In the wake of Google's decision to stop censoring their search engine in China, co-founder Sergey Brin both called on the US government to fight Chinese censorship and called out Microsoft for continuing to censor. Danny Sullivan cries hypocrisy:
Google surrounded [its decision to enter China in 2006] with all types of statementsthat censorship was really something it was doing to help a largepopulation find good, non-politically sensitive information that wasn’tsubject to censorship. [...] But bottomline, it was still a business move, to me. If Google just wanted tohelp people in China get good information, it could have spent the pastfour years helping to construct ways for people in China to bypasstheir government’s firewall. Or the past four years arguing that the USgovernment and US-based businesses should follow its lead in stayingout of China.
I then asked Drummond about something that has always puzzled me. Ifthe original occasion for the shift of policy was (as generallyreported) a hacking episode, why did it lead to a change in thecensorship policy? What's the logical connection? He explained thereasoning in a way I hadn't seen before.
His partial reply:
[The hacking] was almost singularly focused on getting into Gmail accounts specifically of human rights activists, inside China or outside. They tried to do that through Google systems that thwarted them. On top of that, there were separate attacks, many of them, on individual Gmail users who were political activists inside and outside China. There were political aspects to these hacking attacks that were quite unusual. That was distasteful to us. It seemed to us that this was all part of an overall system bent on suppressing expression, whether it was by controlling internet search results or trying to surveil activists.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.