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Google, currently facing a firestorm of criticism for voluntarily abetting the Chinese government in its campaign of censorship and repression of dissent, is now crying foul at attempts by the EU to regulate content by extendng regulations regarding broadcast television to the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Google is using its deep pockets to fight back rather than just rolling over.It is completely true that the EU TV regs would, in the words of one minister opposed to the proposal, be completely destructive toward innovation and protective of politically connected rentier elites:

“There is no benefit to the consumer that justifies this move. This increased scope could mean significant regulation of the internet and stifle the growth of new media services. That would raise prices for consumers and deprive them of potential new services.

…in 10 years our successors will bemoan the handicaps we gave to European industry and the restraints we put on free speech”.

Which is not a side effect of these regulations but their central intent. They are intended to stifle growth in the information and media sector and monitor speech content.

But the irony to this battle over the EU regs is that Google’s moral position vis-a-vis the Eurocrats in Brussells would be far stronger were they not already in bed with China’s secret police.


It just occurred to me after I posted the above comments that a very important question needs to be asked of Google’s CEO:

” If you have agreed to censor what information can be accessed in China in return for greater market opportunities, have you also agreed to censor what information can be accessed about China by the rest of us ?”

Is the integrity of megasearch engines and their susceptibility to the secret influence of foreign governments a national security question as well as one of free speech and human rights ?


Dave at The Glittering Eye has more

Bruce reports Google is called to testify before Congress

5 Responses to “”

  1. Matt McIntosh Says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t see any inconsistency here? If you presume their goal is to maximize people’s access to information, the tactics will vary with the circumstances. They have more leverage in the EU than in China, so it makes more sense to put up a fight there. Like the man says, “you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…”

  2. Dan tdaxp Says:

    I like your question Mark, and I agree with Matt, but one question must be asked

    Is the integrity of megasearch engines and their susceptibility to the secret influence of foreign governments a national security question as well as one of free speech and human rights ?


  3. larry dunbar Says:

    Kind of like we are playing poker to their game of Go Fish, got any threes Matt? Go fish?

    I guess the great search will be to find out what the Chinese want us to read, unless it is unregulated. If it is unregulated we will not know what they want us to read. ” All warfare is based on deception.” Sun Tzu.

  4. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Hah, Dan. I’ve been thinking about Google’s first steps at 5GW:

    “We are convinced that the Internet, and its continued development through the efforts of companies like Google, will effectively contribute to openness and prosperity in the world. Our continued engagement with China is the best (perhaps only) way for Google to help bring the tremendous benefits of universal information access to all our users there.”

    –This is from the Official Google Blog.

    I wrote once that a 5GW foe might at first appear to be a friend…So, is Google a friend the CCP will ulitmately regret inviting for a visit?

    But the threat could go both ways. Whatever in censored in China does not affect only the Chinese populace, it affects Americans and others in the world equally. Every time a thinker in China would write about a censored subject, but can’t, we in the West are prohibited access to those thoughts. By censoring the information available to readers in China, Google censors the writers and thinkers in China who might respond to that information, and thus, Google also censors the access of information for Western readers/thinkers — and, the access of Western writers/thinkers to Chinese counterparts, since our writings are blocked from spreading there. (That is the blocking of meme transference, or the limiting of the niche environment.) So Google is limiting all of us.

    My biggest question, though, is how Google will be able to really censor effectively. If it is a robust, comprehensive censorship — even on only a handful of terms — imagine how the mere mention of a term will keep sites from being viewable in China. For instance, a blogger who comments on the very censorship in China by Google, but without mentioning “Tiananmen Square” or any of the other key terms…is now blocked in China? Or are the Chinese now able to read about the controversy, via searches with Google? At the same time, if the censorship is not so broadly applied, then some “leaks” will get through to the Chinese. I suspect that the Internet is a bit too chaotic and large for even Google to control…

  5. Matt McIntosh Says:

    Go Fish, Larry. Though I prefer just Go myself.

    As is his wont, TM Lutas provides a novel idea and a good compromise.

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