Four years after their controversial agreement to censor search results at the behest of the Chinese government, Google have, it seems, grown a pair.
In a restrained but firm press release yesterday, Google says that they are ‘no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn’. They make public that their infrastructure (and that of some 20 other large companies) has been attacked from China and content stolen. Also, the Gmail accounts of human rights campaigners not only in China have been targeted (with very limited success they say).
Google’s informal motto, the highly aspirational ‘Don’t Be Evil’, was challenged by human rights organisations when they agreed to comply with China’s heavy-handed approach to censorship. At the time they said that it was ‘better for Chinese citizens to have access to some of Google, which can be achieved via partial self-censorship, than to be completely censored anyway by the Chinese government and given no access at all”.
Now they finally understand that they are dealing with bloody China rather than Sweden, they’ve done the right thing and thrown down the gauntlet in a pretty unprecedented way. They’ll most likely pack their bags, but not without pushing over a few more bricks and loosening some of the foundations of the Great Firewall of China.