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China: Google bows to govt. pressure, launches censored version of search engine site - free speech advocates criticise firm for the move

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Article
27 January 2006

Business and Human Rights: Censorship in China

Author: Amnesty International USA

In China, Amnesty International is concerned that in their pursuit of new and lucrative markets, foreign corporations may be directly or indirectly contributing to human rights violations or at the very least failing to give adequate consideration to the human rights implications of their investments. Of particular concern are abuses of the right to freedom of expression and information. More recently concerns tied to privacy issues have also arisen. [refers to Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, Websense, Google, Yahoo]

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Article
25 January 2006

Backlash as Google shores up great firewall of China

Author: Jonathan Watts, Guardian (UK)

Google, the world's biggest search engine, will team up with the world's biggest censor, China, today with a service that it hopes will make it more attractive to the country's 110 million online users... Sophisticated filters have been developed [by the Chinese Govt.] to block or limit access to "unhealthy information", which includes human rights websites, such as Amnesty, foreign news outlets, such as the BBC, as well as pornography... In an attempt to be more transparent than its rivals, Google said it would inform users that certain web pages had been removed from the list of results on the orders of the government. [also refers to Microsoft, Yahoo!]

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Article
25 January 2006

Google bows to China pressure

Author: Verne Kopytoff, San Francisco Chronicle

Bowing to Chinese laws, Google Inc. has agreed to censor search results about topics forbidden by the government there, eliciting scathing criticism from civil rights advocates. The popular search engine will block results that include such terms as "free Tibet," "democracy" and "Falun Gong"... In a statement, Andrew McLaughlin, the company's senior policy counsel, acknowledged the shortcoming but added that the benefit to China's users and Google's business would offset it. "While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission," said McLaughlin. Danny O'Brian, activism coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation...insisted that the company should have taken a stand against censorship, pointing to its oft-cited motto of "Don't do evil."... Google plans to differentiate itself from others in China by pointing out to users that it is excluding results. In cases where some links are censored, Google will explain that at the bottom of the Web page with a sentence saying it did so to comply with local laws. [also refers to Yahoo, MSN (part of Microsoft)]

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Article
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Author: Reporters sans frontières

Reporters sans frontières est écoeurée d’apprendre que Google a décidé de lancer en Chine une version censurée de son moteur de recherche. Désormais, les internautes chinois devront se contenter des contenus validés par les autorités de Pékin. Exit les informations sur le Tibet, la démocratie ou les droits de l’homme en Chine. "Le lancement de Google.cn marquera un jour noir pour la liberté d’expression en Chine... La liberté d’expression n’est pas un principe accessoire, que l’on peut mettre de côté lorsqu’on opère dans une dictature. C’est une valeur reconnue par la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme et inscrite dans la constitution chinoise." [fait aussi référence à Yahoo, Baidu]

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Article
25 January 2006

Google launches censored version of its search-engine

Author: Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders today accused the Internet’s biggest search-engine, Google, of “hypocrisy” for its plan to launch a censured version of its product in China, meaning that the country’s Internet users would only be able to look up material approved of by the government and nothing about Tibet or democracy and human rights in China. “The launch of Google.cn is a black day for freedom of expression in China,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said... "...Freedom of expression isn’t a minor principle that can be pushed aside when dealing with a dictatorship. It’s a principle recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and features in the Chinese national constitution itself..." [also refers to Yahoo, Baidu]

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Article
25 January 2006

Google Launches Service in China - Search Engine Will Censor Some Results to Comply With Government Limits

Author: Kevin J. Delaney, Wall Street Journal

Google Inc. launched a Chinese search service, agreeing, after much internal debate, to censor its own search results in order to comply with Beijing's strict limits on access to information... Some U.S. tech companies are working behind the scenes to craft for the Internet in China an equivalent of the Sullivan Principles, guidelines formulated in the 1970s that helped mobilize U.S. corporate divestment to protest South African apartheid. [also refers to Microsoft, Yahoo]

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Article
24 January 2006

Google in China: degrees of evil

Author: Rebecca MacKinnon, fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, on her weblog, RConversation

Google...has agreed to actively censor a new Chinese-language search service that will be housed on computer servers inside the PRC... Google seems to be trying to minimize it's evilness in several ways... Google says they will put up a notice at the bottom of the search page informing users when the results have been filtered. To my knowledge, none of their competitors in China are doing this... Google says it has opted not to provide any services such as email or blogging services that would require hosting user data inside Chinese jurisdiction. This is a clear choice they have made to avoid having to turn users over to the Chinese police as Yahoo did or to censor bloggers as Microsoft does. [also refers to Baidu, Sina]

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