Google Dragonfly

Last week I went back to using an IMAP client. Google had decided to eliminate Inbox after coaxing me into completely reworking how I handle mail. Gmail’s web UI isn’t a reasonable alternative, so I went back to IMAP. Lesson learned, no more new Google products for me. But as I was adjusting to that, it emerged that Google had done something far worse. I’m a pretty cynical person, and when it leaked out earlier this summer that Google was going to launch a censored search engine for China, it didn’t surprise me.

Google: Don’t be evil unless it’s profitable

Google has officially sold out to the forces of government censorship. They have decided that they will tailor the output of their Chinese-language search interface to suit the whims of the Chinese government Care to see the result? Search for Tiananmen Square on google.com. Then compare the results with the same search on google.cn. It seems to me that the most effective way to protest this shameless caving in would be to spread the forbidden information far and wide.

Bunch of Yahoos

In April 2004, a Communist Party official told Chinese journalist Shi Tao how to report the upcoming 15th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square massacre. Shi Tao took notes at the meeting, wrote up what he had been told to write, and e-mailed a copy to a pro-democracy web site in New York. Unfortunately, Shi Tao used Yahoo web mail to send his e-mail. When the Chinese government approached Yahoo and asked them to reveal the personal information of the person who had signed up for the account, they gladly did so.