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Google Maps Shows Crimea As Russian To Russians
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Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2014 | 8:46:47 PM
Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
Google's "mission appears limited to making locally appealing versions of that information locally accessible." Well said. Somehow, technology companies, given a choice between standing up for their core values  versus making headway in a new market, always seem to make the same choice. This is a reminder of how the ethics of technology use is too important to be left up to the technology companies.
Edelwulf
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Edelwulf,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 10:49:49 PM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
There was a consensus. It's called a vote. Move on.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
4/16/2014 | 9:04:48 AM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
Yes there was a vote but if you've been paying any attention this past week you would know that this issue is far from resolved.  Putin is now saying that civil war is going to happen and the fighting is getting more aggressive.  I can't say what Google's place in this should be because as you stated the citizens of Crimea voted to be part of Russia but there seems to be a large group of Ukrainians who disagree.  In cases like this any action by Google could be fuel for the fire so I think they were in a situation of damned if they do, damned if they don't.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
4/16/2014 | 10:46:42 AM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
Yes, 96.77% of Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine. And they used to get similar majorities in national "votes" in Libya and Iraq under the Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein regimes.  
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
4/17/2014 | 7:35:20 AM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
I understand that these "votes" are not what we might expect them to be or that they are anywhere near the dictionary definition of a vote but my point was that Google is not the UN or any kind of world governing body.  They don't have the authority to decide either way if a region has changed hands or not.  The best they can do is give a best guess with regard to how the future is going to turn out in a situation like this.  If they move too slowly to recognize that Crimea has left Ukraine then you've got a lot of angry Russians who are going to be out to prove a point.  If they go ahead and mark it as an independent region you've got angry/scared Ukrainians who are ready to fight.  It's not an easy issue for Google and I think a bit too much responsibility for this issue is being placed on their shoulders.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
4/17/2014 | 9:01:03 AM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
I gotta agree with SaneIT here. Google isn't the UN. It's not in the business of making calls on national sovereignty. It seems to be handling the matter about as well as it can. 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/16/2014 | 7:12:09 PM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
Voting without independent monitoring leads to situations like Vladimir Putin getting 107% of the vote in Chechnya in 2012. 
Edelwulf
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Edelwulf,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2014 | 7:26:41 PM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
Thanks for mentioning voter fraud -- USA-- 2012 and 2008. Again, move on.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
4/16/2014 | 2:21:39 PM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
Albeit on a smaller scale, this incident reminds me of all the problems that Google had with China years ago. At one point, they just decided that enough was enough. Will they do that with Russia? I doubt it.

I don't think that the squabbling has reached that sort of point yet.

But it just shows how Google has to bend its regulations around local laws. They are having issues in Europe right now because the Street View cars are deemed as a privacy intruison.

And there's plenty of other instances where people think Google is going to far. Are they really? That all depends on your viewpoint of how the company's goals match your individual values. 
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/16/2014 | 10:30:28 PM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
Google caved in to China, so who would expect them to stand up to Russia?
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
4/18/2014 | 8:35:10 AM
Re: Ethics of tech use can't be left to technology companies
I'm curious, what were Google's options in China?  As far as I now Google does not have a standing army and if they want to do any kind of business in China then they have to obey the Chinese government's rules.  Not everyone shares our view of what the internet should look like.  Even the UK is filtering traffic by default now.  I think we need to be careful when comparing Google's negotiating power to any country's government negotiating power.
cumulonimbus
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cumulonimbus,
User Rank: Strategist
4/16/2014 | 12:18:09 PM
Russian Federal Mass Media Inspection?
"Last month, the UN condemned Russia's annexation of Crimea and adopted a resolution supporting the territorial integrity of the region."

We should not forget that Putin took out a full page op-ed in the NYT, I quote "We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal." How does that stand up?

There is no level playing field. For a majority of the people of the world there is a real fear of being shot, imprisoned or tortured until they "come around", or perish. Personally, I think we should carry a bigger stick.

Shame on Google!

 

 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/17/2014 | 9:28:09 AM
Re: Russian Federal Mass Media Inspection?
I totally agree with you, @cumulonimbus. The whole situation in Crimea -- all of Ukraine for that matter -- reminds me of the situation in Czechoslovakia when I was a little girl. My dad, a ham radio operator, was chatting via Morse code with a Czech as the Russian tanks rumbled into Prague. The Czech frantically transmitted news of the invasion, calling out to the world for help while Dad replied, helpless from our home in England. Suddenly, the Czech's radio broadcasts stopped, mid-transmission. It was one of the very few times I saw my father cry.
cumulonimbus
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cumulonimbus,
User Rank: Strategist
4/17/2014 | 2:39:58 PM
Re: Russian Federal Mass Media Inspection?
@Alison_Diana. I do not think it is just about Google, but they are a conduit for free speech, as are the other social medias outlets. The US is a relatively young country and got to learn from many of the mistakes the Old World made. In this respect Putin was wrong (at best he is contrdictary, or outright lying).

I understand that business ethics do not always align with the moral view, but I believe that if we do not collectively approach free speech responsibly, and without censorship, we jeapordize everything that the free world stands for.

I am obliged to speak for 100M souls on both sides, who lost their lives in two world wars. Were it not for their sacrifice I would probably not be here. History has shown what appeasement of a madman, who has a defamed populous rallying behiund him, can do.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/18/2014 | 9:24:43 AM
Re: Russian Federal Mass Media Inspection?
It is a tricky area and Google (as well as other businesses) will be scrutinized and, as someone else said earlier, condemned no matter which path they choose. Really, I suppose it's up to Ukranians to decide, not us or an American tech company. But since Google is in the information business they need to include the most current data. No doubt Google execs spent a lot of time in making this decision, one they may have to revisit as the situation warrants. 
cumulonimbus
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cumulonimbus,
User Rank: Strategist
4/18/2014 | 3:39:52 PM
Re: Russian Federal Mass Media Inspection?

I intensely dislike what I see going on in the UK: Bedroom tax, suss laws, and an unrepresentative ruling class. I am curious though, why it should be Google that censors, and if we allow that to happen (we all oil the wheels of the machine), when do we wake up to a knock at the door or the black, antennaed van across the street?

I am not talking NRA or NSA here, just scope creep. If we want to be the ones to have military bases in 157(?) countries do we not need to to be beyond reproach, especially when it comes to such a core value as freedom of speech? I say let us be the ones to present the facts on a best efforts basis, and let the foreign governments do the censorship. People will always find a way to seek the truth, and the free world will ultimately prevail. Being censored (for political reasons) is not a doctrine I believe we should support.

I am sure the execs did have a discussion about many such topics, and that they are being cajoled by foreign "information" bureaus. I am just not on the same page (pun intended).

Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
4/18/2014 | 4:28:33 PM
Re: Russian Federal Mass Media Inspection?
If I ran Google, I wouldn't have been so quick to make this change if, indeed, a change was warranted yet. It seems to have been an act to appease Russia, a much bigger market than Ukraine (with or without Crimea). As we know, the winners write history -- and in this case the "winners" have successfully lobbied to change geography. 
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
4/16/2014 | 2:53:12 PM
No win
Sounds to me like Google is trying to do what they think people want them to do. If they had not changed the maps, they would be getting blasted for that too.


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