Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Little Too Late?

Times Online reports that Google is having second thoughts about it entry into the Chinese market; to the point of admitting that they may have compromised its principles. I wonder if this sort of mea culpa is an honest one or simply a reaction to the avalanche of criticism it has received since: from bowing to Chinese censorship on dissidents to accusations of bias in its Google News site.
The pact made between Google and China’s leaders led to the internet company being branded "a megaphone for communist propaganda" at a US Congressional hearing called after the move.

Critics including Reporters Without Borders, the press freedom group, have called China "the world champion" of internet censorship. The country has invested heavily in a sophisticated filtering system, dubbed "The Great Firewall", which allows the authorities to search out dissidents and block their sites.

Mr Brin said: "We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese and be a more effective service and perhaps make more of a difference."

The lure of the massive Chinese market has also seen Google's arch-rivals Microsoft and Yahoo! dragged into the controversy. In particular, Yahoo! has been condemned for handing over e-mail details that led to several outspoken Chinese bloggers being jailed.
Makes you wonder if the "do no evil" motto would weigh more than the "rake in the money" they seem to be following. If Google is really repentant of its action, the only fair, sincere, and respectable thing to do would be to SHOW it by withdrawing from the Chinese market and foregoing those profits.

After all, their motto is "do no evil" - it seems maintaining their entry in China is in complete opposition to that philosophy.

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