Google in China and freedom of Speech

During this week, Google announced that it is creating a version of its search web site for the Chinese market. The bad news for the chinese, however, is that the service will have to follow the strict rules set by the chinese government for controlling the sites that can be accessed by their people.

The main difference of the chinese Google search is in the way results are reported. While the normal Google web site provides access to all results, the chinese version of Google gives only a quick description of the pages, without access to the contents that are not allowed by Chinese authorities.

The way the search is implemented in fact provides good and bad news. The good news is that other search engines don't even provide descriptions of the results blocked by Chinese government. By doing so, they are denying even the existence of content that is blocked. On the other hand, Google shows all results, although some of them cannot be accessed.

The bad news, however, is that Google has to constrain its mission of giving access to all the world information. It is sad that this has to happen not because of technological problems, but for political reasons.

China is nowadays -- sadly -- a testbed for techniques for censoring and restriction of personal freedoms. They are in some way succeeding in restrict the information their people can access. However, this experiment can be bad for other countries as well. For example, in US the government is currently playing with personal spying on their own citizens. Knowing that concepts like this are being implemented even by big companies such as Google is disheartening for the ones that love freedom of speech.

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