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What does “Internet Censorship” Mean?

As Google prepares potentially for a highly politicized exist of China, we’ll hear a lot more accusations on how closed China’s Internet is.  The presumption of Google’s move would be that China’s Internet is closed while the rest of the world (in which Google still does business) is open.

Of course, anyone who has even remote experience with China’s internet (and Chinese society for that matter) will understand the Internet in China is amongst the most dynamic in the world, as well as amongst the most explosive and important.

China’s Internet is not closed in the sense that has been depicted in the West.

When the Chinese governments regulates political speech, it is done in the spirit of protecting the public order – similar to the way regulators in the West outlaws fraud, hate speech, child pornography, conspiracy, terrorist planning to protect the public. It’s not always about covering up corruption or protecting the powers of the elite – as is popularly depicted in the West. Political speech that are manipulative and that result in public unrest are seen by many in China as a type of fraud or hate speech.

As the Internet matures, as we move onto web 2.0, people are beginning to realize that the Internet – like everything else – should not be immune to regulation (see also this excellent article from Time). We may bicker about what should and what should not be regulated – or how things should be regulated – but the Internet is not about a carte blanche to do anything as one pleases. As is everywhere else in the world, Internet in China is not a free haven for illegal or illicit activities.

In theory, I’m all for as much freedom as possible. I suppose that if I want to conduct “hate speech” with my buddies – and we don’t hurt anyone doing so – we should be allowed the right to do so.  If I want to enjoy child pornography – assuming it can be done in a way that does not hurt the children  – I should be allowed to do so. If I want to perpetuate fraud – I should have the right to do so. The line between aggressive business dealings and fraud can sometimes be hard to draw anyways.  Let the market deal with the likes of me.

But a society has values. The public has a right to public peace.

The U.S. Congress is currently considering a law “to provide for the development of a cadre of information technology specialists to improve and maintain effective cybersecurity defenses against disruption, and for other purposes.” This includes giving the president the power to declare a cybersecurity emergency and shut down the Internet as needed. Australia already has a pretty “intrusive” framework for censoring the Internet. So do IndiaSouth Korea, and it looks like France.

Here is a summary (though somewhat dated) of internet censorship laws and policy around the world.

My point here is not to say China is right, Google is wrong, but merely to point out that the issues are not black and white.

It is ultimately in the interest of the Chinese government to allow more dissent and political speech – especially in a way that is constructive, that propels the society to advance forward. The perspective of certain dissents can be very useful in checking corruption, for example (see my previous post as well as this excellent China daily article).

But China must walk a fine balance to make the most of the Internet. When properly harnessed, the Internet can be a great source for empowerment and democratization.  Incorrectly managed, the Internet can degenerate into a breeding ground for crime, fraud, hate, terrorism, and other socially subversive activities.

I may not agree with what the Chinese government censors every time, but I do take issue with those who attack “Chinese censorship” as categorically unenlightened.

  1. March 24th, 2010 at 18:14 | #1

    I thought this op-ed in the China Daily sums up very well why Google has failed its duty to “do no evil.”

    It’s the duty of any government to introduce relevant regulations to prevent the spread of such vulgar and harmful information, though some governments may have a different understanding about how far the censorship should go. Equally, it should be the duty of any organization or individual to check before publishing any content.

    On March 4, a blog on the Wall Street Journal slammed a Chinese newspaper for running a “vulgar” piece written by an Italian columnist with “plenty of xenophobic stereotypes, sexism, nonsense and foul language”. At the end of the blog, the author suggested “maybe someone should read the column before it goes to print”, indicating some efforts might have been made to prevent it from being published.

    After some pressure, it seems the story written by the Italian columnist, which the Wall Street Journal blogger said had the “intent on offending almost everyone”, has been deleted from the website.

    It might be easier to keep a check on content produced by media organizations as it is traceable. But checking user-generated content, which has been growing in popularity on the Web, is a tough task that needs Internet companies’ cooperation.

    Underscoring Google’s negligence of duty is its failure to stop the uploading of a 2006 video that showed the abuse of an autistic teenager in Italy. A Milan court earlier found three Google executives guilty of invasion of privacy in that case.

    Google claimed the defendants didn’t film it, didn’t upload it, didn’t review it and as a result should not be held responsible.

