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Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond has said that internet censorship raises trade barriers for the US, in addition to violating human rights. Drummond added that pressure should be placed on governments in China and Turkey that practice internet censorship.
We are very pleased that the government has renewed our ICP licence and we look forward to continuing to provide web search and local products to our users in China.
Google’s relationship with China has been strained since it announced in March that it would no longer censor its search services in China. Instead it began to redirect Chinese users to Google’s unfiltered Hong Kong site. In a bid to have its licence renewed last month the company redesigned its google.cn landing page. Instead of automatically redirecting them to the Hong Kong site, it now offers them a link to google.hk instead. Google chief legal officer David Drummond defended the change in direction saying that “Without an ICP licence, we can’t operate a commercial website like Google.cn—so Google would effectively go dark in China.”
Today David Drummond announced on behalf of Google that it would no longer be censoring its search services in China. As a result, Chinese users are now being redirected to Google’s servers in Hong Kong. The following interviews between Drummond and Rebecca MacKinnon were conducted prior to the announcement, they give a much needed insight into Google’s thinking (more…)
On the morning of Monday 12 October, Index on Censorship will be teaming up with Policy Exchange and Google to discuss free expression and the Internet. Later that day, Liberty and Index on Censorship will stage Protest! an exciting event encouraging students to exercise their right to free speech, with special guest Sir Hugh Orde, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers
Why, people might sensibly ask, is Index on Censorship engaging with one of the world’s leading technology corporations and one of Britain’s top police chiefs? The answer is because we no longer see free expression only through the traditional prism of outright state censorship of or violence against writers and journalists.