January 25, 2006

With the Goo-Goo-Googley Eyes

Hatched by Dafydd

Now let me see if I have gotten this bull by the tail, so I can look the facts in the face.

Google -- the search engine guys we all know and loathe -- made a big to-do earlier this month about refusing to cooperate with the United States government when the feds wanted to do some data-mining to see how many kids were accessing porn sites:

The exception among major search engines was Google Inc., which said it would "vigorously" fight the government's requests.

The government had asked Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., for a broad amount of data, including a million random Web addresses and records of Google searches over any week, the Associated Press reported....

Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., Yahoo, Sunnyvale, Calif., and AOL, Dulles, Va. unit of Time Warner Inc., said they provided the data without handing over personal information on subscribers.

"We did comply with their request for data in regards to helping protect children in a way that ensured we also protected the privacy of our customers," MSN spokesman Adam Sohn said in a statement. "We were able to share aggregated query data, not search results, that did not include any personally identifiable information at their request....”

While it appeared the government was not seeking personal data that would identify individuals, there was still reason for concern, Sullivan said. [Danny Sullivan is an editor of Search Engine Watch.]

"Nothing suggests that they wanted to know who did the searches in any way," Sullivan said. "Having said this, such a move absolutely should breed some paranoia. They didn't ask for data this time, but next time, they might."

All right, I can understand that; Google simply doesn't want to compromise its "Don't be evil" corporate motto (I rib you not) by climbing into bed with a government, rather than catering to its user base. Um... except when some real money might be at stake, that is. Then, they're willing to bed the Devil himself:

Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin said his company's decision to self-censor its Chinese search system followed a change of heart over how best to foster the free flow of information.

Google said on Tuesday it will block politically sensitive terms on its new China search site and not offer e-mail, chat and blog publishing services, which authorities fear can become flashpoints for social or political protest. Those actions go further than many of its biggest rivals in China....

"There is no question. Google would tell you that going into China is about making money, not bringing democracy," John Palfrey, author of a study on Chinese Internet censorship and a law professor at Harvard Law School, on Google's action.

Some uncharitable folks might purport to see some sort of dichotomy here: Google makes a big show about refusing to cooperate with the American government -- which won't punish them, even financially, for their petulance -- but they wriggle like a puppy for the Chinese government, which would have blocked them completely if they hadn't agreed to be, let's say, a little bit evil. Think of the money they would have lost by refusing just that miniscule bit of evilness!

But of course, Reuters hastens to reassure us, it's not just the Chinese who demand (successfully) that Google cooperate with censorship: there's Germany, France -- and of course the Great Satan of Censorship, George W. Bush and the Americans:

In different political circumstances, Google already notifies users of its German and French search services when it blocks access to material such as banned Nazi sites in Europe.

"France and Germany require censorship for Nazi sites, and the U.S. requires censorship based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA). These various countries also have laws on child pornography," he said.

The DCMA law requires U.S. Internet service providers to block access to Web sites violating copyrights on materials such as music or movies.

Yeah, sure, Google is helping China block political sites, speech, and thoughts that might discomfit the one-party Communist dictatorship, maybe even opening the eyes of Chinese subjects to freedom and democracy. But America is just as bad, since they insist Google not participate in theft of copyrighted materials or the distribution of child pornography. Surely you can see the parallel!

Um, Mr. President Sergey Brin? Perhaps it's time to amend that corporate motto.

(Any readers of Big Lizards who would care to suggest a new, updated, and more accurate motto for Google, please leave a comment to that effect... bearing in mind the Reptillian Comment Policy, of course!)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 25, 2006, at the time of 11:53 PM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: The Apologist

I couldn't find a way to email you so I'll leave my question here.

HansBricks is claiming that on Hannity and Colmes last night Saddam's former Top General Georges Sada claimed they sent their WMD to Syria in jumbo jets in Nov. of '02. Link here: http://hansbricks.com/2006/01/26/saddams-top-general-we-flew-56-jumbo-jets-of-wmd-to-syria/

Have you heard anything about this guy Sada?

The above hissed in response by: The Apologist [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 2:29 AM

The following hissed in response by: Stephen Macklin

You Can't Google That

The above hissed in response by: Stephen Macklin [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 3:23 AM

The following hissed in response by: Hal

New motto: "Evil is relative."

The above hissed in response by: Hal [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 3:30 AM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

How about reflecting their small adjustment to their practices with a small adjustment to their corporate motto... one which focuses also on their earnings, their forum, and their actions:

"Don't Be Net Evil"

As a bonus, you could do a sports cross-over, and maybe finally get Anna Kournikova to come visit them in Mountain View!

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 4:36 AM

The following hissed in response by: hunter_23

How typical of rich liberals: refuse to cooperate with legitimate US government work, while bending over with a smile for the real tyrants.
Will google next help castro filter the internet?

The above hissed in response by: hunter_23 [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 5:37 AM

The following hissed in response by: Mescalero

This morning I googled "Google", and guess what showed up on the screen of my laptop? "Google = Hypocrisy"!

The above hissed in response by: Mescalero [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 7:22 AM

The following hissed in response by: mun

"Greed is Good"

This morning I replaced Google as my browser home page in favor of Askjeeves. A small candle lit.

The above hissed in response by: mun [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 8:34 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

The Apologist:

Have you heard anything about this guy Sada?

No, never heard of him. But a few points:

  1. There has been a lot of evidence that Iraq sent its WMD to Syria.
  2. There has been some good evidence that Iraq didn't send their WMD to Syria.
  3. There are any number of people who claim to know whether Iraq did or did not send their WMD to Syria, and some of them know what they're talking about.
  4. Alas, we cannot tell those people from the one who don't know diddly.

Once we accept those four points, we are better situated to evaluate, e.g., some general named Sada who appears on Hannity and Colmes and claims Iraq moved its WMD to Syria: it's just one more datapoint.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 12:17 PM

The following hissed in response by: Tongue Boy

"You can't Google there from here."

"Google - the CNN of the Web. 'cept we don't truck with no trust fund babies!"

"Try a delicious, refreshing Google. Beats those dissidents cold!"

"Google One - great taste, zero content."

"New, improved Google. Now with fewer choices and more selective outrage."

The above hissed in response by: Tongue Boy [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 26, 2006 1:21 PM

The following hissed in response by: Stephen M. St. Onge

        As far as I'm concerned, Google's motto is "Don't Be Evil— UNLESS IT PAYS REALLY WELL!"

The above hissed in response by: Stephen M. St. Onge [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 29, 2006 5:26 AM

The following hissed in response by: Stephen M. St. Onge

        OOPS!  I forgot: I'll be needing a new blog hosting service (Blogger is owned by Google).

        Anyone with recommendations, please leave them at here.

The above hissed in response by: Stephen M. St. Onge [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 29, 2006 5:31 AM

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