Every so often we read about a major social network or search engine agreeing to censor its content in restrictive countries. Especially given the prevailing attitude of some Internet users that everything ought to be open and free, the outcry is understandable.
I had a thought. I won’t go so far as to say that any of the current players have this much of a conscience, but if one did here is a legitimate question. Does principle demand that you refuse to deal with the country, or does it actually demand that you go in? Here’s the rationale. The information accessible by searching a big site like Google or Facebook is vast and complex. Varied also are the terms and links by which someone might stumble onto a page with information the controlling government doesn’t want them to have. Especially if one makes an effort, I suspect that getting around the sensors isn’t all that hard to do. It may be beyond the casual browser, but not someone determined to do it. So as a company, granted that there is a monetary incentive, do you agree to the rules knowing that instead of cutting off the people completely you give them at least a chance of finding out what they need to know? Given what is apparently being done in our own country I doubt anyone is asking that question, but I think it’s a reasonable one.