US congressman takes Google to task on China

GraphicGoogle will be called to task in Washington next month following a controversial decision by the internet search engine to launch a China-based version of its website that will censor results to avoid angering the country’s Communist government.

The decision by Chris Smith, a Republican congressman from New Jersey who chairs a House subcommittee on Human Rights, to call for a February 16 hearing to examine the operating procedures of US internet companies in China, represents the first signs of what could become a serious backlash against Google and other internet companies in Washington that are perceived as capitulating to the Chinese government.

Mr Smith on Wednesday accused Google of “collaborating .. with persecutors” who imprison and torture Chinese citizens “in the service of truth”.

“It is astounding that Google, whose corporate philosophy is ‘don’t be evil’ would enable evil by cooperating with China’s censorship policies just to make a buck,” he said.

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The hearing will also include testimony from Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco and senior State Department officials who advise on China.

Mr Smith on Wednesday in a statement drew comparisons between Google and Radio Free Europe and Asia, reflecting on the capacity the radio stations had on empowering the “voices of freedom throughout Communist countries”.

News about the congressional hearing came just hours after another lawmaker, Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, spoke out on another issue that has enveloped Google in recent days: the company’s refusal to comply with a subpeona by the Justice Department that would require it to hand over toe the government extensive records about the way people use the company’s search engine.

In a letter to attorney general Alberto Gonzales, Mr Leahy demanded more information about four subpoenas to major internet companies, including how the DOJ intended to use the information while protecting privacy rights, and whether the DOJ planned to request further information from the companies.

Mr Leahy, the leading Democrat on the judiciary committee, said the collection of data on law-abiding Americans posed “unique concers”.

Original source: Financial times
I thought it was supposed to be that “education” or “information” leads to freedom? Why is it that Google feels it easy to deny the US government its info to help stop terrorism, but feels it just fine to assist China to oppress its people?

SHAME on Google! Shame on AOL and the REST of them, too, because they are MORE interested in Chinese money than doing what is morally RIGHT to do.

Google should have told China that it isn’t interested in doing business with them. So should AOL and the rest of them. The commie Chinese scum will just steal the technology anyway, like they do everything else, and leave Google holding the bag in the long run.

Information IS freedom and Google is oppressing the beleaguered Chinese people.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001