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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 

Don't be ethical.

And so Google commits the ultimate carnal sin. Like the previous post about Jodie Marsh, the search engine has jumped into bed with someone without thinking of the consequences. Or rather, they have, but have come up with the wrong answer.

Yes, Google is launching a search engine in China which will be self-censored. It's following in the footsteps of Microsoft and Yahoo!, which even gave details to the Chinese authorities about a dissident which led to his arrest, but Google supposedly has ethics at its heart. It's motto is "don't be evil." Yet apparently working with a kleptocratic state which gives its citizens hardly any human rights and stops free speech at the grassroots is a-ok. What makes it even worse is that compared to its business in the US and other free countries, the Chinese market would be worth a rather paltry $151 million.

Google also justifies itself by saying that Chinese users can use google.com instead of google.cn. Except that, err, google.com is blocked by the Chinese firewalls, along with a huge number of other sites. What makes this even more silly is that while Google launches in China, it seems to be stalling in the US, where it is remarkably and rightly holding out against a US government request regarding an investigation into pornography.

Google sadly seems to be slipping from its original stated aims. Like most businesses, it values money over principles. Some say that this is what the market forces companies into doing. This is patently false. You only to look to examples such as the Co-operative network, and especially their bank, which refuses custom from those it considers either breach human rights or otherwise are damaging. In short, there are no justifications for Google's actions. Sure, we need to reach out to the Chinese and start a dialogue, but that does not involve self-censoring just for a quick dollar.

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This is very interesting site...
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