Monday, 26 July 2010

Google sticking with China

So, Google's crumbling under the pressure of China's demands to have Google obey Chinese rather strict censorship laws and to stop redirecting Chinese users to the legally more open Hong Kong site.

The information ethicist in me is disappointed but the realist in me is not so upset. I mean, it's not good to pander to unethical demands simply for money, but of course Google is a for-profit company, right? We can't really expect them to sacrifice a market like China. And, if we want to resolve the problem at all, Google having a presence in China, even a mollifying one, is better than having no presence there at all... perhaps. They're probably thinking that if they do not give in and maintain their presence, another internal business may steal it away forever (if one hasn't already). On the ethical long term perspective, perhaps Google's existence within China will help bring change indirectly or subtly if they can't do it explicitly. On the other hand, perhaps a company or resource from within China would have a better chance of defying Chinese internet control explicitly or under the radar. Hard to say.

I guess my judgement on Google in China is: can't be expected to act otherwise and it may actually help.

[ Refers to "Google bows to China's censorship demands" from The Sydney Morning Herald ]

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