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Google's Shareholders Vote Against Human Rights

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the easier-not-to-be-evil-before-the-ipo dept.

Google 376

yo_cruyff notes a Computerworld article on Google's recent annual shareholder meeting, which was dominated by argument over the company's human rights policies. Google's shareholders, on advice from their board, have voted down two proposals on Thursday that would have compelled Google to change its policies. "Google [has been] coming under fire for operating a version of its search engine that complies with China's censorship rules. Google argues that it's better for it to have a presence in the country and to offer people some information, rather than for it not to be active in China at all... [S]hareholders and rights groups including Amnesty International... continue to push Google to improve its policies in countries known for human rights abuses and limits on freedom of speech... Sergey Brin, cofounder and president of technology for Google, abstained from voting on either of the proposals. 'I agreed with the spirit of these proposals,' Brin said. But he said he didn't fully support them as they were written, and so did not want to vote for them."

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kdawson (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23350866)

is a troll.

+5, Informative.

Re:kdawson (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351036)

The parent is modded as flamebait but has a good point. There are sufficient complexities to this story that the choice of title by kdawson should be viewed as somewhat sensationalist.\

Re:kdawson (1, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351046)

Wow, editors skewing a story THIS badly? What is this, Fox news 2.0?

Re:kdawson (2, Funny)

SithGod (810139) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351126)

I was wondering why the latest poll was Which sounds better Rupertdot Slashmurdoch CowboyRupert

Re:kdawson (2, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351438)

Agreed, kdawson is indeed a troll. Perhaps /. should give us the ability to ignore his posts? (oh wait, it does)

Good? Bad? (3, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350878)

I'm the guy with the gun.

The Problem (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23350932)

The problem isn't that Google hates human rights. It is just that nobody would believe the formula:

1. Support human rights
2. ???
3. Profit!

Re:The Problem (1, Troll)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351026)

Do <strike>no</strike> evil

Re:The Problem (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351486)

Google has to listen to it's investors. Also, if you plan on trolling, at least use the preview button. Fucking newfag.

Re:The Problem (4, Insightful)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351850)

Evil in who's eyes? Robbing shareholders of profits can be seen as evil too. Robbing yourself of market-share in emerging markets can be seen as evil too. Not complying with authorities can even be seen as evil! Sometimes Good can come out of Evil (landing on the moon as a result of WWII) or Evil can come out of Good (bringing freedom and democracy to a country that isn't ready for it resulting in civil conflict).

What people also seem to miss about the whole "don't be evil" thing, is that not being evil does not imply being good. You can be neutral as well. Not evil, not good, just neutral.

Re:The Problem (4, Insightful)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351032)

Yeah, it's actually quite a shock. Who would have ever guessed that Shareholders would be more concerned with their investments than with changing the domestic policy of a foreign government? That's a total surprise.

Censor my search! (1)

Skeet112 (1088203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350936)

-1 search for Tiananmens Square.

Re:Censor my search! (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351544)

Did you mean: Tiananmen square [google.com]

Google may not be evil (-1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350960)

Its evident that majority of its shareholders are. well done, budding fascists !

Re:Google may not be evil (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351052)

Either that or they agree that a little information is better for the chinese people than none at all. I agree with that sentiment, too, yet I feel no burning desire to kill babies or repress people. The best way to change the system is to empower the people, and depriving them of your resources because you'd have to work with an evil government doesn't empower the people at all. Moral stands look good in the paper, but they don't help the people of China at all.

Re:Google may not be evil (5, Insightful)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351234)

> Either that or they agree that a little information is better for the
> chinese people than none at all.

Your statement assumes that without Google, the people of China would have no
information. This is blatantly incorrect: Google ( 25% market share ) implements the same Government-mandated filters as Baidu ( 62% market share ).

Google's presence in China is simply about gaining a foothold in a potentially
lucrative market. ``Empowering the people'' has nothing to do corporate
strategy.

Re:Google may not be evil (3, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351410)

No but it does make a good buzzword to add some bling with.

at least they didn't use synergy.

Re:Google may not be evil (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351436)

Your statement assumes that the same results will come through Baidu and Google and that it's the only avenue of information from Google.

First, I don't know whether they have their book search in China yet or any of their other services, but those things could help the Chinese people in their own ways. Giving the Chinese people strong online services isn't a bad thing; I like almost everything that Google's done in the US, the Chinese people might as well.

