What can you say about a search engine that refuses to give the U.S. government the time of day, but is only too happy to cave in to the demands of the tyrannical, repressive dictators in Beijing?
About all you can say is “Google.”
In case you haven’t followed it, last week Google refused to hand over data on search patterns to the U.S. Justice Department in an investigation into child pornography.
Google cited the privacy of its users, but the U.S. government is not looking for details about personal usage – only for search patterns that would show the effectiveness of anti-porn filters. The government is trying to prove that minors could stumble on to child-porn websites by accident by entering quite innocent search terms. Its lawyers say that for its case to be tested, it needs a sample of actual searches.
Yahoo!, Microsoft’s MSN and America Online all agreed to cooperate, insisting they would not hand over data that identified individual users. But Google, whose name has become synonymous with searches, refuses.
That was last week – and that was a seemingly reasonable request by the U.S. government. This week, however, concerns about big-government intrusion went out the window at Google.
When the brutes in Beijing asked Google to censor its search results in China in exchange for more access to the world’s fastest-growing Internet market, the search giant caved in without protest.
Google agreed to create a unique address for China to ensure Beijing’s subjects would not get access to information the government deemed threatening. You can be sure no one in China will be able to Google this column, for instance.
To get the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country’s government finds objectionable. Incredibly, Google will base its censorship decisions on guidance provided by Chinese government officials. Thanks to Google’s appeasement to the totalitarians, Chinese Internet users will continue to be sheltered from reading about subjects such as Taiwan’s independence movement, 1989’s Tiananmen Square massacre and the forced abortion policies of Beijing.
Google officials, who once adopted as a company motto, “Don’t be evil,” say they “agonized” over the decision. But the bottom line and the continuing appeal of communism with weak-minded “progressives” like those who run the company, won the day.
“We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation, Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China,” said Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s senior policy counsel. Translation? “We need this marketplace – at all costs. While we will never pay a price for fighting the U.S. government’s reasonable requests, we know there will be a huge economic impact for refusing Beijing’s demands.”
“This is a real shame,” said Julien Pain, head of Reporters Without Borders’ Internet desk. “When a search engine collaborates with the government like this, it makes it much easier for the Chinese government to control what is being said on the Internet.”
When Google censors results in China, it intends to post notifications alerting users that some content has been removed – to comply with local laws. The company provides similar alerts in Germany and France when, to comply with national laws, it censors results to remove references to Nazi paraphernalia. Imagine the hoops through which Google would jump to please Hitler if he were still around.
Google has clearly chosen sides in the struggle for freedom in the world. It has chosen the side of slavery – and higher profits.
It’s despicable. It’s evil. It’s immoral.
But what should we expect from a search engine whose maps already show the free and independent republic of Taiwan as part of China?
What should we expect from a search engine that bans ads for anti-Clinton books, but eagerly publishes ads for anti-Republican books?
What should one expect from a search engine that sent 98 percent of all its political donations to Democrats?
If ever there was a good time to unload that over-valued Google stock, this is it.