Bloomberg News

Google Says Kazakhstan Internet Rules Impose ‘Borders on Web’

June 07, 2011

June 8 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. said Kazakhstan is trying to “create borders on the Web” by imposing rules on Internet search, a move that may degrade the quality of Web surfing in the Central Asian nation.

Google is redirecting users away from the customized search engine in Kazakhstan after the country’s government required that all queries go through local servers, Mountain View, California-based Google said yesterday in a blog post. Google says it routes searchers to servers around the world to answer requests the fastest way possible.

“If we were to operate Google.kz only via servers located inside Kazakhstan, we would be helping to create a fractured Internet,” Bill Coughran, senior vice president of research and systems infrastructure, wrote in the blog post.

Kazakhstan users will instead be steered toward Google.com, which will mean search results won’t be customized for the country, Google said.

Google has chafed at other countries’ restrictions too. Last year, the company started directing users in China to its Hong Kong service rather than subject itself to government censorship rules.

“We find ourselves in a difficult situation: creating borders on the Web raises important questions for us not only about network efficiency but also about user privacy and free expression,” Coughran said in the post about Kazakhstan.

Google fell $2.03 to $519.03 yesterday in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares had fallen 13 percent this year before today.

--With assistance from Jeran Wittenstein in San Francisco. Editor: Tom Giles

To contact the reporters on this story: Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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