The motto of Google is "Don't Be Evil". Its pretty easy to say something like this, but much harder to live up to. In the corporate world any action is moral if it benefits the share holders. So it is with not some inconsiderable astonishment that I find Google putting it's money where it's mouth is and actually acting morally by pulling out of China rather than continue to censor their search results.
This will most certainly hurt Google. Already all kinds of deals they have done inside China have fallen apart. The Chinese Government is going to make sure Google pay for their opposition to the demands of the Chinese Government.
In the words of Joe Biden, "This is a fucking big deal". Google have taken a stand against censorship and stood firmly on the side of free speech. They have decided that making money from helping the Chinese Government control it's people was immoral, and that they could not continue.
I know the decision was not that straight forward. It also involved secret organisations hacking into the accounts of Chinese people who are pro democracy and free speech. More than anything this shows how much Google was prepared to give up in order to highlight the plight of the Chinese people, even in a increasingly modern technological society.
Google must be applauded for it's brave stance against censorship and dictatorship. They stand as an example of an organisation among very few that have a functioning moral compass.
No company is perfect, and there has been some legitimate concern that Google is getting too powerful, and that they control which content people see. They are increasingly the hub of our day. There is a danger that they may misuse this power. That said I have seen no other company actually walk the walk like Google. If any company can be ethical it will be Google.
Google are of course strident supporters of open source. They may not open everything, but they do provide resources to the community that they are in no way obligated to provide. Android alone has been commitment that while to a large extent is self interested need not have supported open source adoption in anything like the way they have.
So my message is simple. Let us congratulate and applaud Google for taking the moral path. Let us stand by them and oppose those who seek to dominate and control through censorship and repression.