Thursday, March 02, 2006

Should We Archive Our Prophet Posts Yet? 

The BBC has an article on censorship at Google that should concern us all:

Google censors itself for Islamic sensitivities

Leading internet company Google has said it will censor its search services in order to gain greater access to the Muslim world's fast-growing market. [...]

Critics warn the new version could restrict access to thousands of sensitive terms and web sites. Such topics are likely to include images of the Muslim Prophet and unqualified references to the Holocaust.

Most Arab and Islamic states prefer to maintain a tight rein on the internet and what users can access. The Jeruslam Post news site would be inaccessible, while a search for the blasphemous images would direct users to a string of Islamic Outreach articles.
The link is to the original article, which is based on Google's real censorship in China. The only change I made was to project China's demands forward, to imagine the next party demanding Google's censorial services.

Remember, Google owns Blogspot. There must be thousands of blasphemous images and posts stored on Google's servers, mine among them.

You may think I'm crazy. But there really are people who, in the cliched spirit of consistency these issues tend to evoke, want to know how Google can censor China, while allowing blasphemy to taint its servers:

My question to Google is; where is your consistency? You can censor Google China, but not these cartoons? Personally, I am a firm believer in freedom of expression. And that's why I am against Google's decision to censor their Chinese search results. However, I wonder how Google can rationalize the Chinese censorship, while not taking a stance on cartoons that have resulted in wide spread violence.
The position is qualified here, as in many of the more sophisticated cartoon protests, but it's not hard to see how this will play out once the cartoon protesters have a little time to rest up for the next round. Google has shown it will cave to please a market, and I'm pretty sure it has been noticed. If even the Christian Science Monitor has picked up on the connection between China and the Prophet, how far behind can CAIR be?

With freedom comes the responsibility to use it wisely. Google and the media spreading images of Muhammad should exercise more wisdom.
I hope Google has riot-proofed their server rooms.

Archive your "Prophet posts" while you can.

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