Friday, February 03, 2006

Censorship, China, and Google

I recently posted how Google is being critisized for putting up a crippled version of their search engine for China. Of course, other technology companies have done likewise, but Google is high profile and has the motto "don't be evil". Part of me feels that all companies should have "do evil" as their explicit corporate objective, simply to quiet critics.

"But what you're doing is eeeevillll!!"

"Yes. That's been our explicit aim since our inception."


Whatever. Chinese politicians have been impoverishing Chinese people for hundreds of years, and in the great scale of things a crippled search engine is so much more benign than, say, the Great Leap Forward, or any other Marxist economic policy, that I just cannot get too worked up. Google has a reasonable explanation of their decision here.

But while crippled search is wrong in China (censorship!), political cartoons about Islam in Europe are even wronger (censorship!) It seems that some paper in Holland published cartoons that were offensive to Islam. Islamists reacted by brandishing firearms, threatening murder etc. Humor is not big in the Muslim world, and they certainly do not have the "turn the other cheek" approach towards blasphemy that Christians have now, so I'll be interested to see how angry muslims in Egypt can control the presses in Europe.


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