Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Google to follow country-by-country censorship on Blogger

Twitter announced a few days ago that it will censor itself on a country-by-country basis, so the service can continue to exist in more stringent countries. It seems Google is now taking a twig out of Twitter's nest and adding country-by-country censorship to its own blogger service. In fact, according to Mashable, Google has already been doing it for a few weeks now and it's been going unnoticed. The way Google does it is by directing users to country specific domain names. So, for instance, in India, we will see instead of almost always. This will help Google filter any content deemed objectionable in any specific country.
Blogger might already be censored
Blogger might already be censored

Google also wrote a post on the Blogger support blog called, "Why does my blog redirect to a country specific URL?". The post describes how Google is using country specific domain names for country specific censorship. It explains that Google is pursuing this method to limit the impact of censorship. The blog post says, "Over the coming weeks you might notice that the URL of a blog you’re reading has been redirected to a country-code top level domain, or “ccTLD.” For example, if you’re in Australia and viewing [blogname], you might be redirected [blogname] A ccTLD, when it appears, corresponds with the country of the reader’s current location."

Google users will be redirected to links with their own country's name when they come across a domain that is deemed foreign. If you would like to see a page as is, pre-censorship, go to in your browser, which will attach a short term cookie. The cookie will temporarily prevent geographical redistribution. NCR stands for "No Country Redirect".

Both Twitter and Google, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) among other freedom of speech and expression advocates say that this level of censhorship will actually still be okay to do, because it will not really limit freedom of expression while still complying with local laws.

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