25% of countries served – block or censor Google

Would the flag catch your eye if it was Estonian?
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Google’s services are blocked or censored to some degree in one-fourth of the countries where it operates, the company said Monday.

“China is the most polarizing example, but it is not the only one. Google products — from search and Blogger to YouTube and Google Docs — have been blocked in 25 of the 100 countries where we offer our services,” wrote Rachel Whetstone, Google’s vice president of global communications and public affairs, on the company’s European public policy blog.

“In addition, we regularly receive government requests to restrict or remove content from our properties,” she wrote, adding that Google has argued to narrow the scope of such requests when it believes the request is “overly broad…”

What a turn of phrase – “polarizing example”. What that means is any excuse to whine about China is legit in the minds of American media and consumers of that media. That’s not really very bright or apt – of you care about being well-informed.

China isn’t the only country that wants to manage Internet content. For example, Australia is proceeding with plans to block access to Internet sites with material on sexual abuse of children and information that could be used to commit crimes, after tests showed blocking access to blacklisted sites didn’t slow down Internet access for users.

Opponents have objected to the Australian plan, noting that the list of blocked sites includes links that extend beyond the intended scope. In addition, users are able to circumvent the blacklist to access these sites, just as Chinese users are able to circumvent censorship controls there.

Is politics getting in the way of access to information? You betcha.

Is whining about a couple of specific examples worthwhile because it fits your own ideology – of the dozens who attempt to limit access to information? That speaks more about your own parochial politics and fear – than it does about technology or access to knowledge.

One thought on “25% of countries served – block or censor Google

  1. honorarynewfie says:

    Good God !
    At last… Somebody else who thinks that whining about China (and the rest of the non-US world) by the US media should be a Federal Offence.
    I never thought I’d see the day !
    Great post Eideard.

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