Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. also have been criticized for enforcing Chinese censorship guidelines. Google's China-based service limits online searches for sensitive topics and Microsoft shut down a Web log of a Chinese user at the demand of China's government.
Emphasis, as always, mine. Sensitive topics, you know, like things about Freedom or Democracy or the Chinese Government. Truly disgusting, that last one. I know. The Chinese have laws about that, and you obey the laws of your host Country. You go along to get along.
It sucks sometimes, but that is the way the world works. That is not what I am upset about. I give you that to serve as a background against which to compare this:
Judge to force Google's hand
Tuesday, March 14, 2006; Posted: 2:11 p.m. EST (19:11 GMT)
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A federal judge said Tuesday he intends to require Google Inc. to turn over some information to the Department of Justice in its quest to revive a law making it harder for children to see online pornography.
U.S. District Judge James Ware did not immediately say whether the data will include words that users entered into the Internet's leading search engine.
The legal showdown over how much of the Web's vast databases should be shared with the government has pitted the Bush administration against the Mountain View-based company, which resisted a subpoena to turn over any information because of user privacy and trade secret concerns.
Freedom isn't worth fighting for if it is the right of a Chinese peasant to learn how truly oppressed they really are, but keeping 14 year old boys from surfing porn without their parents consent, well now, there is a cause worth fighting for!
In the end, of course, it's not about the porn. It's all about the Benjamins:
Google seized on the case to underscore its commitment to privacy rights and differentiate itself from the Internet's other major search engines -- Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Time Warner Inc.'s America Online. All three say they complied with the Justice Department's request without revealing their users' personal information.
Look, I'm all for privacy rights, but this is sanctimonious posturing over a non-issue. Home users have dynamic IPs for the most part, and if you are surfing porn at work, well, there may be a time and a place for everything but I submit to you that work is neither for that activity.
I have long supported the idea of creating a .XXX domain, and requiring commercial porn to be posted there. If I opened a bait shop, I'd have to get a Business License, comply with a myriad of local, State, and Federal Laws, etc.
Why should on-line porn be any different?
At the end of the day, though, I found it interesting that Google chose this issue to use to differentiate their brand.
As opposed to, say, Freedom in China.