Seth Finkelstein describes how Google self-censorship works. Also, Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School have a paper on Localized Google search result exclusions which is quite interesting.
Four days later, Chinese authorities restored access to the site. How did that happen? For starters, the Chinese government was deluged with outcries from the nation's 46 million Internet users when access to Google was cut off. "Internet users in China are an apolitical crowd," says Xiao Qiang, executive director of New York-based Human Rights In China. "They tend to be people who are doing well, and they don't usually voice strong views. But this stepped into their digital freedom."
The quick workaround: Chinese authorities tweaked the national firewall, making the new Google China different from the site that was turned off. Today, Chinese who use Google to search on terms like "falun gong" or "human rights in china" receive a standard-looking results page. But when they click on any of the results, either their browsers are redirected to a blank or government-approved page, or their computers are blocked from accessing Google for an hour or two. "They have a new mechanism that can block the results of certain searches," Brin says. Did Google help China find or obtain the filtering technology? "We didn't make changes to our servers" is all he'll say.
I can understand from a business perspective why Google would do this, but whenever I bring this up with people they deny it or can't believe it.
Does anyone else have any more information on this?
PS This has nothing to do with trying to hurt Google or their IPO. I've been trying to figure this out for the last few weeks and have reached a dead end in my research so I'm trying to understand more. How companies like this work with governments and how this information is then disclosed is very important.