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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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @05:45PM (#38896483)

    blogs dealing with sensitive topics are no longer Google's problem. Isn't that exactly what they want?

  • Alternative? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @05:49PM (#38896525) Homepage

    Anybody have a recommendation for an alternative blogging platform? Preferably one hosted in Europe by a non-US company, and one where it is reasonably easy to migrate from Blogger.

  • Re:So much for... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Artraze (600366) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @05:57PM (#38896651)

    They are doing this to follow local laws. Now, I understand that what's moral and legal don't always align, but at what point did *obeying the law* become *evil*! Sure, you can come up with some contrived circumstances, but I highly any will be in play here. This is about blocking content that people and/or their leaders want blocked. Honestly, it seems closer to evil to go against their wishes by not blocking it.

    Companies aren't responsible for carrying out your civil disobedience campaign for you.

    (And are you, yourself, evil for not running one of your own?)

  • by RocketRabbit (830691) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @06:08PM (#38896775)

    I wonder what Google is censoring in the USA? Could be that they have strict orders to keep whatever it is secret, so nobody will even know about it.

    And before anybody jumps down my throat and vaporishly wails "Oh but that COULDN'T happen in AMERICA!" please direct your attention to this post : http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/9/30/215-section-act-patriot/ [thecrimson.com] and senator Wyden's recent comments on secret interpretations of the Patriot act.

    We are really down the rabbit hole here folks.

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

    by lee1 (219161) <lee@lee-phillips.oTEArg minus caffeine> on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @06:23PM (#38896941) Homepage
    Google censors results [lee-phillips.org] in the US in response to political pressure, and lies about it. No laws involved at all.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @07:14PM (#38897453) Homepage Journal

    Google is doing the blocking so they can do business in the nations requesting the block.

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

    You can't blame Google for following the rules! Sorry, but that's just the FACTS OF LIFE.

  • Re:So much for... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @07:40PM (#38897687)

    Funny because Slashdot heaped on tons of criticism to Microsoft and Yahoo for "complying with local laws" when it came to censorship yet the fanbois are out in full strength to once again defend Google for doing the same thing.

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @07:56PM (#38897851)

    You can't blame Google for following the rules!

    Sure you can. The Nuremberg defense is not a defense.

    Personally, I think the US needs an antitrust exemption for companies who want to collude strictly for the purpose of refusing to comply with, or otherwise opposing, foreign legislation that would violate the US First Amendment.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @08:37PM (#38898197)

    What about US legislation that would violate the US First Amendment?

  • Re:So much for... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:08AM (#38899597)

    The Ministry of Search - Googleplex in leetspeak - was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous outstretched structure of glittering steel and glass. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Corporation:

        CLOSED IS OPEN
        CENSORSHIP IS FREEDOM
        SURVEILLANCE IS PRIVACY

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @12:27AM (#38899691)

    It's easy for people to just see things in black and white, but you're not one of the people actually living in countries where censoring happens. I live in China. The alternative to region censorship is that nearly All foreign blog providers, as well as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and such are Completely blocked, and Chinese people are forced towards more heavily controlled Chinese alternatives (where people practice auto-censoring, even, to avoid getting into trouble). Google often gets blocked for short periods of time too.

    The result? Major annoyance and decrease to productivity: Chinese search engines are just not as good as Google, and there are many non-political information I'd want to access from blogs and other sites (research, tutorials, etc.). Google Docs is often blocked.

    In fact, even in countries with censoring, control over foreign websites is imperfect. For example, I can access Slashdot without a VPN, and most major forums have threads with political discussions somewhere. When a major service starts censoring, a lot of things in fact go under the radar, so it still vastly increases individual awareness. However, blocking the service and all its alternatives completely Does prevent access to a lot of information.

    Basically, because people not living in countries with censorship complain about their services blocking say... 20% of sensitive content, the whole service gets blocked off, meaning people in that country can't access the remaining 80% of politically meaningful sensitive content, and can't access the 90% of total content that is "everything else" either. If this new feature allows Google to operate all its services in China, then I welcome this move.

  • by Wandering Idiot (563842) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:05AM (#38899835)
    I'm as concerned with the US slipping towards totalitarianism as the next guy, but for the love of god please shut the fuck up with the stupid FEMA meme.
  • by RevEngr (565050) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:21AM (#38899943)

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

    You can't blame Google for following the rules! Sorry, but that's just the FACTS OF LIFE.

    I think what you call arrogance is what a lot of people would see as idealism, or at least, being consistent with the ideals of an open internet. I, for one, don't understand why Blogger has any obligation whatsoever to any foreign government. I am probably unrealistically naive, but i still believe in an internet that transcends nationality, and I'm afraid I don't see the exchange of services or information over the Internet as the necessary equivalent of 'doing business' in any traditional sense.

    Some governments may choose to try to block access to Blogger if they don't like the content, which is sad and has undoubtedly already happened. The response of Blogger and the rest of the Internet community should be to work to restore that access. I don't pretend it's an easy problem, but this action to move to ccTLDs looks like a dangerous compromise.

    We're all very familiar around here with the history of the Internet and the important role governments have played in its development, but it just seems to be going backwards to start drawing political boundaries over this beautiful mess we've created. We have something here that can bring us to a better world than we've been able to achieve by carving up the planet into geopolitical territories; we shouldn't be selling it short to placate entrenched interests.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:21AM (#38900603) Homepage Journal

    The idealism only goes as far as lining American pockets.

    Witness SOPA, ACTA, etc.

    The fact that the media companies have the American government in it's pocket through lobbyists is irrelevant to the rest of the world. We don't care why your government is abusive; that's an internal problem for the US. What we care about is that you do not (as a government) act anywhere near the ideals you espouse on the international stage.

    And as soon as the American people wake up to the fact that the American government doesn't give a damn what they want, only what the lobbyists want, the sooner there might be change in that global perception of the US. Take back control of your OWN government before you try to tell anyone else how to run theirs.

    Take off those rose coloured glasses. You can't see shit with them on!

  • by dnaumov (453672) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:54AM (#38900721)

    The notion is ridiculous. If you have a website that's publically accessible from all over the world, then by your definition you "do business" in every single country of the world. The idea that this means you must now adhere to laws of every single country able to access the website is blantantly insane.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @08:44AM (#38901397)

    It would be better if Google just cut off those countries entirely. That would add more fuel to any impending revolution. Censoring lets the people continue to live in denial.

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