Monday, January 18, 2010

RConversation: Google, China, and the future of freedom on the global Internet

A very good post by Rebecca MacKinnon

RConversation: Google, China, and the future of freedom on the global Internet: "Google, China, and the future of freedom on the global Internet
Maybe it's because I was schooled in political science, not computer science. But frankly I've been surprised by the extent to which some respected commentators have focused on trashing Google for lacking purity of motive. As if that were some kind of brilliant revelation. Of course Google's actions are motivated by self-interest.

Self-interest is a complicated thing, and isn't only financial. I personally know quite a number of Googlers working in various locations around the world, some at fairly high levels. I get the sense that the emotional well-being of Google's founders, and many others with decision-making power throughout the company, is quite wrapped up in their belief in Google as a force for good in the world. Whether that belief is completely or only partially delusional is an open question. (Ken Auletta's new book on Google provides some useful insight on that front.) But let's be honest with ourselves. How many people on the planet do anything for 100% selfless reasons?"

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