Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oh, Thank You Google, Thank You

I was amazed, delighted! Google wanted to hear from me, little nothing-nobody me! Normally, that omniscient entity can be addressed only through physical mail sent to its headquarters in Mountain View, California, but today, Google’s Project 10100 was inviting me to submit “a great idea for helping a lot of people.” Here’s what they asked and what I said:

Your idea’s name (maximum 50 characters):

One World, One Internet

What one sentence best describes your idea? (maximum 150 characters)

So far as it is in our power, give China’s 1 billion people access to uncensored information via the Internet.

Describe your idea in more depth. (maximum 300 words)

Google must foreswear its policy of voluntarily censoring the Internet in China on behalf of the Chinese government. If there is no other alternative, it should cease to do business in China altogether. The impact on world perceptions of corporate responsibility, freedom of speech, and human dignity might be profound.

What problem or issue does your idea address? (maximum 150 words)

Corporate hypocrisy in support of totalitarian government.

If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? (maximum 150 words)

The people of China would benefit at once through a weakening of the Chinese government’s position that censorship is normal and acceptable; ultimately, perhaps, through achieving uncensored access to the Internet.

What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? (maximum 150 words)

Google’s corporate managers can announce the new policy effective immediately.

Describe the optimal outcome should your idea be selected and successfully implemented. How would you measure it? (maximum 150 words)

Optimally, the Chinese government will eventually cease to censor the Internet. The number of Web interactions presently censored by Google and the Chinese government would provide a direct numerical measurement of this ultimate benefit. However, there is no metric that can capture the value of liberty itself.

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