichMan (8097) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @10:03AM (#32977288)

    So if google is filtering "material deemed a threat to national security or social stability" from within China. Can we on the outside set it up so we can only browse the material that would be filtered within China. I think it would be educational to browse a volume of material that was "deemed a threat to national security or social stability" of China, it might also be a source of much amusement.

  • by gozu (541069)

    The time has come to let go of our juvenile and silly notions of individual freedoms and embrace the blessings of a single stable, hard working party.

    I applaud google for showing proper respect to the people of china.

    • by gozu (541069)

      Just kidding. Google did the right thing. I wholeheartedly applaud the googlers for their courage and deftness in turning the google hacking crisis into an opportunity.

        Bravo to you sirs! Bravo indeed!

      Clap Clap Clap

  • by kikito (971480) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @10:35AM (#32977674) Homepage

    Come on guys. At least read the whole thing, and not just the title, before publishing. And I mean the comments too.

  • by davmoo (63521)

    Loopholes and such aside, why is this so surprising?

    When a company operates here in the US we expect them to obey US law, even on the web, regardless of where they may happen to originate. For an example, look how hard the US works to ban online gambling, even when the companies involved are not physically located in the US, and just operate here via the web. (Whether or not the US is successful at this is a whole 'nother topic, which I won't get in to here.)

    Why does everyone expect Google to obey anything

    • by ADRA (37398)

      I think everyone assumes that Google or any other business that doesn't bribe heavily to follow the laws of the land they operate in. The controversy surrounding Google and China has typically resolved around ethics instead of laws.

      Google's corporate mantra is to 'do no evil', and in their general opinion government censorship is a bad thing with the exception or child porn I imagine. Up to a few months ago, Google actively supported the China's censorship program by restricting the results returned in thei

  • "...a threat to national security or stability..."

    Assuming Google filters this out, then there ought to be a list somewhere of "stuff we filtered out". This will make it much easier to find things to threaten and/or destabilize, should someone want to do that.

    Just saying... "One Stop Shopping for Anarchists" is probably not what China had in mind here...

    -- Terry

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.

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