Google joins Twitter in country-specific censorship

February 2, 2012   |  

Twitter (my beloved hangout – visit me @RightGirl) has taken a lot of flack thi

s week for its decision to censor tweets in certain countries that have different mores than we do over here in North America. When you consider how much of the Iranian revolution and Egyptian uprising was played out on social media, this is a huge decision to silence already weak voices of the masses.

So to criticize Twitter for this makes sense.

And now Google – the fucking behemoth – has decided to do the same with Blogger.

Google’s informal motto is ‘don’t be evil’, but a huge change to its Blogger service could see the search giant help oppressive governments stamp out voices of protest.

Bloggers who have relied on the popular service to organise dissent as seen during the Arab Spring could find their posts being blocked by Google itself.

The company will now block posts or blogs from being seen in a country if they their local laws, handing a victory to regimes that crackdown on free speech to keep a lid on dissent.

The move has caused widespread concern – and echoes Twitter’s recent decision to block Tweets on a similar ‘per country’ basis to comply with local laws.

Ok, so they don’t want to piss off the easily agitated Arabs, because people tend to lose their heads over that. But I live in Canada. We have very restrictive speech laws here. Mark Steyn himself was hauled before a tribunal for insulting Islam. I daily write things over on Girl on the Right that push the limits. I’m surprised I haven’t yet been charged with a hate crime.

Will Google censor internet thought crimes for items published in or able to be seen by Canada? Will some bot decide what Canadians can and cannot read?

It’s very easy to say that this only affects “away” countries, but I’m right up here, slightly to the north east of you reading this. Sometime soon, this could come for me.

And then you.

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