06/07/2006, 00.00
UNITED STATES – CHINA

Google admits betraying principles in China

Google co-founder acknowledges his company compromised its principles when it accepted Beijing's "set of rules that we weren't comfortable with".

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Google co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged that the dominant internet company had compromised its principles by accommodating censorship demands by the Chinese government.

Meeting reporters yesterday, Mr Brin said Google had agreed to such demands only after Chinese authorities blocked its service in that country. Google's rivals accepted the same demands, which he described as "a set of rules that we weren't comfortable with".

"We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese," Mr Brin said.

He also addressed internet users' expectations of privacy in an era of increased government surveillance, saying people misunderstand the limited safeguards of their personal electronic information.

Google's China-approved Web service omits politically sensitive information that might be retrieved during Internet searches, such as details about the June 1989 suppression of political unrest in Tiananmen Square, information about the Dalai Lama, Taiwan, democracy and freedom of expression.

When Google's Chinese version was launched, google.cn informed users that "to be able to work within limits set by the central government, links to websites deemed unacceptable have been removed. While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information . . . is more inconsistent with our mission."

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