I’m in two minds about the whole Google-China debate.
Whilst I do disapprove of Google’s decision to collaborate with the Chinese government’s policy of censorship, I can understand why it has done so.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression… [and] to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.
This could be understood that those under Chinese rule have the freedom to express their opinions in any way they feel – including over the Internet, without censorship. To launch a censored version of its search engine in China and in turn accepting China’s censorship conditions, Google is encouraging China to continue its draconian policy on freedom of expression and democracy.
Nobody doubts that the Chinese government is committing a Human Rights violation by censoring the media (the Internet included) entering and leaving China, but we must realise we are living in a New World Order.
The majority of governments no longer control their own countries, with business being the driving force behind almost every foreign and domestic policy decision made throughout the Western World. The Third Way is here, yet Capitalism is king, whether we like it or not.
Google, being the biggest Internet company in the world has a lot to account for. With a virtual monopoly on searches, the advertising from this has generated enough profit to let Google venture into the software market and is now a real contender to some of the biggest Software houses in the world. The Internet is a volatile market where, within the space of a year, a multi-million pound company can be reduced to the history books. This is why Google must be careful.
With regards to China, the country has a huge population, most of whom are connected to the Internet, and without creating a censored version of its search results, and hence getting blocked from China, they are missing out on an incredible amount of revenue. Without this revenue, the company’s future, while currently very stable anyway, would be less stable than it currently is.
It’s not as simple as that though – for years Google has made it’s image one of being the ethical company for the people. This image is now well on its way to being in ruins. Good news for competitors, but is it actually bad news for Google, or can they somehow come out of this smelling like roses?
Only time can tell.