    This could become a common excuse for Google in fighting back any accusation against it. Viacom is now suing Google-owned YouTube for alleged copyright infringements. The website is now being accused of allowing uploads of copyrighted clips. Court documents shown by Viacom revealed YouTube executives deliberately allowed pirated copyrighted videos on the site.

    All these examples show that Google is not a “don’t be evil” company, as it claims.

    It seems the company believes providing a search engine in cyberspace is like building an expressway and it should not be responsible for whatever is happening on the road. This belief, or excuse, is helping Google to avoid taking responsibility in the fight against harmful information and copyright infringements. It can also be verified by Google’s poaching media content it does not own, as Rupert Murdoch has accused.

    Google might remain one of the greatest companies in the world in terms of innovation, but not in terms of its sense of responsibility.

    Sometimes, doing nothing equals being evil.

  2. March 24th, 2010 at 18:18 | #2

    This Time article on Google’s loss in Italy is another take on why the notion of doing no evil may lie in the eye of the beholder.

    It was one of those Internet links that triggers the same morbid instinct that makes motorists slow down to stare at a highway accident scene: “Bullying: disabled boy abused in school.” The three-minute clip, which was posted to the Google Video platform in 2006, showed four youths in the Italian city of Torino teasing an autistic classmate and throwing tissues at him. At least 12,000 people clicked on the video before Google took it down following a formal complaint from the Italian Interior Ministry.

    On Wednesday, a Milan judge convicted three Google executives of privacy violation for not blocking the video from the site. The officials — senior vice president and top legal officer David Drummond, chief privacy counsel Peter Fleischer and former chief financial officer George Reyes — each received a suspended six-month jail sentence. The ruling, which Google said it would appeal, has sparked a vigorous debate about the free flow of information and the legal responsibility of Web-platform companies to monitor the type of material that is posted to their sites. (See pictures of work and life at Google.)

    In a statement, Google reacted angrily to the verdict, calling it an “astonishing decision … that attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built.” The California-based search-engine giant, which owns YouTube, also said, “Common sense dictates that only the person who films and uploads a video to a hosting platform could take the steps necessary to protect the privacy and obtain the consent of the people they are filming.” Google further claimed that European Union law gives hosting providers a “safe harbor from liability so long as they remove illegal content once they are notified of its existence.”

    The company also had its share of defenders online. A comment posted on Twitter by a Rhode Island filmmaker named Salim Makhlouf summed up the sentiment of many Web users: “Italy needs to catch up with the times of open networks and get off Google’s back.” Some bloggers compared the verdict to convicting postal workers for delivering hate mail. And in an unusual step, the U.S. ambassador to Italy, David Thorne, entered the fray, saying Washington was “disappointed” by the ruling, which he called a threat to Internet freedom. “While all nations must guard against abuses, offensive material should not be an excuse to violate this fundamental right,” Thorne said in a statement.

    Although the judge’s written ruling has not yet been issued, the facts of the case appear to revolve around how rapidly Google responded to complaints about the video. The clip was posted Sept. 8, 2006, and was removed from the site nearly two months later in direct response to a government request. But prosecutors argued that individual viewers had sent written complaints about the video for weeks before it was taken down. (See a cartoon about Google overload.)

    Luca Sofri, a Milan-based journalist and author of wittgenstein.it, one of Italy’s most popular blogs, says that even though Google and other Web-sharing platforms attempt to strike the right balance between allowing information to flow freely on the Internet and respecting individuals’ rights, they still have a responsibility for what’s posted on their sites. “As Spider-Man says, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ Allowing freedom of opinion does not mean you can be a platform for people to defame others or violate their privacy,” Sofri says.

    Still, he suspects that the case is also an example of how out of touch Italian political leaders and magistrates are with the massive changes in the way information circulates online. “They are judging the Internet with the same instruments of the past,” Sofri notes. “The Web creates situations that are completely new and don’t have paragons with the world before. If these incidents are happening all over the world and Italy is the only country to condemn Google for it, maybe there’s something we haven’t understood.”

    Indeed, the verdict is just the latest in a series of clashes between Italian authorities and advocates of Internet freedom. The Interior Ministry has repeatedly attempted to shut down politically incendiary Facebook pages, and the government has also backed a measure requiring that anyone who uploads videos to the Internet have a license — a move critics say is an attempt by the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who owns Italy’s main private TV network, to maintain control of the distribution of video content.

