We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Many conservative commentators have been applauding Google’s newfound resistance to China’s internet controls, and hoping that the Obama administration takes heed.Although Google’s speaking out is to be welcomed, at least for again highlighting the issue, Google and its US hi-tech compatriots, like CISCO and Yahoo, have been hip-deep in furthering domestic repression in despotic countries across the globe, including China.
In this case, the Obama administration actually has cause to blame Bush.I wrote many columns in 2005-6 about this freedom repression complicity by US hi-tech leaders (see below the fold, at Read More, for a link list I just compiled for another researcher) with the looking-away by the Bush administration which was more interested in foreign trade than foreign freedoms.
But, there’s still more to the story.China’s house internet provider, Baidu, has eaten Google’s lunch in China and is expanding globally.Baidu’s stock has widely outperformed Google’s.Google’s new verbal resistance is more a competitive move to highlight to other governments Baidu’s role in repressing free searches on its search engine, and to increase Google’s prospects in China by getting permission from China to offer more freedom of searches than Baidu. There may be some loosening, but that skeptically remains to be seen, as China has more than one way to skin Internet freedom and will.
Google and other US companies are duplicitous in their dealings with despotic regimes, hiding their furtherance of repression behind free trade and freedom rhetoric that is hollow.
Updates: The Wall Street Journal has a useful overview of Google in China. Congressman Chris Smith, a liberal Republican from New Jersey, has long led the fight for human rights and internet freedom, including his Global Online Freedom Act. As reported in the links below, Google like other US hi-tech companies opposed it. Now, Google is in favor. Also, see China's cyberspace policy.
Please let's not encourage the Administration into placing access controls on the Internet [in the name of the Fairness Doctrine, no less]. The Google/China thing is their own battle. What I really dread is our Administration asserting control over what we, and our own Internet, post or do not post.
I spent some of my post-secondary educational years in Cambridge, Massachusetts during the early '70's. Apartheid was in full force in South Africa, and it was determined by the local students that Polaroid Corporation was the vendor for the ID system that was used to help facilitate the enforcement of the apartheid policies. Picketing and sanctions ensued, until Polaroid gave up. I wonder why this is not happening to Cisco, Google et. al.?