Global search giant Google has again faced challenges to its open policy, this time not from a communist government but from Kazakhstan, a former Soviet member state.
A draconian order that requires all .kz domain names, such as google.kz, to operate on physical servers within the borders of Kazakhstan was issued last month by the country's Ministry of Communications and Information.
It means Google and other search engines will have to route their search queries through the servers located within Kazakhstan, which Google said amounts to restrictions on the freedom of Internet.
If we were to operate google.kz only via servers located inside Kazakhstan, we would be helping to create a fractured Internet. So we have decided to redirect users that visit google.kz to google.com in Kazakh, wrote Bill Coughran, Senior Vice President of Research & Systems Infrastructure, on Google's official blog.
Kazakhstani users will now experience a reduction in search quality, especially in customization of results, said Google in the blog.
Google faced similar restrictions in China last year and moved its servers to Hong Kong to escape similar draconian rules imposed by Beijing. We encourage governments and other stakeholders to work together to preserve an open Internet, which empowers local users, boosts local economies and encourages innovation around the globe, urged Coughran in the blog.
The governments all over the world were afraid that their hold over people may come under pressure if Internet freedom continues unabated. The example of Egypt where social networks played a crucial role in bringing down the Hosni Mubarak regime three months ago was still fresh in their memory. With all the Arab governments under pressure now, even democratic governments are apprehensive that mass mobilization is far easier now than 30 years ago when the Internet was not there.
The choice for many governments world over is apparently limited -- either curb Internet freedom or face daily volatility.