Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From The Raging Hypocrisy Department

I think I should have given up Google for Lent as well as Fox News. Google was the defendant in a trial in Italy involving a video clip that was posted to its Italian website. In the clip, a group of boys is bullying a child with Downs Syndrome. Google left the clip up for over two months and it got a lot of hits. The Italian government was prosecuting Google for its disregard for basic human dignity and rights, and Google was found guilty. Google's spokesman said, and I quote, "This is against the fundamental principles upon which the Internet is based."

See story (and I got this using Yahoo)

OK. This strikes me as both one of the stupidest and one of the most hypocritical things I have heard from a supposedly smart person in a long time. Number one: The Internet is based on no ethical principles other than that of rampant, unfettered capitalism. (neither is Google. This is not a slap at capitalism, but let's be honest: capitalism inherently isn't concerned about ethics, but profit. People are concerned about ethics, and that is when capitalism works). Where is the Bible of the Internet? Where is its constitution? When did they get together and decide on the principles of the Internet, and who were "they?" I sure wish they would post these fundamental principles somewhere. I think the fellow is alluding to some unwritten "we can put anything we want to up on a website without accountability" principle.

Second, I remember a few years back when Google wanted to do business in China and therefore had to submit to China's demands to a. block certain sites and b. give up confidential information, that is, the name of a dissident, who ended up in jail because of their ratting on him. So what happened to the fundamental principles of the Internet (those non-existent ones) then?

So, Google will fight for their right to make money from those who violate human rights, and fight for their right to publish content that deprives another of human dignity. HUMMMM. Let's try BING and YAHOO for a while.

But I can't be too hard on Google. They have only done more publicly and completely what the rest of the U.S. has done, and been encouraged by our government to do: sell our souls to China for money, the opportunity to do business, and buy cheap excuse my French crap. So what do we get? Lost jobs, toxic toys, and the inability to buy the most basic of things without a made-in-China sticker. Yes, I know, free trade, balance of trade, huge, billion-person open markets for our goods, la la la. My argument is not that we should have no goods from China, but that we didn't know when to stop, and now that's all we have. I have read The World is Flat; I'm not uninformed. We have as a country made human rights violation immaterial so that we can pay less for toys and batteries and electronics and household goods.

All that being said, I wish we were all not sinners and that the Internet could be a totally free speech zone. But I foresee a day, not too far in the future, where it will be much more regulated and people will not be able to post just anything they want. I'm sure the technology is there to violate privacy and figure out who actually is posting things (or at least whose IP or computer is being used). Too many people have been irresponsible, but on the other hand, governments in general like control too much and will find an excuse to regulate the Internet, or more correctly, regulate the people who use the Internet.


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Barbara Tucker said...

Thank you!

This might just change your life!