Friday, January 4, 2013

Google Quietly Removes Censorship Warning Feature For Search Users In China (Updated)

Link to full story is here

Google has quietly disabled a feature that notified users of its search service in China when a keyword had been censored by the Chinese government’s internet controls, according to censorship monitoring blog The blog reports that the change was made sometime between December 5 and December 8, 2012, with no official statement from Google to announce or explain its removal.

According to Google has also deleted a help article which explained how to use the feature — which it says indicates that Google is self-censoring in this instance, rather than being blocked by the government (which has happened in the past). “Since the removal of the help article could only be done willingly by Google, the only explanation we see is that Google struck a deal with the Chinese government, giving in to considerable pressure to self-censor,” it writes.

The blog argues that the move “indicates a new development in the relationship between the Chinese government and Google” — since Google previously and successfully fought government attempts to censor its censorship notification feature, not to mention implementing the feature in the first place.  Speculating on what might have caused Mountain View’s change of heart, writes:

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