Second, Baidu's search is different from Google's search unless they're using the same database and algorithms. If Google's indexing more foreign sites, that's probably a good thing. Also, since Google's not based in China, they could easily have more autonomy than Baidu.

Finally, whether it's a play for market share or not, it doesn't change the fact that staying out of China does the Chinese people absolutely no good; unless Google's presence is harming them (and I've seen no evidence even hinting that's the truth), they're doing at least as well as the alternative. Making money doesn't negate any benefits you do along the way.

I'm sure seeing the world as pure black and white and hating corporations for making money is very easy, but you've at least got to admit that there's an argument to be made for Google participating in China without being evil. The fact that they had the vote at all shows that they're considering the human rights side of the equation, and the fact that both of the owners refused to vote makes me think that they're conflicted on the issue.

Re:Google may not be evil (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351654)

More likely this is the decision process.

1. We can pursue this avenue, and make NO money.
2. There is this other avenue we can puruse, and we make loads of money.

hmmm..tricky.

Re:Google may not be evil (1)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351690)

Nothing is gained by the investors or by the citizens of China by Google exiting the market while both are arguably hurt by doing so. So why do it???

Re:Google may not be evil (5, Insightful)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351794)

Google is (last I checked) the only search engine that tells you if your search results have been censored.

It's a very small victory, but it's still something the people of China didn't have before.

I also point out that Google tried for years to get the ability to have uncensored searches, they fought, and lost, and while they may not have accomplished much, it wouldn't accomplish anything at all to pull out of China now.

Re:Google may not be evil (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351488)

But they can't give the people anything other the China approved stories.
What happens when China wants Google to misrepresent information?

I say empower the people to get to your uncensored search engine.

define human rigthts Re:Google may not be evil (1)

tresriogrande (1257460) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351704)

Human Rights has different definition in different countries. Trying to force your version of human rights on to other people is by itself a violation of other people's human rights. For Chinese people, the rights to a better life, to be able to eat, to have a decent roof covering their family, those rights trump you typical American's human rights. Considering what condition China was in just 20 years ago, the Chinese government delivered, and the population by and large are having more and more freedom to voice different opinions. That is the reality in China, and your constant bashing of China do not help at all.

Re:Google may not be evil (5, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351106)

I don't know whether you were swayed in your opinion at all by the irresponsibly biased headline, but it seems to me that this was (yet again) a choice between:

A) Censor parts of Google in China.
B) Censor all of Google in China.

Which one of those is more evil?

Re:Google may not be evil (4, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351326)

I don't think either is of much concern to China. In my experience, almost no one uses Google in China - really only foreigners such as myself. Chinese people generally use a Chinese equivalent.

Re:Google may not be evil (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351368)

its impossible to asses either A or B will be more beneficial. at this state, what shareholders did is evil because of the immediate result of their actions.

Re:Google may not be evil (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351440)

A) Censor parts of Google in China.
B) Censor all of Google in China.

Which one of those is more evil?


Which is more evil:

Censoring part of the message:

"John McCain Kills Homeless man"

Or the Full Message:

"John McCain Kills Homeless man in self defense after being attacked."

There is no "partial censorship." It is either censored or not.Censorship is nothing more than a tool for propaganda. It is better to have them find reliable sources of information than to provided them with ones that are censored.

Google is evil... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23350964)

News at 11.

Re:Google is evil... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351220)

It's 11:00. Babies are the root of all evil [uncyclopedia.org] .

Re:Google is evil... (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351298)

Slashdot, your clock is wrong. Have you been huffing kittins [uncyclopedia.org] again?

Well actually now it's 11:07 but I had to look up the "root of all evil". It appears that the right wingers (Godwin) are wrong, and that government is NOT in fact the root of all evil.

Google is? Ok, I guess. All its employees were babies once. Many slashdotters still are (but not you, dear reader)

Inflammatory headline (5, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350968)

It's hard to think objectively when you have "Google Votes Against Human Rights" as the headline. Did Google vote in favor of genocide or stoning dissidents? No. What they did do was to make a nuanced calculation that I think most reasonable people would agree with. I agree with Google that it is better to provide some information than none. Seriously, what is it going to harm the Chinese government if Google packed up. Google is in a far better position to do good now than if they were completely out of the country. Amnesty and the rest can't see the forest for the trees. Taking a stand in prinicple is just that, in principle with no effect on things in the real world. Pressure Google to use its position in China to lobby for more freedom, don't try and make them leave.

