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Google Begins Country-Specific Blog Censorship 250

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-for-your-eyes dept.
bonch writes "Google will begin redirecting blogs to country-specific URLs. Blog visitors will be redirected to a URL specific to their location, with content subject to their country's censorship laws. A support post on Blogger explains the change: 'Over the coming weeks you might notice that the URL of a blog you're reading has been redirected to a country-code top level domain, or "ccTLD." For example, if you're in Australia and viewing [blogname].blogspot.com, you might be redirected to [blogname].blogspot.com.au. A ccTLD, when it appears, corresponds with the country of the reader's current location.'"
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Google Begins Country-Specific Blog Censorship

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  • by RazzleFrog (537054) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @04:49PM (#38896523)

    If you read the article Google is doing this so when a blog is censored in one country it isn't censored everywhere and you can always access the blog by appending ncr (no country recognition). This means they found away AROUND the by country censorship. Talk about spinning a story.

  • by bazmail (764941) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @04:49PM (#38896527)
    This is a very sinister move in my opinion, as the only way we used to get to know about posts being censored in foreign countries is when they disappear from our radars in more free countries. Now the only way we'll know is by running some sort of massively networked diff program, comparing views originating in censored countries with ours.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @04:51PM (#38896551)

    TOA says:
    >> If you would like to see a non-affected page, you can direct to google.com/ncr (NCR stands for “no country redirect”),
    >> which places a short term cookie that temporarily prevents geographical redirection.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @04:56PM (#38896621) Homepage

    Once censorship starts it doesn't ever stop. Next up ISP blocking. You are watching the creation of the new internet piece by rotting piece.

  • Re:So much for... (Score:4, Informative)

    by CowTipperGore (1081903) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @05:08PM (#38896763)

    If you had bothered to RTFA, you would see

    [M]igrating users to local domains will help promote the freedom of expression while allowing the flexibility to abide by local law.

    Anyone can use google.com/ncr (NCR stands for “no country redirect”) to see the original page without geographical redirection.

  • Re:So much for... (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @05:53PM (#38897249)

    "google: not dictators but #1 *with* dictators"

    (apologies to the simpsons for ref to their '#1 with racists' joke)

  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @06:15PM (#38897469)
    No, it reduces the usefulness of google as a search engine. But people don't HAVE to use google.
  • by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @07:10PM (#38897949) Homepage Journal

    Nice answer. But if they were doing that because of China, theyd have acted earlier. By the way, they already closed their Chinese subsidiary, thus Google isn't subject to China's law anymore.

    The fact that they started doing that just after SOPA and PIPA threatened to become laws just passed over your head...

  • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @07:22PM (#38898055) Homepage Journal

    Despite American arrogance, all companies are required to abide by the laws of the customer's nation if they do business there.

    Except, of course, in the US itself, where fines imposed on corporate "persons" for violating laws are typically much less than the corporation has earned from the violations.

    At the extreme, I've read a few studies that compared the fines for things (bad drugs, contaminated food, etc.) that killed people, and reported that the per-casualty fine was typically less than $500, often under $100. You and I would be jailed and/or executed for selling things that kill people; corporations usually just get what amounts to a slight surcharge on their taxes.

    Of course, you are free to believe whatever you like about how companies are required to follow laws. But being fined a few thousand bucks for a violation that raked in millions isn't much of an incentive to be law abiding.

  • Re:So much for... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @08:49PM (#38898741)
    If it works like google.com, you'll be able to circumvent it by plugging in the country code for the site you really want. e.g. When I was living in Canada and wanted Canadian search results I could just go to google.com, which would redirect to google.ca. But if I wanted U.S.-centric results, I could just search on google.us.

    So if the blog you want to read is on blogspot.com.au, and blogspot.com for your country redirects to blogspot.com.nk which has censored the blogspot.com.au article, you can still reach it directly via blogspot.com.au.

    Of course if your country has blocked blogspot.com.au, then you still can't read it. But then it's your country's fault, not Google's.

    It's an interesting solution to the "how do I make one website which complies with all countries' laws?" conundrum. While it would be cool for a company to "stick it to the man" and thumb their noses at repressive governments, I don't think that's realistic, nor would I call it evil for a foreign company/individual to fail to stick up for my rights. Freedom has to be earned, from within. If it's given by outsiders, it's not treasured, and may be discarded by the wayside. This way, if you see a bunch of people talking about an article on blogspot.com.au and it's not showing up for you on blogspot.com.nk, and you go to blogspot.com.au and find the site blocked, at least you know that your country/ISP is censoring.

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