Google’s ccTLD Policy – Protect Your Blogging Rights
As a blogger I was very disturbed to read about Google’s new policy concerning website, and more specifically blog, content. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Google has been very quietly rolling out a new policy forcing Blogger users to be redirected to a country-code-top-level-domain (ccTLD). So what does that mean for the average person on Blogger? It means your blog may be directed to the specific country and state in which your ISP resides. According to Google this will not increase censorship, but decrease it. Okay… Their reasoning is instead of forcing a blogger to remove content from their site, they can just block the offending content in certain countries and states.
In other words if you write something on your blog that offends someone in a government, here in the US or abroad, Google has the power to take your content off of the server for that area. And here’s the kicker, you don’t even have to give your permission, nor do you have an easy way to prevent Google from doing this. I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but this is a clear violation of our First Amendment rights. The First Amendment is one of the basic foundations of the US constitution, and without free speech will are not truly free. Bills like SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA threaten to take away our privacy, and now Google’s new policy threatens our internet rights even more.
According to the Google Support website, the reason for this new policy is “We are doing this to provide more support for managing content locally…” Okay so this may sound good on the surface, but if you think about it further you will see how this local content management opens up an entire new realm of censorship. And one of the most disturbing areas of this new policy is how it is being rolled out slowly and quietly. Blogger users will just one day see a country specific URL for their blogs.
Google does offer bloggers an option to add a “no country direct” tag to their URL. This will prevent a specific country URL from being assigned to a post, but seriously how many average Blogger users will do this? Since its founding the internet has become a portal for free information and a place for people to freely express themselves. If you care about your freedom of speech, I urge you to research Google’s new policy and keep abreast of new policies similar to Google’s.