Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don't be Evil

In 2006, Google chose to launch a Chinese-based branch of their search engine at Google.cn. At the time, it was a controversial move, since Google agreed to abide by Chinese government demands and censor certain information from their searches, including information about Chinese human rights abuses. It's long been Google's unofficial corporate policy to not "be evil", and it seemed like kowtowing to enemies of free expression was skirting the line. I'd argue that it reached right under the line's skirt and started diddling its privates. And fortunately, it looks like Google has come to their senses. After discovering several malicious attacks on Chinese human rights activists' Gmail accounts coming from within the Chinese government, Google will now demand that the government allow uncensored searching on Google.cn, or they'll pull out of the country completely. Good for them. Not only for sticking by their non-evil principles, but also for making these malicious attacks public. It's nice to see China's huge piles of money losing to the forces of common decency for once. Full disclosure: this site is hosted on Google's servers, this blog post was originally written in Google Docs, all of my email goes through Gmail, and if my corporate overlords had a name, it would rhyme with "Scroogle". More details here.