At the first Internet Governance Forum in Athens, Google is expected to defend it’s presence in China saying that it does more good than harm since it gets more information to more people. Delegates from China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam will be among those attending. All of these countries have been accused and criticized for curbing freedom of expression both off and online.
Andrew McLaughlin, head of global public policy at Google, said “Google.cn is censored but we’ve come up with a technique for deciding what is to be censored that is basically technical, not editorial, and very reactive. That leads us to blocking from our site the minimum that the ISP [internet service provider] level requires.
“I’m sure there are lots of people who will say it’s just too distasteful, it’s too gross, it’s too political, you shouldn’t do it. That’s a totally legitimate point of view,” he said.
“We’ve made an empirical judgment, though, that being able to hire Chinese employees and have them be part of the Google culture and be free-thinking, freewheeling internet people … when you add it all up, we think we’re helping to advance the cause of change in China.”