Google v. the Chinese Government: Yes, We Will Help You Censor

by on January 25, 2006

At the same time Google is digging in its heels against demands by the U.S. government, it has apparently caved in to demands by the Chinese government, agreeing to censor information available from its search engine in China.

Google reasoned that the move was necessary to allow it to continue operating in China. (Check out the recent discussion here at TLF over the pros and cons of engagement.) And in some ways this will make little difference to users–since China’s government has been blocking offending sites anyway. Still, there’s something unsettling about Google itself taking on the role of censor. And there’s a even more troubling feeling that Google will do the job better than the Chinese ever could.

(For a good discussion of pros and cons of engagement, see the recent debate here at TLF on the issue. Also, has a good overview of the issue here.)

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