Google to censor itself in China
Wednesday, January 25, 2006; Posted: 5:51 a.m. EST (10:51 GMT)
Google agreed to omit Web content that the country’s government finds objectionable.
(CNN) — Internet search engine Google has rolled out a China-based version of its popular Web site — one that bows to Beijing’s censorship laws and will edit the content of its results.
Google.cn — the Chinese language version of the search portal — debuted Wednesday with the company acknowledging the balancing act it was attempting to perform.
“In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn, in response to local law, regulation or policy,” a Google statement said.
“While removing search results is inconsistent with Google’s mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission.”
Google said it intends to report to users when information is removed from search results. The company says it does the same thing in response to local laws in Germany, France and the United States.
Prior to Wednesday’s debut in China, Google operated the Chinese-language version of the search engine through a link on its U.S. Web site, Google.com.
Previously, the Beijing government blocked the results of search requests that violated its regulations. The new Google site will self-censor based on Chinese law.
The Google statement said the tradeoff for going against its basic principle of making the “world’s information universally available and accessible” is gaining greater access to a quickly growing Chinese economy.
“As an emerging economic powerhouse, China is developing rapidly, thanks in no small measure to the Internet,” Google said. “We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation, Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China.”
Google’s cooperation with the Chinese government comes on the heels of the company’s resistance to a U.S. Justice Department subpoena, asking Google to turn over a week’s worth of search results.
The request is part of a case designed to protect children from Internet porn.
Google said the government query “overreaches.”
maybe it’s just me, but this reeks of hypocracy.