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UNC PROF: Maria, go to the map and find North America.

MARIA: Okay, I found it. Here it is!

PROF: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?

CLASS: Maria!
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Internet As Beijing Sees It
By Joseph Pratt

In November, I wrote an article and referenced a trip that's VP of Business Development, Diana Lee, took to China. She participated in Shanghai's inaugural ad:tech conference. It was a great trip and our company's ties with China are stronger because of it. Like most Western companies doing business in China, we're just doing business and there are no extenuating circumstances. Google, the giant search engine, cannot say the same.

China is an economic giant warming up to the power of the Internet, but this hasn't been a perfect marriage so far. Centralized power and the decentralized nature of the Internet do not mesh well. Beijing feels compelled to exercise tight control over whatever flow of information they can in order to stifle potential dissent within Chinese society. A governmental missive from 2000 states plainly that Internet providers must restrict information that may "harm the dignity and interests of the state". And it is into the centrally run, Communist waters that Google waded into last week as they introduced their localized Chinese search engine, was already available to Internet users in China, but the search engine launched with the purpose of staying competitive in the market, as China already has some big search engines of their own, Baidu specifically. But there is a price to pay. In a stance wholly contradictory to its stated purpose Google must censor websites that the Chinese government finds threatening. Just a few of these sites deemed not kosher include:,,,,,,, and So, in addition to sites deemed critical to Beijing, websites concerning sëx, alcohol, and controversial issues are forbidden on, as well.

Now consider an excerpt from Google's IPO filing that reads: "Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served - as shareholders and in all other ways - by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company."

Google's foray into China is directly contradicting their exuberant IPO statement. Perhaps they took idealism a little too seriously, but that's forgivable. To date, none of Google's actions have really amounted to anything more than wearing some egg on their face. But Google isn't just any old company hawking its products. These are historic times for the Mountain View, CA bunch, and over the next few years their presence in China will amount to much more than a search engine that censored for the Communist government there.

If nothing else, the last two or three years have shown us the inherent strength of the search engine - and none more than Google. And I believe that an unintended consequence of Google's controversial stance in China has an awareness increase of just how influential search results can be. Comparisons of "Tiananmen" searches are illustrating this. Several blogs are showing split screen stills of keyword results using "Tiananmen" on Google Images. shows picture after picture of a lovely park, while shows a screen full of those infamous images of a lone protestor in front of menacing tanks. Just one example of real time censorship is being beamed live over the internet, brought to you by Google. It makes for unintentional and terrible publicity for Google. Oddly timed, too, considering Google's righteous defense here in the United States against government intrusion into their own affairs.

From a business perspective Google's position is sound and totally understandable. They knew they were in for a lump or two for caving to Beijing. They said that providing some information is better than providing none at all. In their own defense, Google cited that less than 2% of websites were to be censored on - a mere pittance - yet this is the same company that derided Yahoo for having as little as 1% of their index as paid inclusion. Then it was about principle. Now it's about business. Principle, not surprisingly, can go take a hike.

I repeat, Google's position is not wrong. It's almost silly to envision a leading global company that can maintain preeminence while staying true to a lofty (and now meaningless) definition of "Do No Evil". But in a darkly ironic twist, Google may someday find themselves in situations of flat out "We Do Evil Right".

A benefit of search is privacy and Google backs user privacy to the hilt here in the United States. Think of what privacy means to users - people can seek help for alcohol and drug problems without fear of ostracism, they can test the job market without making waves, ask questïons they may feel embarrassed asking someone they know - all anonymously. Maybe we take this for granted, but this is a powerful and useful asset for us.

Could anyone actually believe that Google will protect Chinese Internet users if the powers in Beijing started making demands for private search information on Chinese searches? Google has entered China on Beijing's terms, compromised. When issues of ethics arise Google won't have much to say because they are clearly in China for the dough. The power of search, that we see in China, can - and let's be frank, will be used against the people someday. This would make Google, of "Do No Evil" fame - somewhat complicit.

Until some big changes occur in Beijing I foresee much awkwardness for the "Do No Evil" bunch's operation in China. Simply put, the Party Leaders in Beijing have Google over a barrel - I suppose that means selling out. If they cared only about profïts, this article might not have even been written. But this is Google. And their product is a powerful tool and they've already yielded it to some very powerful folks in Beijing. This time it was to prevent the Chinese people from accessing certain information. As this tool of search continues to refine and become powerful, it's tough to say what Google will be asked for. Perhaps Google will be coerced into giving up the identities of their own users in China. It is anything but a farfetched scenario. Is hypocrisy in big business expected? Sure, to some degree. But this is dangerous hypocrisy.

Joseph Pratt
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* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost being; you knit me
together in my mother's womb. I praise
you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know
that full well. My frame was not hidden
from you when I was made in the secret
place. When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body. All the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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