I have been reading a lot of articles lately concerning the issue of search engines censoring their chinese search engines because the Chinese government demanded it. Google has also agreed to go against their own basic policy of not censoring information and provided China with a google.cn address which will in fact censor information. Yahoo and Microsoft have also agreed to do this. This has raised many eyebrows among everyone, including the US House of Representatives who have openly confronted the search engine giants about their decisions. I'd like to include a bit that was interesting from a Register.co.uk article. These are the responses by the search engine PRs to a democrat Tom Lantos:
According to the article:
Yahoo! Senior Vice President Michael Callahan agreed the Shi Tao matter "raises profound and troubling questions about basic human rights", but insisted that his company had "made our views clearly known to the Chinese government".
Google Vice President Elliot Schrage offered: "The requirements of doing business in China include self-censorship - something that runs counter to Google's most basic values and commitments as a company." He added that Google's Chinese search engine "respects the content restrictions imposed by Chinese laws and regulations".
Microsoft lobbyist Jack Krumholtz, in response to Landos' enquiry as to whether his company was ashamed of its actions, echoed Google's justification with: "We comply with legally binding orders whether it's here in the US or China."
The next part absolutely shocked me. Lantos asks:
Well, IBM complied with legal orders when they cooperated with Nazi Germany. Those were legal orders under the Nazi German system... Do you think that IBM during that period had something to be ashamed of?
I was shocked when I read this. The search engines have justified their actions by saying they are simply obeying the laws of the country. I'm not sure what I would like to see. No censorship or obeying the government? It's a very delicate issue because I can see the Chinese government being worried about absolute freedom of speech, etc. I just wanted to hear some opinions out there on what you guys think about this whole issue.