free html hit counter If It Was Bad for Yahoo to Do It.... - John Battelle's Search Blog

If It Was Bad for Yahoo to Do It….

By - May 19, 2008

…It’s bad for Google to do it.

An Indian man was arrested over the weekend for allegedly posting derogatory and vulgar content about Indian politician Sonia Gandhi on Google’s social networking site, Orkut. 22-year-old Rahul Krishnakumar Vaid had posted his comments in an Orkut community called “I hate Sonia Gandhi” through an Orkut account associated with his Gmail account. With Google’s help, local authorities were able to verify Vaid’s identity and make the arrest.

Yahoo caught a lot of shit, including from me, when they helped arrest a journalist in China.

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10 thoughts on “If It Was Bad for Yahoo to Do It….

  1. PaulSweeney says:

    From the point where they all handed data over to the US Gov, and the Google-China cop out, I lost all faith in Google’s “World Changing Brand Promise”. I can understand the economics of it, emerging markets, the east is the next west etc., but but but. Please, do no evil?

  2. Wow – quite sad to see Google is promoting censorship…even if it is in a country other than the US.

  3. Webscalpel says:

    Let’s hope this doesn’t begin to extend to U.S. and a new McCarthy like sweep in the name of fighting terror in our homeland. Stay on them John.

  4. hekim group says:

    With Google’s help, local authorities were able to verify Vaid’s identity and make the arrest. nice dating system..

  5. Sam says:

    See, this guy made some derogatory and vulgar comments about a politician. Somebody filed a defamation case against him. The police investigated. During their investigation, they asked Google to cough up this guys IP address and used that to locate, identify, question and arrest him.

    The police were doing their duty. As they are required by law. Google had to cough up the IP. As they are required by law. And now suddenly Google is evil? Wow!

    It is the job of a court of that country to decide what is legally right or wrong. Not Google or America.

    Same is the case with Yahoo. They complied with chinese laws. So what if China doesn’t have a form of government that you like?

  6. John Battelle says:

    @Sam: You have a point, but I worry, ALOT, about this: “The police were doing their duty. As they are required by law.” Have you read the Patriot Act?

  7. nmw says:

    AFAIK, Google’s focus is on being a profitable company. I’m not sure if they will be able to sustain their “monopoly” position for long, but at some point they will have to start thinking about their stakeholders — not only the stockholders, but all of the people who are affected by Google in any way (e.g. by defamation).

    Anonymity is outdated. If I walk down the street and see 100 people — 99 without masks and 1 a mask, I will wonder: why is that person wearing a mask? My gut feeling would be to immediately distrust that person.

    I have no idea where this myth that Google doesn’t track information started. People willingly sign up for “personalized” Google results (seems kind of like asking the mirror on the wall “who is the prettiest of all?” — if you ask me ;). There is absolutely no question that Google is watching you — and that’s just another reason not to use Google (as was recently noted in my earlier post, their focus is on selling your private data: i.e. according to http://money.cnn.com/video/ft/#/video/fortune/2008/05/12/fortune.lashinsky.google.fortune it’s to “feed those people into Google’s advertising engine”).

    I think this is not about the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is simply a law in the United States of America — just like there laws in other countries, too (some countries have more laws, some countries have less laws — maybe some have “better” laws, maybe some have “worse” laws… )

  8. Sam says:

    “@Sam: You have a point, but I worry, ALOT, about this: “The police were doing their duty. As they are required by law.” Have you read the Patriot Act?”

    You have a right to be worried. But perhaps you should be more explicit about this and focus on your own country. I am an Indian and have complete faith in my country’s system of checks and balances and also in the current government.

    Ofcourse, having faith in your system doesn’t mean you sit around and not protest when laws inhibiting your rights (like the patriot) are passed because you are a part of the system too.

    But truthfully, more than the Patriot, I am more concerned about the efforts of a US senator trying to pass a law that will prohibit companies like Yahoo and Google from storing and sharing data about their users with the government of “undemocratic or unfriendly” countries. (Yeah, like I am going to trust the US government more than my own government; what a laugh!)

  9. News says:

    I understand the economics of it.

  10. dumbfounder says:

    @Sam

    Your point is not valid. What Google is doing is basically equivalent to war profiteering. They are compromising their morals in order to do business in India (and China). They either need to get way off their moral high horse, stop profiting off countries whose moral conduct doesn’t live up to their standards, or not comply with their laws that degrade their moral fiber.