Prague Twin

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Boycott Google?

Stephanie and I have been discussing a boycott on Google in response to their known active participation in internet filtering in China. The was a site dedicated to a "mass breakup with Google" on Valentine's day. It was pretty silly, but the idea was layed out pretty well. One link from the site is particularly informative. Some choice quotes from the study...

China's Internet filtering regime is the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world. Compared to similar efforts in other states, China's filtering regime is pervasive, sophisticated, and effective.

Unlike the filtering systems in many other countries, China's filtering regime appears to be carried out at various control points and also to be dynamic, changing along a variety of axes over time.

As a further indication of the complexity of China's filtering regime, we found several instances where particular URLs were blocked but the domain was accessible, despite the fact that the source of content appeared consistent across the domain - suggesting that filtering may be conducted at a finer level in China than in the other countries that we have studied closely. Moreover, China's Internet filtering appears to have grown more refined, sophisticated, and targeted during the years of ONI's testing.

So basically they are saying, "Yea, looks like somebody who really knows what they are doing has been helping them out."


Here is the question, should we stand aside while American companies help filter information for the Chinese government? Do we shrug when Yahoo! helps identify Chinese dissidents, and then they end up in prison becasue they were blogging?

Do we really want these companies refining their skills in these areas?

Stephanie suggested going after the advertisers by organizing a mass, no click movement.

Whether or not a boycott would work, I think the fact that Google is developing the systems to filter information should be a wake up call for us all regarding the reliability of the web. No matter if you believe the internet has been corrupted on occasion, the potential for abuse is substantial.

Raising awareness for Google's participation in internet filtering is a worthwhile venture. If a boycott could create a story, then it would be worth it.

I'll be doing some research this week, as I don't want to go off half-cocked.


  • My comments are hokey again, so I can't link direct, but Lisa posted a comment on my post that has a link to an article that might interest you as part of your research. I haven't read it yet, but I will soon.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 8:29 AM  

  • The New York Times
    April 23, 2006
    Google's China Problem

    That's the article info I can offer. It prints off (on my computer) at 13 pages long.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 8:31 AM  

  • Thanks.

    I linked you in this post, but for some reason it isnt showing. Sorry about that.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 2:08 PM  

  • It's okay. I'm not worried. I am now a reptile and that pleases me quite nicely.

    I'm still reading the article Lisa linked for me. So far I'm wondering how much the Chinese government had a say in it.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 10:48 AM  

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