Friday, February 03, 2006

Don't be evil

From Open Democracy:

So it turns out Google is evil after all. Like a toddler who's just caught Santa beating up his little helper round the back of the grotto, the geek community reacted as one when Google entered the Chinese market with its censored service last Wednesday. Anger and disbelief quickly gave way to a sense of abandonment and fear, and as Daddy sat us down for a grown-up talk about publicly-owned companies, market economies and shareholder rights, we felt our tiny little world dissolve into a new, scarier reality. Now we've all had our little cry, what next?

It's time to start asking a few grown-up questions. Such as why were we naive enough to trust a company with such a pithy motto in the first place?

Perhaps I'm being naive about this myself, but I don't see that Google's move is necessarily a disaster for freedom.

It might be that we look back on it as the day that Google yielded to censorship and the Big Brother state, but equally we might look back on it as an early step on the road to opening up the world to the Chinese public. The foot is in the door.

1 comment:

martpol said...

There is perhaps a parallel with Beijing's hosting of the next Olympics. One argument is that they shouldn't be allowed to until they address human rights, extradjudicial executions etc. The alternative is to give them a chance and hope that such an important worldwide event is a cue for the Chinese government to improve the situation.

I'm not that hopeful of anything happening in the short term, given the monolithic nature of the governmental system in China.