Unusual for Google, there’s no birthday cake or symbol of any sort on its home page to suggest that Google’s reached its 10th birthday today.
Ten, eh? Normally this is the point where we say, ‘my, hasn’t time gone quickly?’ But on this occasion, I can honestly say that I can’t actually remember a time when I didn’t have Google at my fingertips… I mean, really what did we do when we wanted to find ‘campsites in Yosemite Valley’ for example?
It’s true that Google has changed the face of how we conduct research and digest news. But in some countries Google has actually betrayed its own principle of having commitment to freedom of expression and information.
Take Google in China for example. Google appears to be colluding with the Chinese authorities and is filtering Internet searches on their censored search engine, Google.cn. So when you search for certain terms on Google.cn, some results – which web users in the UK could see – will not appear. Try human rights, Tibet, democracy and Tiananmen Square for example, and you’ll draw a blank. But Google has never revealed which terms are filtered.
As Google hurtles into double digits, I think they should set a new target – to be transparent about what the Chinese authorities are demanding of them, and to stand up for what they say they believe in, by challenging any government demands that abuse people's human rights.
You may or may not know that Google owns the equally famous YouTube which has re-defined ‘citizen journalism’.
A couple of days ago I watched a shocking piece of footage, quite literally. There are scenes of two British squaddies shocking each other with a piece of torture equipment… for fun!
The soldiers seem to think it’s a Taser, but our arms gurus have told us that this isn’t quite a Taser – but a piece of electro-shock equipment which is actually illegal to sell in the UK. Have a look at the footage at Amnesty’s new protect the human hub.
The Daily Mail Online was the first to run this story yesterday and telegraph.co.uk swiftly picked it up as well. A bit worrying that our soldiers are able to get hold of illegal torture equipment so quickly.
Well I hope you have a nice weekend! But before we complain about the awful weather, let's spare a thought for those recovering from the anger of Hanna in Haiti. And infuriated Ike is closely on her heels…. Worrying really.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.