    The two prosecutors in the Google case, however, said the verdict highlights the fact that certain values should endure regardless of technological innovation. “We are very satisfied, because by means of this trial we have posed a serious problem: that is to say, the protection of human beings, which must prevail over corporate interests,” they said in a statement. Marco Bardazzi, a senior editor at the Torino daily La Stampa and co-author of a recent book about the Internet revolution, said the Italian case could mark a symbolic crossroads for Google, which was founded with the mission statement “Don’t be evil.” “Maybe the moment has arrived for [the company] and all of us to ask if the mission hasn’t somehow been betrayed,” Bardazzi wrote on his blog this week. “Or perhaps, it was a bit naive to begin with.”

  3. March 24th, 2010 at 18:40 | #3

    Here is an article on Google’s recent tangle with the Australian government. Note that I’m not necessarily taking sides. I do think the performance of the Internet should be taken into account. However, I do side with the Australian government to the extent that the Internet is not a free haven for lawlessness. Relevant laws that apply to the real world of a society should apply to the Internet as well.

    ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA — Internet giants Google and Yahoo have criticized Australia’s proposal for a mandatory Internet filter, calling it a heavy-handed measure that could restrict access to legal information.

    Their statements, among 174 comments from the public submitted to the Department of Communications on the filtering proposal, come amid a struggle between Google and China over censorship-free content.

    Lucinda Barlow of Google Australia on Wednesday called the Internet blocking measures of Australia and China “apples and oranges” but said her company was deeply concerned about Australia’s proposal because of its mandatory and sweeping nature.

    Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says the filter would block access to sites that include child pornography, sexual violence and detailed instructions in crime or drug use. The list of banned sites could be constantly updated based on public complaints.

    If adopted into law, the screening system would make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among the world’s democracies, and the proposal has put the country on the Reporters Without Borders annual “Enemies of the Internet” list.

    “Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide,” Google wrote in its submission, also suggesting the filter would slow browsing speeds.

    The company said it already had its own filter to block child pornography.

    “Some limits, like child pornography, are obvious. No Australian wants that to be available — and we agree,” Google said. “But moving to a mandatory ISP level filtering regime with a scope that goes well beyond such material is heavy-handed and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information.”

    Google’s Barlow told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the proposal raised the possibility of banning politically and socially controversial material and went beyond filters used in Germany and Canada, which block child pornography and, in Italy, gambling sites.

    Yahoo made a similar contention, saying the filter would block many sites with controversial content — such as euthanasia discussion forums and gay and lesbian forums that discuss sexual experiences.

    “There is enormous value in this content being available to encourage debate and inform opinion,” Yahoo said.

    The filter would not block peer-to-peer file-sharing nor prevent predators approaching children in chat programs or social networking sites, and both Google and Yahoo backed a national campaign to educate parents and children about safe use of the Internet.

    Comments on the proposal came from Australian telecommunication companies, lobby groups and individuals. Conroy said his department would take the comments into consideration before sending a proposal to Parliament later this year.

    The discussion over Internet restrictions in Australia comes as Google is battling online censorship in China.

    Google said last month it would stop censoring searches for the Chinese government, and this week began routing searches through Hong Kong. In response, the communist government has blocked people on the mainland from seeing search results or Web sites dealing with such forbidden topics as the pro-democracy movement.

    David Vaile of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Center at the University of New South Wales said China and Australia had markedly different approaches to restricting the Internet.

    “China’s filter is explicitly about discouraging access to and discussion of certain clearly political topics,” he said, while Australia’s filter would focus on specifically restricted material.

    While some critics of Australia’s filter have said it puts the nation in the same censorship league as China, Vaile pointed out that the freedom-of-speech argument used by American companies follows a legal tradition that other countries do not necessarily share.

    Yahoo and Google are accustomed to the protections of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and elevates it to a very high legal status, Vaile said.

    “In Australia there is no equivalent,” Vaile said. “There is no law that says you’ve got free speech. Having a lack of any legal protection for free speech for any effective restraint on (filters) is something that’s worrying.”

  4. Geoff from the US
  5. March 26th, 2010 at 16:50 | #5


    I think “astro-turfing” is a general phenomenon on the Internet as the article says, because unlike physical newspapers the audience can participate on a massive scale.

