Greens applaud Google over China ruckus

Senator Scott Ludlum attempts to tie China and Google censorship row to Australia's proposed Internet filter

The Greens have welcomed Google’s decision to stop censoring the Internet in China and attempted to tie the issue to Australia’s own ISP-level Internet content filter.

In a statement, Greens Senator Scott said Google’s decision, which came on the back of accusations by the company it had suffered attacks from inside China on the Gmail accounts of human rights activists, was the “first move in acknowledgement of the long-term futility of internet censorship”.

"We commend Google's initiative, which is quite a contrast to the Rudd government's meek approach to China," Ludlam said.

The Greens telecommunications spokesperson described Google’s decision to start [[artnid: 340521 |redirecting users of filtered Google.cn to the company's Hong Kong search site, Google.com.hk where it provides "uncensored search... specifically designed for users in mainland China" as an opportunity to develop a “more mature relationship” with the key trading partner.

"Google's move in China has been followed by a highly critical submission on the Australian Government's own plan to censor the internet, saying parents around Australia have the strong view that 'the government's proposal goes too far and would take away their freedom of choice around what information they and their children can access,” he said.

"Abandoning this ridiculous censorship proposal might also give our arguments more weight when trying to redefine our relationship with China.”

Quoting a Chinese official in the Internet section of the State Council Information Office the state news agency, Xinhua said it was “totally wrong” for the search giant to break a written agreement to censor the Internet made when it entered the Chinese market.

"We resolutely oppose the politicization of commercial problems, and express dissatisfaction and indignation toward Google's unreasonable criticism and actions," Xinhua paraphrased the official as saying.

Google’s decision came on the same day communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy released submissions to Government’s proposed measures to increase accountability and transparency for Refused Classification material – in other words the often criticised ISP-level Internet content filter.

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