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Google Sponsor Internet Freedom Award
Don't remind them you're doing evil.
PARIS (Rixstep) — Google have sponsored the first ever Prix det Net Citoyen awarded by Reporters Sans Frontièrs. 'Governments around the world are threatening online free expression', writes Google public policy director Robert Boorstin.
Good for him and good for Google - but guess what? Free expression begins at home.
Forty governments have taken measures to limit freedom of expression, says Boorstin. But the tally falls far short of the mark as most people are willing to admit. 'Google and YouTube services are or have been blocked in 25 of those nations', reports Boorstin - and this too is a 'bad' tally.
It's Reporters Sans Frontièrs who give the award; Google are only there to share the stage and steal some of the credit. The award went to an Iranian site fighting for women's rights. And there's nothing wrong with that or with the award.
But repression doesn't always have its origins in terrestrial politics. And it doesn't really matter how the repression starts - it always ends up with governments doing the repression. YouTube was a good thing until Google took over and started playing the game with the MAFIAA. Now we have film clips with no sound because Edgar Bronfman believes he's losing money if you get to listen to it.
Boorstin even goes on to praise the Obama administration in the US for their 'commitment to the promotion of Internet freedom'. O RLY? That administration is one of the few in the world against transparency in ACTA. What kind of freedom is that?
The US White House whether Republican or Democrat has been behind some of the most repressive threats to freedom in the 'western world'. Such as rewriting copyright agreements so The Pirate Bay can be prosecuted, such as summoning the Swedish government to Washington to threaten with trade sanctions if The Pirate Bay isn't shut down, despite government legal experts protesting there's nothing unlawful going on, and who knows what else.
There are no freedom fighters in the White House. Boorstin's claim to the contrary. although expected, is only shameful. How can a government be considered a freedom fighter when their country still has prison camps on foreign soil, military forces on several foreign soils, and when they're prepared to invade/take over additional sovereign nations on a frat boy whim?
All told it's quite the mouthful for a company that eagerly entered into a censorship conspiracy with the Chinese, totally blew their chances against the more savvy Baidu who now control as much of the market amongst the 350 million surfers as Google do otherwise worldwide, and who have been waiting for a good excuse to get out.
Their own screwed-up security gave them that opportunity. Now watch them pretend they've been the good guys all along.
The Internet does not need governmental support to be free - the Internet needs governments to stay away. Period.
But congrats to the RSF and this year's first winners.
There aren't any good guys. You realise that, don't you? You realise there aren't evil guys and innocent guys. It's just a bunch of guys. And then of course some of them are Google guys.
- Steve Arlo
Rixstep's Hall of Monkeys: Edgar Bronfman (Junior)
Official Google Blog: Recognising courage, securing online freedom