    Regarding that specific 280,000 people, the article cited:

    “David Bandurski determined that at least 280,000 people had been hired at various levels of government to work as “online commentators.”

    This 280,000 number is a ridiculous claim, because it is not practical. Here is ESWN’s rebuke on why it is not an “astro-turfer”: “Am I A 50 Cent Gang Member?

    If you do the homework and Google search “Bandurski 280000”, you’ll realize it is mainly only those with xenophobic attitudes against China paying credence to it.

    But, on this idea of government propaganda, you should do some simple research on the U.S.:

    1. How much the U.S. funds separatist groups around the world.
    2. Look at the U.S. propaganda programs like Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, VOA, etc..

    Btw, because the number of Chinese netizens are now bigger than the size of the U.S. population – and the fact that many of them can converse in English – they will be commenting in Western media articles to the extend comments are allowed.

    Its common for people pro-China to be dismissed as having paid by the Chinese government.

    The Western media has gone for far too long in spouting anti-China rhetoric, and thanks to the Internet, pro-China netizens are coming out in her defense. This is a new trend.

    Finally, culturally the West distrusts governments in general, so this issue is only looked at from the most negative perspective. The Chinese people don’t see it the same way. Why not have a group of people on the Internet dedicated to squashing false rumors and proactively deal with other contents that are harmful to society?

  6. r v
    March 26th, 2010 at 17:06 | #6

    In one sense, aren’t all Western media profiting from China bashing?

    Then, aren’t all Western journalists being paid to make China look bad? AKA anti-China “astro-turfing”.

    280,000 pro-China internet surfers?

    wow, that would hardly make a dent in China (which currently has estimated 350 MILLION internet users), let alone the world wide web.

    *on second thought, which Chinese government agency is paying? Because I have been accused of being on their payroll many times, without actually receiving any paychecks.

    But seriously, as far as xenophobia goes, at least these “estimates” could shoot for a higher threat.

    How about just make the allegation that every Chinese internet user is on the Chinese government’s payroll?!

  7. r v
    March 26th, 2010 at 17:18 | #7

    I would add that MacKinnon’s report does not say that the 280,000 on the payroll appear online and comment using deceptive means.

    Let’s be clear, there is nothing in the report that suggests that these 280,000 people try to pretend to be someone they are not.

    If a Chinese ministry worker is paid to blog as part of his duty, how is that any different than Google’s chief lawyer David Drummond blogging about Google-China problem recently using his company’s PR lines?

    So, no, the report does not say that there are 280,000 “Joe the Plumbers” in China.

    But there are a lot of “Joe the Plumber” in US. (For those who do not know, Joe the Plumber came out commenting on the 2008 US presidential election. Then it came to known, he’s neither “Joe” nor a “plumber.”)

  8. March 27th, 2010 at 01:50 | #8

    @ r v

    Really interesting perspectives.

  9. March 27th, 2010 at 02:05 | #9

    Back to Internet censorship. . . take a look at this New York Times “debate”: “Google or China: Who Has More to Lose?

    Out of these five panelists, all of them are pro-Google and anti-China on this debate. They even have a Chinese national who is pro-Google’s stance.

    Everybody knows that the vast majority of Chinese people are supportive of the Chinese government on this issue. Why doesn’t New York Times (one of the most “reputable” media companies in the U.S.) put up one pro-Chinese government perspective?

    It is certainly not a “debate.” Censorship? Propaganda?

  10. r v
    March 27th, 2010 at 20:16 | #10

    The debate is about “censorship”, but also “ethics.”

    I have no problem with a person or a business having an opinion about “censorship.” But there is much to be said about a person or a business’ “ethics” in conduct.

    Google is at least capable of an opinion on “censorship,” but what is its “ethics”?

    Having conducted its business for so many years in China, having accepted Chinese laws and regulations on “censorship”, now it makes an allegation and challenge them as unsuitable for its business “ethics”.

    As a lawyer, I have a problem with that. David Drummond and the other attorneys in Google should also have a problem with that.

    There is a fiduciary duty to the clients, so as the American Bar Association’s model rule of professional ethics say.

    As a lawyer, I am taught that if I take a client, who turns out to be a total jerk or an immoral human being, I cannot turn my back on that client.

