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Google and the ‘great firewall’

Even after strong international criticism, and a very public row with Google, China has continued to defend its policy of censoring the web. Just this week, Chinese officials published a 31-page white paper outlining the reasons for the country’s “great firewall,” which they said prevents Chinese citizens from ‚Äúsubverting state power, undermining national unity [or] infringing upon national honor and interests.”

Even the white paper itself was, to some degree, censored. English versions of the document mentioned Twitter as an example of a microblogging site that allows users to freely express themselves. The Chinese version, however, omitted any mention of Twitter, which has been banned by the authorities there.

The white paper also omitted any mention of Google, the search engine giant that pulled its operations out of China after a bitter dispute with officials over the censorship policy. The spat has apparently failed to influence Chinese internet policy.

So, will Google ever return to China? And how do other countries stack up in terms of internet openness? To answer those and other questions, Need to Know’s Alison Stewart sat down with David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer.

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