Re:Inflammatory headline (2, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351004)

Indeed. I'm sure the Chinese Government is in favor of more ignorance amongst the populace, not less. It is a tough call, but I would agree that giving some, is better than giving nothing at all.

Re:Inflammatory headline (3, Interesting)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351188)



google is a company, NOT a person. It's purpose is to survive and make profit. I hate it when people act as if corporations are suppose to save the world or something. Professional Ethics aside google's job is to make money and with half the world population being situated in Asia opening up market share there early is important. If people are so cought up with the censorship of the Chinese government then stop buying Chinese products.

Re:Inflammatory headline (3, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351384)

What you say is true for Google, since it's a publicly traded company, but that's not true for all companies. Some exist purely 'to save the world or something'.
I'd also posit that, in this day and age, considering ethics in the way your company makes money is a sound long term profitable strategy.

Re:Inflammatory headline (2, Interesting)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351496)

I dislike when people act as if you can solve all the world's problems by pressure with the pocketbook. There is something to be said for the maxim that the same reasoning that gets you into a problem can't get you out of one. Greed can't be fixed by more greed. Now I'm all for market freedoms, I support free trade and would like to get rid of farm subsidies because it is important for a business to be able to freely operate. However, their does come a time when ethics overturns profit even for a corporation. It just happens that Google was in the right this time. Say if they were writing software that operated gas chambers for political dissidents, is that still acceptable just because they are a corporation? I think not. You can disdain such idealism, but brazen corporatism is just as bad. In the end, it takes a balance of both. Google in this case is in the right on both sides. Let's just hope that holds true in the future.

Re:Inflammatory headline (1)

njcoder (657816) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351734)

I dislike when people act as if you can solve all the world's problems by pressure with the pocketbook.
Put some sanctions on China, impose tariffs on products from China, get rid of WalMart and watch how quickly China will capitulate when they see their economy stall or even decline. Look how well it's worked with Iran. Awe crap. I thought I had a valid rebuttal.

Re:Inflammatory headline (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351528)

You can do both, and a Corporation is held to it's mission statement.
I have work for plenty of corporation that also spent money to help people.

"stop buying Chinese products"
That is no longer possible in any practical way...You can't even live on the street without getting products from China.

Re:Inflammatory headline (2, Funny)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351862)

Avian flu is not a product....

Re:Inflammatory headline (0, Troll)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351312)

They only used that headline because "Why Does Google Hate America?" was already taken.

Re:Inflammatory headline (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351340)

Seldom has the submitter name "Anonymous Coward" been more fitting.

Re:Inflammatory headline (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351354)

I agree with Google that it is better to provide some information than none

Then you disagree with the statement "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing?" [phrases.org.uk]

Re:Inflammatory headline (1)

gladish (982899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351748)

I completely agree with that statement. I can't believe people think it's ok for any search engine to provide censored information. First of all, it's not clear what "censored means". We're assuming it means that some results simply are not included. What happens when they (Chinese Gov't) say, "ok, when someone searches for 'civil liberties', we want them to be returned the results from www.foo.cn/bullshit-rsponse.

Let's assume it is simply don't this, that, and the other thing. What happens when I ask about historical facts, and some dont' appear? Knowingly providing people with partial information is not a "good thing".

I think Google's "Do no evil" will always and forever be their "Mission Accomplished" statement.

Re:Inflammatory headline (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351364)

Taking a stand in prinicple is just that, in principle with no effect on things in the real world.

If Google took a public stance of refusing to provide censored searches, that would most certainly have an "effect on things in the real world". At least as much effect as the vague lobbying that you want them to do instead.

Re:Inflammatory headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351622)

Indeed. I've been thinking of taking Slashdot off my iGoogle homepage for a while now. I think this headline just sealed my decision

Re:Inflammatory headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351812)

Knowledge is power. I say let Google offer as much information to the people as they are aloud to give. Sure, it might not be half as much as we can access around the world, but "some" information is better than "none".

For me, it's not about business. It's about opportunity the people of China.

The rest of the quote: (5, Funny)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350978)

'I agreed with the spirit of these proposals,' Brin said.
Brin quickly added, "but I love money too much!"