    The alternative is, don’t take that client in the first place, or seek to withdraw (without causing the client harm).

    And above all else, confidentiality for the client.

    *Google’s problem is that it put itself into a position of conflict of interest between many parties.

    (a problem that many large businesses have.)

    But a business like Google could have easily foreseen that problem in the beginning.

    It’s not like “censorship” rules in China changed much. Google knew what it was getting into, but chose to ignore the actual conflict of interests.

    So the damage was done early on.

    *Some applaud Google for its recent turn about.

    I say nay.

    It is nothing more than another violation of ethics to “save ethics”.

    The public violation of confidentiality and fiduciary duties by Google saved nothing but its own PR image.

    Dozens of large companies are forced to restructure their business around Google’s decision, costing internet users and economy time and money.

    Was it all worth it?

    **I sometimes wonder, how far will some “activists” go to “do no evil?”

    If every US lawyer took up the Google code of “ethics,” how many accused will actually get a fair trial?

    And this is the way Google will stand up for rights of others? By a mere bait and switch scam?

  11. March 28th, 2010 at 00:47 | #11

    A couple of interesting links explaining Google’s double-standard when it comes to Google’s censoring results around the world.

    Sergey’s double standard

    Google’s censorship in India

  12. George Monser
    April 25th, 2010 at 12:16 | #12

    Your article concerning free speech on the Web is very interesting. But the details I read in the media, like who did what to Google, and why Google responded as it did, seem murky and unproven to me. So I will only comment on the main principle: Freedom of speech, and government limitations on it. The US allows most things on the Web and other media, but not things like promulgating terrorism or paedophilia. The governments of China et al have their own lists of no-nos. That is as it should be. I think that in the last year, President Obama has changed our discourse with other countries – by not criticizing their free speech policies – I think he knows that criticism just poisons the air and improves nothing. I hope he will continue this policy. George

  13. r v
    April 25th, 2010 at 14:41 | #13

    hear hear

  14. Shawn
    January 18th, 2012 at 16:04 | #14

    Please don’t shut down the internet because if you do than thousands of people will hate the goverment, because they are internet lovers, i mean because someone might get a ipod for chirstmas but whats the use of it if you cant have internet(also all electronics that use internet). Kids won’t have as much fun at school, and mainly i thought this was a free country and we i juess used to have FREEDOM of SPEECH! People might commit susicide because they can’t live without internet because they think they have nothing to do, because they spent their life on internet

  15. January 23rd, 2012 at 23:21 | #15

    Eric X. Li, Venture capitalist in Shanghai; Chairman, Chunqiu Institute, arguing in complementary fashion to Allen’s article:

    “Globalization 2.0: China’s Parallel Internet”
    Posted: 1/20/12 12:04 AM ET

    This piece was co-authored with George Yeo.

    The Chinese government recently issued new rules to strengthen Internet regulations. Most notable is the real-name requirement for micro-blog (Weibo) accounts — China’s equivalent of Twitter. Some Weibo users have attested to an increase in government monitoring and self-censorship by hosting companies. Many are decrying this as China’s further violation of freedom of expression. The reality is far more complicated.

    More than a decade ago, when China’s Internet was in its infancy, with a few million users, the government made it clear that it would exercise political oversight on the nascent cyberspace, while allowing it to grow. Many experts then predicted that such efforts were doomed to fail. The Internet, they said, was to be a brave new world that could not be controlled. There were only two possible outcomes: a freely expanding Internet beyond the reach of political authority and subverting it, or an Internet stifled by government control and unable to realize its social and economic benefits. Rupert Murdoch famously proclaimed that advances in communications technology posed an “unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere.”

    Confounding these experts, neither has happened in China. By any standard, the Chinese Internet is one of the most vibrant economic and social cyberspaces in the world. Some 450 million users communicate, transact, and entertain in it. Entrepreneurial companies have created tens of billions of dollars in economic value. China’s search engine, e-commerce, and online video businesses are among the world’s leading companies. On Taobao, China’s eBay, millions of mom-and-pop shops are conducting billions of dollars in transactions per month. On QQ and Sina, the two largest Weibo services, more than 200 million users are active — expressing their views on anything and everything from sex to official corruption.

