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Australia Government Lashes Back at Google Over Internet Censorship Criticism

US Gently Chides Australia Too

2 min read

Australia Government Lashes Back at Google Over Internet Censorship Criticism

As I noted last week, Google and others derided Australia government's decision to censor the Internet.

Last night, the Government fired back.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy attacked Google's privacy credentials during an ABC radio interview. As quoted by the Herald, Minister Conroy said:

"Recently the founders of Google have got themselves into a little bit of trouble because notwithstanding their alleged 'do no evil' policy, they recently created something called Buzz, and there was a reaction, and people said well look aren't you publishing private information?"

"[Google CEO Eric] Schmidt said the following: 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place'. This is the founder of Google. He also said recently to Wall Street analysts, 'we love cash', so when people say, shouldn't we just leave it up to the Googles of this world to determine what the filtering policy should be...."

Google expressed surprise that the Minister was attempting to obscure the issue of censoring the Internet by focusing on Google, the Herald said. It also pointed out that CEO Schmidt  wasn't a founder of the company and that his quotes were taken out of context.

The Herald also reported that Minister Conroy hadn't heard that the US government had finally raised concerns about the government's Internet filtering plans. I sincerely believe that, since the US Department of State hasn't exactly trumpeted the news which was barely reported in US news outlets yesterday (it was in Europe and elsewhere, however).

In an AP story yesterday, U.S. State Department spokesman Michael Tran says that the US government indeed had issues with Australia's Internet censoring plans.

Spokesperson Tram is quoted in the AP story as saying, "Our main message of course is that we remain committed to advancing the free flow of information which we view as vital to economic prosperity and preserving open societies globally."

However, the AP also reported that Spokesperson Tran would not say "when or at what level the U.S. State Department raised its concerns with Australia and declined to detail those concerns."

Obviously, the concerns didn't reach the person in the Australian government given the remit to censor the Internet there.

A much different approach than the US took with China and others.

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