'An op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday made the ethical case for Google’s plans to create a censored search engine to meet the demands of the Chinese Communist Party.
The piece, written by Thomas Jungbauer, an assistant professor of strategy and business economics at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, argues that Google’s plans may actually allow for the spread of free speech and democracy as it would serve as a reminder of what topics the regime wants censoring.
“Disclaimers on blocked sites would serve as a constant reminder of the state’s ubiquitous censorship,” he writes. “They could also indicate to users which topics the Chinese authorities don’t want openly discussed. The bigger Google’s market share in China, the more effective this reminder would be.”
— Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) August 16, 2018
Jungbauer goes on to argue that the presence of an American technology giant such as Google would in fact help upend China’s current system of solely state-run companies.
Would a major market presence in China allow Google to upend the status quo, little by little? History suggests it could. Knowledge gradually trickling into centrally planned economies during the Cold War contributed to the downfall of many authoritarian governments. Just a few years ago, technology empowered opposition movements during the Arab Spring.
“The power of any oppressive government in the short term is a direct function of its level of control and organization, as well as its military strength. The system’s long-run stability, however, depends on the authorities’ ability to shield its citizens from outside information to prevent a critical mass demanding change.'
Read more: ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’: Washington Post Makes Case for Google’s Chinese Censorship