Thursday, March 25, 2010

First Step for Chinese

Well, it’s official, Google are my new best friends, not that there services and I haven’t been romantically involved for years now anyway, but on Tuesday, after many months of contemplation, Google have finally told China to get stuffed. It is the first real significant step toward putting the Chinese Government in its place.

On the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last year, I wrote about how disgusted I was that the Chinese were being misdirected and silenced in regards to their history in such a modernised world like the one that exists now, you can find that post here. If you’re too lazy to read it, I most notably pointed out the fact that the internet and, namely, Google China are essentially a censored by-product of the government to hide anything they oppose, including the events of June 4th, 1989, but Tuesday marked the day where this is no longer the case. Google have decided to no longer censor there search results by closing and having it redirect you to Hong Kong’s Google which is uncensored. In Twenty Years of Silence, I was essentially driven by optimistic media reports, I had hoped that this first step would have already occurred by now in the form of a Tiananmen Square memorial at the actual site around the time I wrote that post, unfortunately this was hardly evident in my eyes once I’d managed to read reports posted later that day; that’s what makes this particular event so very significant.

The Chinese deserve this, a large non-partisan entity telling their government that it’s 2010 and that bullying will no longer be tolerated by fascist-minded politics. I’m not too clear on the details of the why as of yet, Google seemed to state that they have cut censoring to protect themselves against cyber-crime originating in China, which that excuse makes no real sense to me, I mean, surely strengthening security would be a more logical-decision over evading a country’s censorship, especially considering that this move could end up killing Google access in a country that essentially has the largest population in the world. Personally, I feel that Google are just using the event of Chinese hackers, which did happen, to disguise their underlying qualms with having to censor, but I’m just speculating really.

So, with a significant amount of noise surrounding it, the first step has been made, now the next step would be for other corporations to follow suit. Go Daddy, a popular domain registrar, began cutting down on .cn registrations yesterday; however, Microsoft, who operates Bing – a service competing with Google, have stated that they will continue to follow China’s laws as agreed (perhaps for the wrong reasons says Google co-founder, which is troubling). So time will only tell what the future holds for the Great Firewall of China; will corporations follow Microsoft’s lead and help it continue its attempt to shield mainland China from the rest of the world, or will it perish just like the Berlin Wall did? My optimism lies with the latter.

100122161041_google_china_flag_ap_4.jpg picture by PaRaDoXIzHeRe

Other Links:
Google kills, no longer filtering results
Google's Sergey Brin disappointed with Microsoft's China stance
Google’s Mainland China service availability summary
Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989

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