Sergey Brin equates Google’s acquiescence to China’s request for censorship about democracy and freedom to blocking Nazi content in Germany and child pornography in the US. Please.
Brin: […] We ultimately made a difficult decision, but we felt that by participating there, and making our services more available, even if not to the 100 percent that we ideally would like, that it will be better for Chinese Web users, because ultimately they would get more information, though not quite all of it.
And we also by the way have to do similar things in the U.S. and Germany. We also have to block certain material based on law. The U.S., child pornography, for example, and also DMCA
Fortune: You actually actively block child pornography?
Brin: No, but if we got a specific government request. If a third party makes a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) claim that another party is violating copyright, and that party is not able to counter, then we are obligated to block that.
In France and Germany there are Nazi material laws. One thing we do, and which we are implementing in China as well, is that if there’s any kind of material blocked by local regulations we put a message to that effect at the bottom of the search engine. “Local regulations prevent us from showing all the results.” And we’re doing that in China also, and that makes us transparent.
Oh. By saying that you are censoring something, that makes it alright?
[Update: Noticed that Businessweek is running a poll about Google’s actions: it’s very close, pro v con.