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posted by takyon on Monday October 15 2018, @09:25AM   Printer-friendly

Republican Senators Demand Answers about Google+ Cover-up

Senators Thune, Wicker, and Moran Letter to Google

takyon: Three Senators have written a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai requesting responses to several questions about the recent Google+ breach.

Also at Reuters, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

How Google's China Project Undermines its Claims to Political Neutrality

Submitted via IRC for chromas

How Google's China project undermines its claims to political neutrality

The company's official position on content moderation remains political neutrality, a spokeswoman told me in an email:

Google is committed to free expression — supporting the free flow of ideas is core to our mission. Where we have developed our own content policies, we enforce them in a politically neutral way. Giving preference to content of one political ideology over another would fundamentally conflict with our goal of providing services that work for everyone.

Of course, it's impossible to read the report or Google's statement without considering Project Dragonfly. According to Ryan Gallagher's ongoing reporting at The Intercept, Google's planned Chinese search engine will enable anything but the free flow of ideas. Even in an environment where American users are calling for tech platforms to limit users' freedoms in exchange for more safety and security, many still recoil at the idea of a search engine that bans search terms in support of an authoritarian regime.

And that's the unresolvable tension at the heart of this report. Almost all of us would agree that some restrictions on free speech are necessary. But few of us would agree on what those restrictions should be. Being a good censor — or at least, a more consistent censor — is within Google's grasp. But being a politically neutral one is probably impossible.

See also: Senator Says Google Failed to Answer Key Questions on China

Related: Leaked Transcript Contradicts Google's Denials About Censored Chinese Search Engine

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2Original Submission #3

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Monday October 15 2018, @03:23PM (2 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 15 2018, @03:23PM (#749088) Journal

    They are trying to pass that phrase off as something similar to "fair and balanced" from Fox. They want you to believe that they don't have, don't want, a party affiliation. And, if you're naive or gullible, that's how you might read the phrase.

    Think back, over the years in history. What ideology do corporations have? Profit, of course. IBM, for instance, was perfectly happy to provide data acquisition, and data analysis for the Nazis, for as long as there was profit in it. The Hudson Bay company deemed that it was profitable to pay for Indian scalps, so they paid for scalps. The India company saw fit to do a lot of things for profit - thereby making Ghandi a hero.

    Now, with that sort of context, re-read that "politically neutral" bullshit. Google is stating, as plainly as they know how, that they don't give much of a damn about human rights, or political issues. Google will cater to whoever has the money - whether the money holder be Communist, Capitalist, an African warlord, or the head of a drug cartel. And, they would assist a Nazi government in manipulating data just as readily as IBM did prior to and during WW2.

    You'll note that I'm not even "reading between the lines" here. I am simply shifting the context in which you read their statement. Profit, first, everything else be damned.

    ‘Never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals’
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  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Monday October 15 2018, @03:54PM

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Monday October 15 2018, @03:54PM (#749100) Journal

    Profit, first, everything else be damned.

    Yes, that's what "politically neutral" means. Being "politically neutral" is very profitable. Besides, most people who preach politics (and religion) really do so for profit. Behind it all is, *what's in it for me?*

    La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
  • (Score: 2) by Pslytely Psycho on Tuesday October 16 2018, @05:05AM

    by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Tuesday October 16 2018, @05:05AM (#749408)

    You're right, politically neutral is a hollow slogan that is neither meaningful nor possible.
    Everyone is biased, and the bias of those in charge of a company can't help but bleed through.
    Republicans, Democrat, Libertarian, simply doesn't matter. It's one biased viewpoint pointing at the other biased viewpoint and screaming "BIAS!"
    All rather amusing when you see the absurdity of it. []

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