    Concurrently, a massive government-directed monitoring system combined with self-regulation by hosting companies makes China’s Internet highly controlled by political authority. Facebook and Twitter are banned, while their domestic versions flourish. In a well-publicized spat with the government, Google’s search presence was curtailed, while its other businesses have continued. When social crises occur, key-word barriers are erected to prevent amplifications that threaten stability.

    China’s size and its centralized governance have enabled the creation of a parallel Internet universe connected to and separate from the one outside. There are leaks, and many VPNs are available. Minor leaks are ignored. When leaks become important, they are plugged, sometimes bluntly. When the Jasmine Revolution became an issue, search engines simply blanked out the word “jasmine.” However, it is a mistake to think that all the regulators do is censor.

    China is pursuing a distinctive response to the Internet. More than half a century ago, at the onset of the information revolution, a pioneering thinker on the cyberspace, Norbert Wiener, authored an influential book entitled Cybernetics. Wiener separated human responses to new challenges into two types: ontogenetic and phylogenetic. Ontogenetic activities are organized and carried out through centrally designed institutions to shape the development of society. The phylogenetic response, on the other hand, is evolutionary. It is analogous to the way bacteria behave in mutual interaction without organizational oversight. The development of human civilization has always been characterized by the constant struggle between these two opposites — the ontogenetic attempts to control the phylogenetic, and the latter’s undermining of the former. The relationship is both adversarial and symbiotic, much like yin and yang. In today’s context, political authority is ontogenetic, while the cyberspace is phylogenetic. The health of human society depends on the balance between the two. When they are out of balance, the body politic falls sick with catastrophic consequences.

    The easy scalability of the Internet makes it perhaps the most powerful phylogenetic invasion of the body politic in recent times. Bill Davidow, in his recent book Overconnected: the Promise and Threat of the Internet, talks about how the Internet’s “hyper-connection” can spread “contagions” like pandemics. The Internet is not an unmitigated force for good. It can also do harm to human society.

    The approach of the Chinese government is similar to that of Chinese medicine. The emphasis is on the Internet being an organic part of the body politic. Too much intervention is as bad as too little. Constant monitoring is necessary so that one knows when and how much to intervene. The word in Chinese is tiao, which means continuous tuning of a complex system.

    Social media has enabled the Chinese government to overcome an age-old problem of poor feedback of ground problems to the centre because of too many layers in between risking explosions due to over-suppression. Social media brings such problems to the attention of China’s leaders. The train accident in Wenzhou last year was a good example. Like a Chinese physician feeling the pulse of a patient, China’s leaders were alerted to a serious imbalance and reacted comprehensively. The result will be a better and safer high-speed rail.

    The current health of China’s cyber universe is not bad. Economically and socially, the Internet is flourishing. Politically, it is being used to help maintain social stability despite rapid change. Never before in history has such a large number of people undergone such rapid change. Old values have been undermined before new values develop, leading to crass materialism. Regulations have not kept up with the new realities, causing frequent problems of public safety. Social and economic divisions have widened considerably.

    Social media provides a safety valve alerting the government to problems that can get out of control. Both the over-amplification and over-suppression of these problems can make them explode and destabilize the country, which is the last thing China needs after finally leaving behind two centuries of war and revolution.

    While China’s parallel universe is inevitably being influenced by the outside, the reverse is also happening. India now demands that Facebook and Google remove derogatory materials. Other countries will follow. Eventually, as in the real world, cyberspace will not be flat but will have interconnected mountains and valleys.

    George Yeo is a former Foreign Minister of Singapore.

  16. August 13th, 2012 at 22:03 | #16

    Google’s dominance itself will be controversy around the world. If a Muslim separatist group in India is searched on Google, does Google show a pro-separatist perspective at the top of its ranks or an anti-separatist perspective? How does Google decide who to side? Should the results be ranked by how the American public feels?

    This issue will manifest itself in one form or another. For now, it looks like the Indian government is formally launching an anti-competitive investigation into Google’s practices in India.

    From a business perspective, Google should respect local laws. Trying to dovetail U.S. foreign policy of exporting ‘values’ only undermines Google’s business. Google not having a server in China physically is a big drawback.

    One of the company’s key strategy is search revenue through mobile, via it’s Android operating system. In China, without servers, it means Android based cell phones would be tweaked to use Baidu and other local company’s Internet services. Apple enjoys a less competitive Google.

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