Great Firewall of China
Bloggers are overwhelmingly horrified by Google's decision to censor search queries in China. They're also less than thrilled about Disney's corporate absorption of Pixar, and they are noting the passing of actor Chris Penn.
Great Firewall of China: Google has announced that it is complying with Beijing's demand that Internet users in China be restricted in their access to information—especially the democratic variety—via the mainland portal of the search giant. E-mail messaging and blog-creation features will be abandoned for Google.cn, which hasn't stopped the rest of the world from querying "sell out."
Matthew Ingram, a tech writer for Canadia's Globe and Mail, writes: "It's obvious that companies such as Google see such activity as part of the cost of doing business in a country like China, and no doubt they would make the argument that if they didn't comply then someone else would. It's still a sad development, however, and it certainly throws into sharp relief how the search company's 'don't be evil' mantra can be modified when necessary to fit the needs of the business."
However, Sarpy Sam at Montana-based blog Thoughts from the Middle of Nowhere wonders, "Did Google not release search results to our government to win points with free speech advocates in advance of their announcement limiting search results in China?"
At the Committee to Protect Bloggers, a blog dedicated to free speech in general and bloggers who are threatened by repressive regimes in particular, Curt Hopkins is quick to spot a sinister double standard: "While Google's refusal to cooperate with a further chilling of free expression in the United States is laudable, and at odds with Yahoo!, Microsoft's MSN and America Online, who have all agreed to cooperate, any ethical ground gained has been forfeited in its latest move."
Reporters Without Borders are equally appalled. In a press release, the censorship watchdog group fulminated, "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 among the strident opposition is IT blogger Tim Raferty, who surmises free-market competition behind the move:"One of the reasons Google is hobbling its own technology in China is that Google.com is losing ground in the search market in China to Baidu.com—a Chinese search engine due to government censorship on some of Google.com's content. A pre-censored Google.cn should have no such issues."
Edinburgh University student Duncan Stephen, while not happy about Google's decision, wants to know where the outrage was 12 months ago when Microsoft did the same thing: "While I obviously don't think it's pleasent that Google is censoring its results in China, I am actually surprised that they weren't already doing that. Remember a year or so back when MSN banned its Chinese users from using words like 'democracy' on MSN Spaces? This is not new. Google is not setting a precedent."
Read more about Google's China policy.
Monster Inc: The computer-animation studio Pixar has agreed to an all-stock merger with Disney valued at $7.5 billion. Bloggers remain greater fans of the makers of Toy Story than they are of the Mouse that, once again, roars at the competition.