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You Can't Stop The Signal

Google is a company that we Speculists generally have a lot of respect for. Almost anytime I use my computer, I use Google.

We understand that Google is motivated by profit just like any other company, but they have usually had the good sense to pursue profit in ways that help people. Google's motto, "Don't be evil" might come across as a bit too precious, but it also has the benefit of being easy to understand.

Unfortunately it's not always easy to live up to. Google's decision to collaborate with the People's Republic of China in censoring Chinese web searches is evil. We are hardly the only ones to think so. By agreeing with the Chinese government to do this, Google has become part of the machine that is suppressing the freedoms of 1.3 billion people.

Obviously they are motivated by the thought that they could serve millions of Chinese web surfers. And they don't want to fall behind competitors that are already collaborating with the Chinese government - Microsoft and Yahoo (more shame on them for leading the way).

It also helped their rationalization, I'm sure, that they decided to do something that, to my knowledge, the other collaborators are not yet doing - Google is informing the Chinese public when their searches are being censored.

That being the case, The Speculist hereby announces a program to mitigate this evil:

If you are a Chinese user of Google who has received notice that your search has been censored, let us know. We will search Google from the United States and post the results here.

One rule: We won't search for pornography.

My email address is:

mrstg87 {at symbol} yahoo {dot} com

Obviously, The Speculist will, itself, be quickly censored in China for this. That's cool - gives us street cred with a good crowd. But, obviously this will defeat the purpose of this program. What we need is a network of bloggers that will sign on to be a part of this. We also need a name and a logo. Any bloggers interested in helping in any way should also contact me.

As this program develops we will author a faq that will contain the results of censored searches. We will need multiple hosts for this faq. We will also take advantage of peer-to-peer systems if that will insure access.

Obviously this would be of greater value if written in Chinese. If you can translate, we need your help as well.

I admit complete ignorance when it comes to how the Internet operates in China. Therefore, we need technical assistance too.

UPDATE (from Phil): If you're not familiar with the phrase, "You can't stop the signal," here's some recommended viewing.


Hey Stephen,

Why don't we call it "You can't stop the signal?"

Or maybe just "Can't stop the signal?"

Or maybe:

"Aim to misbehave."

"Informing the Chinese public when their searches are being censored!?"

Ooops, they don't do that anymore!

Many comment sections now include a picture of text to defeat the spambots. Could not the same technology be used to defeat Google's attempt at technological appeasement?

I like a classic Jayne quote: "Time for some thrilling heroics!"


What you're linking to is the story about Google having to change it's "We don't censor" message to "However, in response to local laws, regulations, or policies, we may [censor]."

That same message also says - as of seconds ago [click through to see if this has changed]:

"When we remove search results for these reasons, we display a notice on our search results pages. Please note: For some older removals (before March 2005), we may not show a notice at this time."

Meaning, I hope, that they intend to inform their Chinese searchers when the results are being censored.

Gosh, it's nice to know that if I need do search for information I can always e-mail a US-based blogger and wait, probably hours or days, for the results. Thanks for the thought - but I think it will be faster if those of us in China just use a proxy (like we already do).
If you are serious about supporting Internet access in China set up a server for TOR or JAP.

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