Google China move puts pressure on Microsoft, Yahoo
Like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo run Chinese search engines. But they are continuing to comply with censorship even after Google China has stopped. Some in Congress say US technology companies should be compelled to take a firmer stance on free speech in China.
The ramifications of Google China’s move to stop self-censoring Web queries in China are just beginning to surface, but the decision is already adding pressure on other US technology firms doing business with Beijing.Skip to next paragraph
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Members of Congress blasted Microsoft Wednesday for continuing to comply with Chinese censorship laws. In the wake of Google’s stance, GoDaddy.com, the world’s leading provider of domain names, announced it would quit registering Chinese websites.
Many technology analysts say pressure will build not only on Microsoft but also on Yahoo as both companies run Chinese Web search engines and comply with censorship requirements.
Will Google leave China altogether?
While it’s unclear whether Google will leave China altogether or whether Beijing will block access to its Hong Kong-based site, the decision by the world’s most popular search engine to switch off its site in the world’s biggest Internet market has certainly sharpened the debate over online censorship as well as on what ideals American corporations must compromise in order to operate in China.
“It really shines a light on just how hard it is to do business in an ethical and humane way in China,” says Cynthia Wong, a staff attorney at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington. “The environment for human rights has really deteriorated in China in recent years.”
Although GoDaddy said that its decision was unrelated to Google’s situation, the two companies say they were motivated to act after China tightened its grip on the Internet.
Ms. Wong says China shows no sign of loosening its grip on digital information and is reportedly taking additional steps to extend greater controls over the mobile market.