Friday, January 15, 2010

Google and cadmium - part one

..."Censorship may spur Google to exit China - tech giant also point to cyberattacks as an issue"... (USA Today, 1.13.2010)

I've read a lot about China this week. Between articles that my mom clipped out for me and research I've done about Chinese factory workers, I have a lot of China-related information floating around and to be honest, my brain is feeling pretty muddled. I'm still trying to make sense of it all. While I do that, I'll fill you in on Google and cadmium.

According to Google's official blog (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/google-in-china.html), the company's first attempts at wooing the Chinese people with a fast, efficient search engine backfired. Google.com worked only when it wanted to, and even when it was running, service was slow. Google needed to be local. Enter google.cn, the Republic of China's very own Google presence, in January of 2006. There was a price tag attached, however. In order to be local, Google had agree to censor the search results according to the government's wishes. Chinese internet users don't have access to email, chat rooms, and blogging, however, as Google doesn't want to give the government access to those personal services.

This is all coming from a company whose slogan has been "Don't do evil." Google argues that giving the Chinese a censored search engine is better than giving them no search engine at all. In recent news, Google is now reconsidering its involvement with China as Gmail accounts belonging to Chinese human rights activists in the U.S. were recently hacked.

If you recall, one of our reasons for boycotting China was because it supports a communist dictatorship. It's hard for any of us to fathom communism when we ourselves live in a land of democracy. Merriam-Webster defines communism as "a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party owns state-owned means of production." By demanding that Google censor its search engine according to one government's specifications, China is exercising communism and effectively controlling its people.

Should a government be allowed to censor information? Should a U.S. company provide a censored search engine to another country? Would we, as Americans, stand for OUR country to censor OUR search engines? If we wouldn't stand for it here, why should we support a country that does it to its own people?

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. Viktorija, don't be too sure that communism is that hard to fathom here in the US. It's a scary thing, to listen to the news and see how far left this administration is seeking to take our traditionally conservative right country. Communism and Socialism are sneaking in the back doors everywhere. Just look at health care. Look at the government takeovers of the car manufacturers, of banking, of insurance companies. America is not impenetrable to these socialistic principles, which is why we cannot be lazy and think, "America will always be free." We must do our part to keep her as the bastion of freedom in a world of slavery.