Feb. 1, 2012 at 1:43 PM ET
Google says some blogs on Blogger, its blogging platform, will be blocked on a "per country basis," in order to comply with "removal request" laws of nations where freedom of speech is not cherished or allowed.
The move seems to coincide with Twitter's recent announcement that it will censor tweets, or posts, in various countries at the request of governments, although the Blogger change was posted Jan. 9, but only reported on Tuesday by the website TechDows.
To deal with government censorship, Google said that some blogs may be redirected on the Web to a different "country-code top level domain," or ccTLD. "For example, if you're in Australia and viewing [blogname].blogspot.com, you might be redirected [blogname].blogspot.com.au. A ccTLD, when it appears, corresponds with the country of the reader’s current location."
In a Q&A about the change, Google said:
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. Content removed due to a specific country’s law will only be removed from the relevant ccTLD.
Blog owners "should not see any visible differences to their blog other than the URL redirecting to a ccTLD," Google said.
And, there is a workaround for blog readers, who "may request a specific country version of the blogspot content by entering a specially formatted 'NCR' URL," Google says.
NCR means "No Country Redirect," and "will always display buzz.blogger.com in English, whether you’re in India, Brazil, Honduras, Germany, or anywhere," Google said.
Google has applied such workarounds before. For several years, Google agreed to censor its search results in China, but stopped doing that a few years ago after a dispute with China's government. Google, according to a recent Associated Press story, "now routes its Chinese search results through Hong Kong, where the censorship rules are less restrictive."