Misleading Headline (5, Insightful)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350982)

Google's shareholders did not "vote against human rights," they voted against a policy change that was proposed. Even the summary admits that Sergey abstained because he didn't agree with the way the proposals were written, not because he disagreed with the spirit.

Slow news day much?

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351060)

Well, with Microsoft's fortune's in the wane, we need to start ramping up so that once Google becomes the target of choice we'll already have all the mems in place.

It's just good strategery.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351092)

Shouldn't the prospective target be Apple? I mean, come on, Steve Jobs is almost a fruitful a tree as Ballmer.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351428)

Actually, they followed the board's recommendations and voted down two proposed changes to policy.

Now that the issue has been raised, will Google's board take up the issue to develop a change that they can support? Time will tell.

Re:Misleading Headline (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351444)

Even the summary admits that Sergey abstained because he didn't agree with the way the proposals were written, not because he disagreed with the spirit.

I don't think that reflects well on Sergey. To me it reads like, he thought the vote would go the way it did so he didn't need to vote against it, but wasn't 100% sure so he didn't risk voting for it.

Sounds like weasely plausible deniability. "I have to run by this policy because that's how the shareholders voted. But it's not my fault--I didn't vote."

To the folks saying, how is this news? Because it's Google. When your corporate policy is, "do whatever we can get away with to make a profit," and you do just that, it's not noteworthy.

When your policy is, "do no evil," but what you actually end up doing is "whatever we can get away with to make a profit," I think it's worth noting the contrast between word and deed.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351782)

Now that the ice has been broken, we can look forward to the following editorialized headlines on Slashdot:

- GM releases a new model of SUV: "GM increases carbon output, pisses on environment."
- Someone sets ant traps in their kitchen: "Homeowner sets toxic traps, kills thousands."
- Someone throws a piece of paper in the trash: "Office worker wastes resources, trees suffer."
- CowboyNeal removes his shirt... oh that would be nasty! Let 'im have it!

And? (0)

hansraj (458504) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350990)

What exactly does one expect from any for-profit organization? As much as Google might claim to do no evil, their primary motive (and rightly so) is to make money and moral considerations are only secondary.

Re:And? (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351722)

Moral considerations only secondary? So, using slave labor, releasing a known dangerous product or murdering competitors are all perfectly acceptable business strategies? I'm for a free market. I'm not for the abdication of all moral principles in order to achieve it. So, yes, I expect more than strictly for-profit motives.

Google (4, Funny)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350992)

Do know evil.

Re:Google (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351090)

Well, any company is only as good as the share holders. Most people are evil therefore most people who buy stock are evil, therefore major corporations that are publicly traded are evil. Or to quote Douglas Adams "People are the problem,"

Re:Google (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351414)

Always good to know your enemy, IMO.

If you're part of it... (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23350996)


If you're part of a system, then you're in some way supporting it. Examples of successfully changing a system from within are few and far between and are usually where someone couldn't voluntarily leave the system anyway. Systems are more usually replaced by a competing system. If Google want to change things, they should not submit to China's demands and walk away if need be. That would be a far stronger message and powerful effect than simply agreeing to their terms. I fail to see how they expect to change things through obedience.

Re:If you're part of it... (1)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351030)

Do you think China really cares all that much about Google? Seriously?

Re:If you're part of it... (2, Insightful)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351474)

Absolutely not. Such a move would likely not even be noticed by much of the population. I expect it might get a news item of some sort, but would receive the usual 'stupid ignorant Americans' reaction from much of the populous; and rightly so, IMO.

China doesn't *need* Google. Not even in the slightest. They have much more popular alternatives already.

Re:If you're part of it... (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351766)

Do you think China really cares all that much about Google? Seriously?

Well if they don't need Google then that utterly undermines the proposition that Google will somehow change the system from withing by exerting any kind of pressure. And without that, all that remains is profiting from a system that violates human rights. In either case, you're damned by being part of this.

Re:If you're part of it... (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351536)

If you're part of a system, then you're in some way supporting it. Examples of successfully changing a system from within are few and far between[...]
Really? I take it you're not counting lobbying, campaigning, running for office, demonstrating or striking - all part of the system, and all ways that have changed an awful lot of things. Women didn't get the vote because we were invaded. Tax changes aren't effected by an international committee. Abortion law isn't shaped by some guy deep in the wild west living off the grid. Being in the system gives you a platform, and a voice, and an audience. Standing outside the town hall just leaves you out of the meeting.

