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Google: Don’t Be Evil Unless

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Questions for Thought
1. Given its mission of providing information to the world, should Google censor searches in China? The simple answer to this is no. The contradictory message these two ideas imply results in Google looking hypocritical in its actions. The question is why Google succumbed to the wishes of the Chinese government. The easy answer is 1.3 billion people. Google’s astronomical stock price (almost $600 per share at the time of this writing) is in large part due to the built in long term growth potential of the stock. As a result, Google is under continuous pressure to grow at a large percentage every year to support the high stock price. If Google said no to the Chinese government, that would be 1.3 billion customers that Google’s sponsors would not have access to.

2. Why do you think Google was adamant in not wanting to supply information requested by the government concerning the Child Online Protection Act? Explain your position. Google was probably adamant to put on display to its users that they would protect the individual rights of their users regardless of who was asking for the information. It also could have been a stance to block future requests. Google may have been worried that if they complied with this request the government would quickly come back with another request and so on. Again, the net result of this stand was that it made Google look foolish to be so adamant for human rights in the United States and be so willing to look the other way in China.

3. What do you think Google’s rationale was for starting its Google Print for Libraries program? The rationale of Google could have been two fold. Google may have thought of themselves as the “enlightened” company that was going to bring wisdom and knowledge to the masses. In addition, Google may have thought that since this was such a noble effort that copyright laws would not restrict the program. Both of these rationales lead back to the ego of Google. Google has had unprecedented financial success so they may believe that they could do no wrong even if the action is against the law.

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