“Those passing familiar with Jesus’ teachings know He taught that the path to the Father led through the ordinary. Those who prefer other metaphors may wish to think of a heterogeneous universe, where meaning and love imperishable exist side by side with cruelty, horror and absurdity. And we must choose whether to try and understand it all or create and defend a bubble in which love and meaning truly do exist.
For these somewhat fanciful reasons I hope that the blogosphere will become less a cockpit of argument and ideas — though it will always be that — and more a forum for action: a place to facilitate meetings between real people, develop actual applications and accomplish physical tasks. There never was a flower, a glass of beer or a child’s laugh that was ever truly futile. Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.” The Belmont Club
This blog has always endeavored, albeit circuitously at times, to be a forum for aid and action. And I endlessly question the efficacy of anything I write toward those ends. Despite attention-getting attacks I am nurtured by comments of encouragement, links to posts that are calls for compassion and email reports back to me that something good came of this hobby cum-obsession.
Today, one of the charities featured in recent weeks received a small donation that will further their work and the combat soldier in Iraq who had to take out loan to pay for his father’s funeral is now a bit nearer to paying back his debt.
Net Neutrality is essential to the propagation of charitable and humanitarian ideas. Should a handful of companies ever control access to information, mediate content, mandate who gets paid for what politic and then how their site will rank in search engine findings because of what values they espouse, then cyber-facism will rule. China’s attempts to roadblock lanes on the information super-highway will look like child’s play.
By the time this article is posted I will have removed all Google ads on the site. I will wage my one-man boycott of all things Google for all they have done in recent months to warrant suspicion, fear and anger in anyone living as I am in the midst of repression and a growing concern that the waves of censorship do not begin here, but instead are washing inland in increasing magnitude. I am no Internet Robin Hood: I don’t believe ill-gotten gain, even through some imaginative alchemy, becomes anything than ill-gotten by giving it away–even to the most worthy of causes.
Google has gone public thus making its well-known mantra “Do no Evil” a laughably outdated jingle. Said better by OhGenki: “This is what happens when good companies go public: the principles that made them good, even necessary, to the point of inspiring a romantic loyalty among their customers, are whittled away at until only those principles which are profitable remain.” Google told investors at their IPO filing: ”
Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served as shareholders and in all other ways by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.
That sound to me like a High School Debate question: Do the ends justify the means? Google took a Machiavellian affirmative on that one.
Google recently acquired the well-known and despicable browser hijacking, malware giant Doubleclick for $3.1 billion dollars. The deal incidentally was challenged by The Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, and U.S. Public Interest Research Groups who petitioning the FTC to block the merger until concerns over Google’s data collection and storage were addressed. Google was accused of unfair and deceptive trade practices, and failing to follow the standards set by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the watchdog of consumer privacy standards . And all of this was on the heels of the YouTube purchase that had them employing an army of lawyers to fend off Intellectual Property suits.
Google is an active participant in the censorship that is so often associated with China’s repression of the Internet so often vilified by bloggers, and other media and at the core of much sinophobic rhetoric:
Note: Going to Google.cn from a U.S. computer will NOT yield you the same results that a mainland Chinese user will get. I live here, I know. So, any great finds you think you see from your side of the ocean are probably illusory.
In addition to homophobic threats, Google has now said they will penalize sites that sell ad links on their site. It seems nobody is supposed to make a buck except Google. Google’s Matt Cutts even has a guide on how to rat out offenders. And while Google no longer recognizes links coming from powerful Wikipedia they let Matt’s high-flying blog dominate the top of the search engines rankings in thousands of keywords, pushing out long-suffering and deserving experts, in many a field.
Now, Feedburner.com, who is sleeping with Typepad and just acquired Blogbeat, is looking at a merger with Google. That would give them huge advantages in advertising and RSS. It would enable them to dump adwords/adsense into RSS feeds on hundreds of thousand of blog posts. Thread Watch.Org says it perfectly: Being a near Monopoly is expensive and since Google doesn’t do ads all that well control of the competition is the best short-term answer to their problems. In future post I will try to facilitate exchange and help on new “Open Source” ad networks that save advertisers money and help support citizen journalists, webmasters and bloggers.
If you can read the Google blog’s explanation for their yield to censorship without laughing, gagging or punching your screen I need the name of your pharamacist. “Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission. Failing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world’s population, however, does so far more severely. Whether our critics agree with our decision or not, due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China, this is precisely the choice we believe we faced”
What good is a search that doesn’t really search? China has Baidu and others for that and it seems that the Chinese prefer their own search engine anyway because Google keeps losing market share here.
So, like being a little bit pregnant, Google is trying to convince us that being a little bit evil is OK.
The Apprentice is off the air now in the U.S. or so I hear. But, they reworked two words that will remain permanently inscribed in the American lexicon. And it pleases me to use them here for Google: “You’re Fired”
Check out Asia Sentinel and Rebecca McKinnon on this issue as well….
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