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Google Helping Thai Government Censor

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Google has agreed to help Thailand block parts of YouTube as an alternative to the entire site being unavailable in the country due to government outrage over clips which were deemed defamatory of its king. The site will be available to Thais, minus any offensive content.

Communications Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom said that Google’s Andrew McLaughlin assured him the company could “block certain pages not to be seen in Thailand,” according to Reuters. “It will be a few days before we lift the ban on the entire site.”

Reverent clips about the king can still be found, including this clip which reportedly runs before movie screenings in Thailand. But neither development — the Thai government going after critics online, or Google helping governments censor within their own boundaries — is surprising.

After a coup last fall, Thailand’s military-installed government has been working to silence opposition groups.

Google was widely derided for what what was interpreted to be a change of heart on its “Don’t Be Evil” pledge when the company agreed to provide a censored version of their search within China. Google’s board recently declined to recommend a shareholder proposal to bar the company from censoring search results and storing personally identifying data.

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