If Google pull out now they'll be replaced by Chinese competitors in seconds, the move will be reported as being Western foolishness and the Chinese Government will control another link in the chain between content and users. How can that be a good thing?

By that logic... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351844)

By that logic, you personally are just as much supporting Chinas policies as Google. After all, by being a part of Slashdot, you are part of the system that gives Google any reason for existence, and gives them any kind power.

Proxy (4, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351002)

Some funds in my 401k had issues with the crisis in Darfur. The board recommended that the fund do nothing about it. I voted that they should. Unfortunately, a no reply from other shareholders is counted as votes for the board's recommendation. Most shareholder's don't even open and read the proxies, let alone vote on them. I would sell the shares but it's my 401k and all of the available funds are managed by the same company.

Re:Proxy (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351512)

I would sell the shares but it's my 401k and all of the available funds are managed by the same company.
So you're saying that money is more important to you too?

Change from within (4, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351058)

Shareholders and rights groups including Amnesty International... continue to push Google to improve its policies in countries known for human rights abuses and limits on freedom of speech.

The only way that Google can ever have any influence in opening China's information control policies is if Google is actually operating in China. Right now, that means that they must comply with the PRC minimum standards. If the China kicks Google out, then Google's sway in China is reduced to zero. If you really want to be concerned with censorship in China, then you should want Google to gain as much prominence there as possible, and for Google to always be pushing in the right direction. Not making some idealistic stand that alienates them, but being a valued part of China that moves the entire cultural body of China gently towards better human rights.

Did Google vote against puppies too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351094)

n/b

abstained votes cout (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351096)

In most companies, an abstained vote counts as a vote in favor of the board's recommendation. The shareholders didn't necessarily vote down the proposals, but instead didn't vote at all.

you must wait a little bit before you may use this resource
How long is "a little bit"?

Re:abstained votes cout (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351198)

by abstain I mean not voting at all, as opposed to an option called abstain.

just thought I should clarify.

Re:abstained votes cout (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351548)

From the Google proxy: [google.com]

For the other items of business, you may vote "FOR," "AGAINST" or "ABSTAIN." If you elect to "ABSTAIN," the abstention has the same effect as a vote "AGAINST." If you provide specific instructions with regard to certain items, your shares will be voted as you instruct on such items. If no instructions are indicated, the shares will be voted as recommended by the board of directors.

Do Human Rights pay the bills? (2, Insightful)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351120)

In a shareholder meeting, the only question being asked is "Does this raise or lower our income?"

If the answer is "lower," those proposing the idea have to come up with a darn good reason why, or the shareholders get angry, because their stock is going to be worth less than it could be.

China is a big market, and Google wants to expand aggressively into this, so it was a sensible business decision.

Was it a sensible decision in other areas, like ethics or law? The answer to that has to be asked of a higher entity, because it is the pressure of the shareholders' demands that makes Google unable to answer to those areas.

Re:Do Human Rights pay the bills? (3, Interesting)

anothy (83176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351434)

In a shareholder meeting, the only question being asked is "Does this raise or lower our income?"
while this is certainly true the vast majority of the time in practice, there's no particular reason it has to be. lots of people are interested in things other than making money, and shareholder's meetings are a way of expressing to the board all the shareholder's interests. this is why many corporations keep much of the stock off the market, so they can be sure to dictate at least some substantial portion of those interests.

Re:Do Human Rights pay the bills? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351560)

"Does this raise or lower our income?"
No, it's not.

And you can't predict what would have happened.

And if shareholders don't like it, they can sell. If they feel it was done improperly, they can sue.

Re:Do Human Rights pay the bills? (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351598)

Google is somewhat a special case. Larry and Sergey have a controlling voting interest and thus have broad leeway to interpret what is in shareholder's interests:

http://finance.aol.com/company/google-inc/goog/nas [aol.com]

Re:Do Human Rights pay the bills? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351662)

From the article:

---
Brin said that revenue potential isn't what drove Google to enter the Chinese market. "Our primary goal in countries like China isn't to generate as much revenue as possible," he said. "We could abandon it tomorrow and not have a material effect on revenue. Our goal has been what's the most positive we can do."
---

Something tells me this isn't just about profit...

