I’ve been waiting a while to do this post - several weeks actually since my original post. In that post, I applauded Google’s apparent interest in reigning censorship as “the first really truly non-evil thing I have seen Google do in years”. Since then, I thought it appropriate to give them some time to sift through the nuances of their blog post - you know, to give them the benefit of the doubt - of which I had many. I’m sure you remember just one month ago when Google was waxing on about how they were going to stop censoring:
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.
Well, according to The Register:
Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond never said his company would stop censoring hot-button issues such as the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
If that theory is true Google is essentially saying, “You were too stupid to read our post properly because clearly, our post means that we aren’t able to do so legally, so we’re still going to censor.” If that’s true why would Google wait to clarify such an extremely well publicized fauxpas in their own wording? Maybe they missed all those flowers at the Chinese office. No, I don’t believe that The Register’s theory is true - I think Google sincerely intended to pull out or get more support from the Chinese. However, I believe that Google is being stonewalled by the Chinese government - and for good reason. Google’s demands are impossible to comply with. But we all know that Google and China have been talking for weeks and we haven’t seen any movement other than China’s response to Hillary Clinton saying that they don’t censor (and if anyone still needs proof, email me and I’ll give you instructions on how to see it in action).
Google hasn’t stopped censoring anything, and they haven’t pulled out of China. They asked for a “few weeks” to have those talks, and it has been a few. So now we have to ask the question - does Google actually care about the Chinese people, or is it all about making money for the shareholders. We know that Google censors elsewhere in the world, it’s not just China, yet they’ve not even made mention of those citizens of the other nations. So we have to make the logical connection that Google is just acting in their own self interest and this whole China thing is a distraction from several other major issues, and has nothing to do with the best interest of people who are being censored. So now the real question is did Google do what it sent out to do?
And, so yes bravo, Google. Well done. You snowballed everyone as you stall for time trying to figure out what you want to do with your failing Chinese division. You spanked the Chinese government for hacking into your systems while you drew fire away from your crappy security around your warrant-less wiretapping system that you built into Gmail. So yes, I would have to assess Google’s incredibly calculated decision as a success, but not for the people of China or other censored peoples around the world. It’s back to business as usual at the Googleplex. And so yes, Google, you can keep slinging your ads well into the future. But I have to ask - at what cost?