The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

The Hypocrisy Of Google

Posted by The Futility Monster on January 13, 2010 @ 13:00

We love you, Google!

Isn’t it funny how all of a sudden Google is pretending it has a conscience?

Let’s be honest here… they would not be pulling out of China if they hadn’t discovered that some Google Mail accounts had been hacked, human rights or no human rights.

For a company that has spent all its career cultivating a careful image of openness and democratising the web, they spectacularly sold out their soul in order to do business in China.

But now it’s all gone wrong, and the Chinese authorities are getting very excited about the potential of all that Google data held in central locations, they appear to have rediscovered their ethics.

You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t believe this sudden Damascene reconversion to the principles of freedom of speech. Where were they when everyone was telling them that their filtered search results were, “[t]hrough its collusion… endorsing censorship and repression”?

Everyone sells out to China. Big companies. Big governments. And little ones don’t have any leverage at all. After all, we gave them the Olympics. Ignore nonsense from government sources saying it was a good way of trying to make the country more open. Two years on, nothing has changed. And even if it does, would anyone really think it woz the Olympics wot won it?

Of course not. China’s evolution depends wholly on information; information which, as is self-evident by trying any controversial search on Google.cn, is clearly damaging and being withheld from their people. Information that is getting through anyway, with or without the Great Firewall.

But Google didn’t really need to get involved in this. They got greedy, and wanted a slice of the Chinese market, because they saw the devils of Microsoft and Yahoo “self-censoring” in order to enter that market. Google could have at least sounded more convincing if they’d stuck to their guns from the outset. They had been showing off about their so-called principles for years. “Do no harm” – they said, apparently.

Unfortunately for them, they have done harm, and are now desperately trying to roll back the clock and save face. Won’t happen, Google. Fortunately, our very own freedom of expression is useful indeed.

Freedoms are delicate. Some are overplayed. Some are the preserve of the rich.

But freedom of speech ought to be universal. Even in the face of blatant capitalism.

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