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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/23/10

Google Leads The World In Corporate Ethics; Who Will Follow Their Example?

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William Cormier
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For the second time in four (4) years, we find ourselves again complimenting Google for being the flag-bearer of Corporate ethics. On March 18th, 2006, we published an article titled "A Tribute to Google, Standing-up for our rights!" Back then during the oppressive Bush Regime, "King George's" right-wing Justice Department attempted to gather information from Google's search-engine database. Google, believing that the Justice Department's request was too intrusive and violated some of our fundamental constitutional guarantees, refused to comply and brought the issue before a Federal Court:

"The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose was a victory for Google, which argued that handing over the records would violate the privacy of people who might scour the Internet with terms as diverse as "best-actor nominees," "third trimester abortion" or "pipe bomb."

Although Ware required Google to reveal some information about the websites in its database, he ordered the government to reimburse the Mountain View, Calif., company for the time and expense required to comply.

But for Google a quirky dot-com with the corporate mantra "Don't be evil," the more important issue was whether it could restrict access to potentially revealing queries.

"We will always be subject to government subpoenas, but the fact that the judge sent a clear message about privacy is reassuring," said Google's associate general counsel, Nicole Wong. "What this ruling means is that neither the government nor anyone else has carte blanche when demanding data from Internet companies." LINK

Here we are, years later, and once again Google has found itself in a situation where its ethics are being challenged by one of the most oppressive governments (In our opinion) in the Global Community, and rather than backing down, Google has chosen to stand-up for their belief that moral values and ethics trump corporate profit, an occurrence so rare these days that we believe Google deserves special recognition for refusing to compromise their core ethics of "Don't be Evil," even in a situation where it could result in the loss of huge profits in China's booming economy and what may one day be one of the largest Internet markets in the world:

Google quits censoring search in China

By Doug Gross, CNN

March 22, 2010 6:00 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- Google on Monday announced it has stopped censoring search results in China.

In a 3:03 p.m. ET post on its official blog, Google said it stopped running the censored Google.cn service on Monday and was routing its Chinese users to an uncensored version of Google based in Hong Kong.

"We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement," said Senior Vice President David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, on the blog.

Google hopes the move "will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China," Drummond wrote.

Google said it would be carefully monitoring to see if access to the site is blocked in mainland China.

Early reports from China on Monday suggested that the Chinese government was already restricting access to Google's Hong Kong-based site, said Eddan Katz, International Affairs Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. MUCH MORE

Now that China has effectively stolen and counterfeited much of the Western Technology that helped to make China an economic giant, the attitude in China is rapidly changing, and U.S. protectionism they once complained about themselves is now SOP in China, and those businesses that trusted China with their technology are now finding themselves on the losing end of the stick:

U.S. Companies Set to Lose Under New China Policy

As a follow up to last week's [Mar 17, 2010: WSJ - Business Sours on China] where I wrote:

There has been a reason every foreign investment in China is done by joint venture and since the time frame of foreign executives (especially of the American kind) is very different then the Chinese, what has been a "win-win' in the near term (10-20 years) is going to potentially create some major stresses down the road. For now, multinationals have been able to shed costs (Western labor) at a rapid clip, creating massive wins for the executive class while (to gain access to the China market) being forced to share know how, technology, and the like. Eventually the Chinese are going to find these Western companies "inconvenient" to keep around"

Looks like foreign companies are becoming more "inconvenient" by the day. I'm usually very early in my trend thinking, but I have to admit that, while early once more, these things are happening at a pace even I am underestimating. One country is giving away the store as its corporations march to the "free market" system, while the other is lapping up all the deserts. The consequences for their respective population is clear unless you live in a dogmatic textbook as most academics do. Must Read Article

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My Bio is as varied as my life. In 2012, my twin sons murdered a Journalist in Pensacola, Fl., for 100K worth of "Magic The Gathering" playing cards and buried the body in my backyard. I was once a regular writer here, but PTSD from my son's (more...)

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