Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Google In China

Yesterday I blogged about confidentiality. I have written about keeping secrets when I wrote about Tiger Woods and what he must have told his wife. The common defence is that the truth hurts so we are protecting others. It may be that the secret simultaneously hurts and protects. Hurts because that is the cause of the secret, and protects because the truth hurts. We would all prefer secrets to limit embarrasment. If you are not sure then ask any celebrity.

What if a regime is corrupt? Then the best remedy is publicity. If we live with the expectation that there are no secrets then behaviour would change. Think of the MPs and their expenses. Would there have been any claims for moat cleaning if everything had been in public?

In China Google are ending their censorship of search results. They may get closed down because of this and if Google's motive is to make a stand against government censorship then that is a good thing, but why did Google initally accept censorship? China says it is a victim but it would be a nightmare both for Google and for Chinese dissidents if the Chinese government did get access to private GMail accounts and used them to identify dissidents and round them up.

Change the world


  1. Hi Michael,

    Its a pity more people dont contribute to your site. I visit occasionally to see what I can learn.

    Just out of interest whats the aim and objective of this website and what do you mean by "change the world". How do you want to see the world change.

    BTW good subject "secrecy" reminds me of this famous quote:-

    Just out of interest your not in any secret socities are you Michael? like the Freemasons.
    Dont suppose you'd be able to tell us the truth though if you were.

    Best wishes

  2. Thanks for your kind words anonymous. Is there not a certain irony in sending this comment without giving your name?

    As you can see, I like to give my opinions on anything and everything. I am a Liberal Democrat and I have stood for election on a number of occasions. I would like to think that this is one additional method of getting the public to realise that I am worthy of their vote. The last time I stood I was asked why I had not let people know my opinion. Well I have produced many leaflets but it seems so much easier to put them on a blog.

    I'm not a member of any secret societies. I take the Groucho Marx view of private clubs. If they would let me in then they are not worth joining.

    Thanks again and feel free to comment further. You could even add your name!

  3. P.S. When I started to write blogs I wanted the reader to know when I was signing off. In my photography blog I finish with 'happy snapping' which doesn't have the same ring as 'save the world'. I try to base each blog on an idea which I think is 'common sense' and then mention opposing views. I often think that the general levels of argument could improve and there may even be terminological inescactitudes (lies). I also think there are some people whose views are simply wrong. So the world could be improved.

    Change the world

  4. P.P.S. I can spell inexactitudes and the blog was on the 6th December 2009