Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Filtering Morality

Google China has now apologized for what the government calls "spreading" pornographic images and vulgar links on its search engine.
Earlier the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre said, "Google China's website has not installed filters to block pornography in accordance with the laws and regulation of our nation."
Cui Jin, a press officer with Google China said in an email statement: "We will continue to meet with the government to address their concerns, and we wish to communicate directly with them in regard to our services and progress in addressing this problem."
Google will now try to fix its service so that sexually explicit material won't come up in its search results.

What's interesting is that many believe some of the media coverage criticizing Google was fabricated.

Last Thursday's edition of Focus, CCTV's flagship news analysis program interviewed a university student named Gao Ye. He blamed Google for having an negative impact on one of his classmates, claming he was trying to do research but ended up finding pornographic links in his search results.

But later the story was discredited as it was later found out Gao was an intern at CCTV.

People soon realized that perhaps the media attacks on Google were coordinated, and this was a way for the government to justify the promotion of Green Dam-Youth Escort software, which will be implemented in all new computers from July 1.

Online search engines are not meant to filter out search results -- if you type in a query on Google.com, you should have access to every single link related to that subject and it is up to the user to sift through them to find the answer he or she is looking for.
What's next? Will the Chinese government demand online search engines to recommend the best search results to students who have no clue in deciding what's the best information they are looking for?
While the government's concerns about pornography being easily available to young people are justified, that is a matter for schools and parents to monitor and educate. In fact it is more important for the public to know what is good and bad, and not be only given filtered material.
It is only through repeated practice of learning how to make good choices through critical thinking can society evolve and develop. This skill is sorely missing in today's youth in China, which can only lead to devastating consequences when they get older... 

1 comment:

gung said...

China may be right in filtering the net. There is too much garbage that need be clean up. But technologically it may be difficult to implement. Obviously some deserved webs would be wiped out.