It's called liberalization, and it's worked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351144)

Awful headline; Google had the insight to realize that you can't change the behavior of authoritarian regimes through boycott, but you can slyly allow the populace to see the outside world and let things 'brew' domestically. Liberalization occurs, it's inherently unstable, and likely leads to democratization.

NO! Really?!? (1)

Vliam (579739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351160)

Shareholders care more about turning a buck than protecting human rights? Say it isn't so!

Better than in US (5, Informative)

thtrgremlin (1158085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351190)

What Google has done is great, and I wish Google was allowed to interpret the censorship rules in the US the same way they do in China. What Google has UNIQUELY done (compared to every other search company as far as I know) is that they inform the user of when and why they are censored and the governmental department that has censored them. That is WAY better than what we have here where content is taken down and 'black bag' the content in such a way to make it appear that such information never existed, NOT that the government is trying to control your thoughts.

Hopefully Google will try to bring the same freedom to the US they have brought to China. Way to go shareholders for being informed voters and not paying attention to stupid articles like this one that trys to distort the facts for attention and ratings.

Amnesty International used to be more prudent about stuff like this. Shame on them.

We all vote against human rights (5, Insightful)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351226)

How can one be critical of Google's business practices in China?

Every time you or I make a decision to buy a product made in China we are voting against human rights.
Why do we support financially a country with such a track record? Because we are either making money doing it, or saving money doing it. Ultimately, we care more about our own pocketbook than the plight of humans elsewhere.

Re:We all vote against human rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351392)

The argument to this is that helping the chinese citizen raise his/her standard of living will also end up with them demanding and reforming their own government. We did it, Britain did it during their own industrial revolution. India is doing it now. We know that this will actually work instead of sanctions and yelling and starving them out. Because the government of repression will always be the last to starve - check out Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan or Soviet Russia for a few examples. Improving the standard of living will raise citizen awareness and cause the scumbags to get bumped out.

Re:We all vote against human rights (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351402)

Then stop buying products made in China!

Re:We all vote against human rights (1)

snarfies (115214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351626)

Sure. You just point me towards the motherboard, processor, or any other computer part that isn't made in China, and I am there.

Re:We all vote against human rights (2, Interesting)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351736)

Every time you or I make a decision to buy a product made in China we are voting against human rights.
Every time you buy a product from *anywhere*, including the USA, you vote against human rights. I might even say *particularly* the USA.

I might also note your use of 'track record' - your use of this term assumes that nothing has changed. Even someone who is reformed has a 'track record', but might be considered totally trustworthy. China is changing at an amazingly fast rate, and it *is* getting better - I don't think anyone would argue otherwise.
Most of the negative opinion of China comes from being brought up in the cold war with the anti-communist propaganda spread throughout that era (A result of McCarthyism? I wish I'd done more history at school).

Having been brought up in 'the west', I find it in myself constantly. I encourage other westerners to look for it in themselves too and counter it. It's a form of fear and it only leads to conflict (IMO).

trolL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351254)

Fly...don'T 7ear [goat.cx]

The Chinese People Are Responsible (5, Interesting)

Dreadneck (982170) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351258)

The Chinese people are responsible for pushing back against their government. It isn't Google's responsibility to stand up for the rights of the Chinese. There are over 1.2 billion people living in China - the Chinese government stands or falls at their pleasure. Apparently they are content with the government they have. When they decide otherwise then it is their responsibility and no one else's to change things.

Re:The Chinese People Are Responsible (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351510)

But how can the Chinese people make an informed decision to push back against their government if they don't have all the facts? This is the core problem with censorship. If the Chinese people like their communist government, that's all well and good. But most of them don't have a clue what goes on because they never hear about it. Somehow, I get the feeling that a lot more people would be upset if they did.

Re:The Chinese People Are Responsible (3, Insightful)

lilfields (961485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351678)

I don't know if you could say they are content with their government, seeing as most are probably afraid to stand up to it and others simple don't know if there are better ways to govern the people. I doubt many in the U.S. are content with their government, luckily we have elections, free information and free speech...they have...uhh a censored Google index.

As much as I don't like some things Google (3, Insightful)

Prisoner's Dilemma (1268306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351260)

Even though I am constantly disappointed with what Google has become with regard to it's policies, in this case, I can't fault them.

