Google's Schmidt at World Economic Forum: 'We did an evil scale'

Summary:InfoWorld reporter Stacey Cowley writes: It took Google Inc. more than a year to make the decision that offering a censored version of its search services in China would be a lesser evil than boycotting business in the country altogether, according to Google Inc.

InfoWorld reporter Stacey Cowley writes:

It took Google Inc. more than a year to make the decision that offering a censored version of its search services in China would be a lesser evil than boycotting business in the country altogether, according to Google Inc. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eric Schmidt...."We concluded that although we weren't wild about the restrictions, it was even worse to not try to serve those users at all," Schmidt said. "We actually did an evil scale and decided not to serve at all was worse evil," he said, referring to the company's famous "don't be evil" creed.

Over at Harvard's Berkman Center, Rebecca McKinnon doesn't necessarily agree in her write-up of Google's degrees of evil saying:

So it has happened. Google has caved in. It has agreed to actively censor a new Chinese-language search service that will be housed on computer servers inside the PRC....Obviously this contradicts its stated desire to make information freely available to everybody on the planet, and it contradicts its mission statement: "don't be evil."

Rebecca also has some pretty good lists of related links here, here, and here. Meanwhile, the OpenNet Initiative (affiliated with the The Berkman Center) has published an online tool that compares search results from google.com (US) and google.cn (China).

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Topics: Google

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David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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