Google’s “New Approach” to China isn’t to End Censorship, But Simply to Leave

Starting today, users visiting Google.cn will be redirected to Google.com.hk, Google’s Hong Kong search portal, where search results will be provided free from the filtering Google had previously been performing on Google.cn. Google is touting this as ending censorship in China, but, as Siva Vaidhyanathan has pointed out, that really isn’t the case. It’s an end-around. A slight-of-hand.

While Google is trying to do the right thing here, and it hopes it can deliver unfiltered results to China from Google.com.hk (or force China to take some kind of action against the Hong Kong site). But I fear this move will instead result in further failure to serve the interests of Chinese Internet users, and another lost opportunity to fight oppressive online censorship.

Google Shareholders Reject Anti-Censorship Proposal

Unfortunately, Google’s shareholders have rejected the anti-censorship proposal that aimed to ensure that the important human value of access to knowledge would be adhered to by the company who pledges to “do no evil.” To say I’m not surprised is…

Google Censorship FAQ

Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscoped has published an unofficial Google Censorship FAQ where he answers over 35 questions related to Google’s censorship activities. Highlights include: What does Google censor? It depends on the country. In Germany, Google censors certain Nazi…

Google Updates Censorship Policy

Google’s official policy on censoring and otherwise altering search results has been updated since their decision to provide censored results for China. The policy can be found at the help page for the question “Does Google censor search results?” The…

Open Questions Remain in Facebook Censorship Flap

Facebook has provided only a generic comment noting that the gay-kiss image was removed in error. But many unanswered questions remain. Critical questions, indeed, considering the cruel dichotomy of Facebook’s mission to “[Give] people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” and its unquestioned power to control the platform, and thus the conditions under which people are allowed to share.

Facebook’s Censorship Problem

Facebook recently removed a photo of two men kissing from a user’s Wall due to an apparent violation of the site’s terms of service. This act of censorship has received considerable attention, and while it is reasonable for Facebook to try to control some of the content shared on its platform, there are some fundamental concerns with this case that point to a growing censorship problem within Facebook, especially when considered against the backdrop of Facebook’s potential entry into China.