It's correct that it would have made a stronger point for Google to say it's raw or nothing. It's also easy to sit back with wallet firmly secured and say that THEY should be making that point. I'll bet many of the people faulting Google still purchase products that are in some part made in China or some other country that has similar practices.

In all reality, it is ludicrous to think investors trying to make money , not a point, would vote for something that might keep their for profit corporation from capitalizing on access to an upcoming super power. It's possible, maybe even likely, that China will eventually become larger profit center for Google than the US.

   

For Profit (2, Insightful)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351280)

It's not Google's fight. They are in to make money. Period. Do no evil? Please, don't be naive.

And for those of you who say "If you are part of the system, you support it" and criticize Google for not standing up against human right violations, well, then stop buying everything made in China and stand up yourself first! Stop buying Nike shoes, iPods, some GAP cloth, Notebooks, Blu-ray players, LCD TVs and many other gadgets you love so much...Suddenly China's human right violations doesn't sound too much evil when you have to change your consuming habits right?

It's not Google's shareholders, it's ALL of us who "Vote Against Human Rights". We vote with our [insert local currency here] everyday and everyday we vote for the best price/benefit (or any other formula) and care shit about human rights involved in the manufacturing of the product.

Re:For Profit (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351564)

How come no one who talks about not participating in the system mentions not using Google anymore?

To Be or Not to Be... (1)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351292)

Even a restricted version of google could, in theory, offer backdoor searches to the crafty and brave Chinese user.

Although google may filter content from searches for 'free tibet' or 'tianaman square', I would imagine that the actual search engine still operates in the same fashion as it does in the 'free' world.

Thus, google would only be blocking requests in a semantic fashion, yes? From an information perspective, google should still be able to index and serve results for content which is against Chinese policy, but which has been obscured through linguistic tricks or something likewise.

Could there be an analogy drawn between the theorized creation of the Nunchaku from a farm tool?

Could not a 'censored' google still be wielded as effectively as the fully open google in the west?

No access to google is against China government? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351296)

I think no access to google is against Chinese people. The China government doesn't care if there is a google at all, but if Chinese loose google, although lamed, they loose a lot. They won't gain any progress is human right and they will loose the best search engine on the internet.

Value of an Ad-Click in China? (3, Insightful)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351344)

I wonder what the computed value of an Ad-Click is in China? Most of the country is dirt poor. Exactly which segments of the Chinese population are being reached by Google?

Clearly the bottom line is the bottom line.

Translation needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351494)

Google argues that it's better for it to [make money from] the country and to offer people some information, rather than [not to make money from] China at all...


Fixed :)

omg guys tragic news for the slashdot community (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351526)

Guys I don't know how you can sit around and talk so casually about Google when the Slashdot community is being rocked by the revelation that John Romero's career has fallen to the point where he's now working as a Tina Fey impersonator to support his extravagent haircare needs. The resemblance is striking. It's rumored that he offers "full service" (wink wink [smugmug.com] )if you slip him a bottle of Herbal Essence [youtube.com] .

I vote against... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351712)

I vote against sensationalist headlines on Slashdot.

Fire kdawson (1)

perltooc (933296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351716)

He or she is an fatuous, incorrigible, hysterical troll and needs to be let go. It's gotten to the point where I can spot one of her posts immediately without looking at the name. Kdawson, go back to your little teenage troll blog where you came from.

Regardless (1)

mathimus1863 (1120437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351772)

Regardless of whether this was a shady decision/vote or not, this reminds us why the "do no evil" mantra went out the window when Google went public. No matter how much the employees and management agree to "do no evil" it's really up to the shareholders/investors who don't give a shit what Google does as long as it makes them money.

Sensationalist much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23351776)

Very nice headline, given the content. Yes, because shareholders voted to keep Google in China, they actively voted to slaughter people, imprison them, and force the remaining to work at below-minimum wage in a country ruled by communism (those darn commies! [audience laughter]). See how the logic works?

Tomorrow, we'll get wind that one of Google's stockholders living in New York went to a restaurant last night and ordered veal. Obviously, the kdawson headline will be "Google's stockholders eat babies and shit their remains all over New York".

"Don't Be Evil" (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23351840)

That's how it started. But you know what they say, "no religion remains pure for long".
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