When Twitter announced they were instituting a new censorship policy, the micro-blogging platform faced an immediate and severe backlash from the majority of the web community. Now, as a result of a previously announced change to the Blogger platform that was initially announced on January 9th, the Blogger platform has also come under scrutiny. The change, which deploys a country-specific URL to the Blogger platform, will allow Google to censor and remove content on a country-by-country basis similar to the new Twitter policy.
When required by local laws and regulations, Google has said they will remove content in a manner that impacts the smallest number of potential readers. The Google Blogger site says the following of the new change:
“Migrating to localized domains will allow us to continue promoting free expression and responsible publishing while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests pursuant to local law. By utilizing ccTLDs, content removals can be managed on a per country basis, which will limit their impact to the smallest number of readers.”
The changes, which are already live in India, Australia, and New Zealand, enable Google to easily remove content on a per-country basis by redirecting users to an address that utilizes a country-code top level domain. For example, if a U.S. blog’s address is http://name.blogspot.com and a user with an India-based IP attempts to visit the blog, Google will send the user to http://name.blogspot.in. However, if the blog’s readers would prefer to reach the U.S. (non-censored) version of the site, they can add “ncr/,” which stands for “No Country Redirect” to the end of the URL (i.e. http://name.blogspot.com/ncr/) and the user will no longer be served the country-specific (potentially censored) version of the blog.
The new Blogger policy does not currently affect blogs that use the custom domain feature.
Do you feel that the new Blogger policy is necessary to maintain the continued free flow of information while simultaneously complying with local regulations?
[Sources Include: Mashable, Economic Times, & Google Blogger]