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.
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.
News reports indicate that Google will begin providing free music downloads in China. Apparently Chinese Internet users have grown so accustomed to downloading music online, that piracy and illegal downloading has impacted music sales there more than even what the RIAA claims to be such a huge problem here in the U.S. Relatedly, Google has […]
John Palfrey and Jonathan Zittrain have published a wonderful opinion piece at CNet about how Internet companies struggle with certain “gray zones” of complicity with oppressive regimes and their desire to filter and censor Web content. They try to provide answers to the question “what’s a corporation to do” when confronted with requests that are […]
Google has finally made the complete transformation. They are no longer some kind of benevolent, altruistic company trying to help people learn and grow by providing access to knowledge online. Now, they’re just one of many .com companies trying to build some software applications and make a buck. Here’s the story as I see it. […]
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 websites like Stormfront.org, for example. In the US, Google censors sites containing child pornography, Google’s […]
An important press release came out this week regarding a coalition of Internet companies, IT providers, human rights organizations, and academics joining forces to address human rights violations enabled by technologies and practices by some of the member organizations, such as providing means of surveillance for regimes like China to identify and jail dissident citizens. […]
Leslie Burger, the president of the American Library Association is helping Google celebrate Banned Books Week, taking place this year Sept. 23-30. Her post at Google’s blog encourages us to visit google.com/bannedbooks, where we can use Google Book Search to explore some of the best novels of the 20th century which have been challenged or […]
Wikipedia has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to censorship of politically sensitive entries. Jimmy Wales also challenged other Internet companies, including Google, to justify their claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with China’s repressive policies, noting that censorship is: antithetical to the philosophy of Wikipedia. We occupy […]
Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have undermined the rights of Chinese to freedom of expression through their actions in China, according to Amnesty International.”All three companies have, in one way or another, facilitated or colluded in the practice of censorship in China,” Amnesty said in a report, noting that these actions contradict the companies’ stated values. […]