Google founder defends censorship

David Kirkpatrick of Fortune met with Sergey Brin (one of the co-founders of Google) at the World Economic Forum at Davos and asked him about Google’s decision to censor the Internet in China (something I posted about the other day).

Sergey’s reasoning for the censorship:

We ultimately made a difficult decision, but we felt that by participating there, and making our services more available, even if not to the 100 percent that we ideally would like, that it will be better for Chinese Web users, because ultimately they would get more information, though not quite all of it.

In the same report, David Kirkpatrick also talks to Human Rights Watch boss Ken Roth – Ken’s attitude to this mirrors the comments I made in my post – Ken said:

the answer is only going to come through safety in numbers. And it’s going to require all of the search engines to get together and say “None of us will do this.” And China needs search engines. If it can pick them off one at a time, it wins. If it faces all of the search engines at once banding together, the search engines win.

11 thoughts on “Google founder defends censorship”

  1. I don’t think this has anything to do with Google at all. If you want to get your product or service into a country you have to abide by their laws. We would expect the same of a person, company or product coming to our shore.

    The issue of censorship and its solution lies with the people of china.

    The banding together of search engines to fight china will do nothing as China already has its own search engines. Google and the like, if entering china, are actually playing catch-up to the leading Chinese engines. They are the little guys.

  2. Is China part of the UN?

    Umm yes, in fact they have a permanent seat on the security council making them one of its most powerful members.

  3. But it is not Googles job. The very fact Google are allowed in at all is a small move forward. Change is slow. Even slower for a country of that size. At the end of the day real change only comes from within.

  4. It is called profiteering Alan.

    Google are the ones who claim their motto is “Do no evil” – obviously they need to add an addendum – “Do no evil – unless it interferes with plans to make a profit, then work away with evilness”

  5. I think it is sad that Google will bend their scruples for a ruthless murderous foriegn government yet when people complain about results with the word Jew or baby Jesus no steps are taken. Just excuses!

    – One thing I found with the baby Jesus line comes up with the same #1 link in both .cn and .com – Wonder if the Chinese Govt. will complain and get results.

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