February 18th, 2006

run the fuck away

Google imports Censorship

So, Google agreed to censor search results in China, thus appeasing the tyrannical and unjust government there. Apparently, this has worked out so well for them, that they're doing it in the US too.

That's right kids, some footage from Iraq has made it into Google Video, but anyone in the US watching it gets a message telling them that the video can't be played in their country.

I've contacted their support, and am curious to see the response, but unless this is some accident, I'm starting to think that Google has jumped the shark. How does this square with their unofficial motto of "Don't be evil"? The last time I checked, the First Amendment still applied in the US, and that means there is no reason for them to censor videos in the US, especially if they're willing to play that video in pretty much any other country that can use Google Video.

Maybe, just maybe, this is bait. Maybe the Google Kids really didn't like the cost-of-business over in China. So they bring a little censorship home, get the blogosphere abuzz, which alerts the mainstream media, and trickles down to the politicos who start holding hearings, and start realizing that censorship is BAD, and that we need to put some pressure on China.

Or, more likely, the politicos are already involved, and have been putting pressure on Google. I'll let y'all know when I get a response from Google.


Turns out, Google isn't censoring- the individual who posted the video can make that sort of limitation. Go figure. An understandable feature if you want to be an online video store in the age of region-coded DVDs. Google might want to change the error message to reflect that.