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Google's Chinese Censorship "Absolutely The Right Move," Says CEO Schmidt

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Wow. Google's apparently not feeling bad about censoring for China anymore. When it happened, there was all that hand-wringing about balancing a compromised mission versus not being there at all. Google even created an evil scale to decide just how bad censoring would be. Now along with news of Google's new Chinese name, Google Blogoscoped points to an Associated Press article where Google CEO Eric Schmidt is quoted as saying the decision was "absolutely the right one."

Absolutely. Contrast that against some of these past statements:

We aren't happy about what we had to do this week, and we hope that over time everyone in the world will come to enjoy full access to information.

That was from the official Google Blog statement on the move. How about this from Schmidt himself, back in January:

We concluded that although we weren't wild about the restrictions, it was even worse to not try to serve those users at all.

With respect, the decision Google made is absolutely not the absolute right one. It was one the company itself admits was riddled with compromise and a move it's not entirely comfortable with. Saying that Google made "absolutely" the right move is about as bad as still saying one of the mottos is "Don't Be Evil." It suggest that anyone who questions their decision is absolutely wrong, because Google and Google alone knows the absolutely right answer. They don't. They simply know an answer they believe meets their circumstances. It's not absolutely right -- it's just what they've decided is right for them to do.

Schmidt also said it would be "arrogant" to walk into a country and tell it how to operate. Gosh, Google didn't feel too arrogant about telling the US government where to go when it demanded search log data. It doesn't feel arrogant having a lobbying firm to fight for its interests, such as ironically getting the US government off its back about censoring for China.

Is there some set time period that has to expire for you to earn money within a country before you feel like you can question or influence the laws there? If so, Schmidt didn't outline that. For China, he said they've done no lobbying at all for rules to change. But he pointed out they've not tried to get other laws changed elsewhere.


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