Google and Iran

Roozbeh, while I can understand your frustration I don’t think its fair to pin this one on Google. I am sure Google’s lawyers are quite good and if they feel that allowing Iranian citizens into the Google SoC program is running afoul with US law then they probably think so with good reason. For Chris DiBona to be able to go to the Google laywers with an opposing view he would need much stronger ammunition than iranian foreign exchange students being unhappy about it and non-laywer reading of the documents in question.

Also in the current US political climate I am not sure Google want to have to fight a potential PR war about wether they are trying to subvert US export regulations or not.

On a related note, was I frustrated when Google didn’t make GStreamer a Summer of Code project? Sure I was. But at the same time I realized of course that its Google’s money and they have the right to spend it exactly how they see fit and give it to whoever they want. Including not giving them to citizens on the US export ban list countries.

In the end Roozbeh you have to face that the US and Iran is not on very good terms. That is neither your or Chris DiBona’s fault, but you both have to deal with it. That might not be ‘fair’, but it is how the world works. Citizens get ‘punished’ and ‘rewarded’ based on the actual or percieved actions of their nation no matter if the citizen in question has any kind of responsibility or influence on the situation or act. Sanctions probably has to work that way or they will be very ineffective.

So while I sympatize with your plight, and I am sure Chris DiBona does too, these blog entries about how evil Google is feels misplaced to me.

6 thoughts on “Google and Iran”

  1. I think you are right BUT :

    “But at the same time I realized of course that its Google’s money and they have the right to spend it exactly how they see fit and give it to whoever they want. Including not giving them to citizens on the US export ban list countries.”

    not here. I’m shocked (a little :) )

    google is not “free” to spend their money as they want here.

    I know it’s a typical american sentence to say “it’s ‘s money and they have right to spend how the see fit”

    but here you speak about a political problems, about people ban or not.

    it’s not only about a _Technological_ project as Gstreamer
    but it’s about _people_

    freedom is different when people are involved. and because it’s Iran and USA it becomes political, and google is not free anymore here

    there are a law, not “freedom”.

    and about the money and “use as I see fit”, please, think about just one second about ethic or moral concerns. in reality, big enterprises or people can not do everything they want without consequences. even with “money”.

    apart of the idealized “its Google’s money and they have the right to spend it exactly how they see fit” (a nice dream)
    it’s totally true it’s misplaced to scream “evil google”.
    google is not of course responsible of the usa or laws or iran or the entire world.

  2. “I am sure Google’s lawyers are quite good and if they feel that allowing Iranian citizens into the Google SoC program is running afoul with US law then they probably think so with good reason.”

    I kinda disagree with this reasoning. Some lawyers are too cautious, some are too brave. Other than `good will` from Google we don’t know what influenced their lawyer’s decision and whether they’re basing it on laws or harsh judgement from congress or anything.

  3. Of course Google can use its money how it sees fit, within the bounds of the law. Given that Google is traded on a US exchange, it would seem to me (IANAL) that US law would be most applicable, especially for operations taking place inside the US.

    As for Google’s lawyers being too cautious, what does Google stand to gain by taking the risk of breaking US law? By being cautious, it has one less country that it can choose applicants from. No offense to Iranian coders, but in just considering the numbers, that would seem fairly insignificant vs. potential litigation Google might face.

    Google is not here to change the world, not unless changing the world benefits its shareholders. Maybe that sucks, but that’s corporate America. If you don’t like the law, complain to the US government, not Google. Be grateful that Google is even putting the money up for these projects. I personally am having a hard time seeing what they have to gain from SoC.

  4. I’m sick and tired of this. Some Iranian whining several days that he happened to be Iranian. Just fucking get over it – you won’t be able to participate and that’s all about it. Stop making fuss that you were not lucky enough to be born in the U.S. or that discrimination exists – of course it does and if you think that it does not, then I’m not sure in which world you live in. Move on.

  5. From my perspective sitting up here in Canada, I think Iranians need to be less concerned with Google’s SOC, and more concerned about the USA “wiping them off the map”. If Iran doesn’t watch it’s step, SOC could soon look like the teeniest of weeniest of USA related problems they have to deal with. Given the current state of the politiking, I’m surprised anyone would expect any different results than this.

  6. “Do no evil” has now become part of the wonderfully open-ended “war against evil(*)[tm]“.

    (*) “evil” as defined by the religious right regime of the USA. People who believe in the mythological Holocaust and who want to be part of it.

    Meanwhile another country which is actively wiping its neighbors off the map, that is China, is given total freedom to commit its totalitarian crimes within and without its borders.

    The Iranian president is of course a nutjob but at least he’s been elected (thanks to US hostility and encirclement causing the Iranian public to circle their wagons!) and Iran isn’t wiping any of its neighbors off the map like China is.

    Are the Chinese wannabe participants in the Google’s SOC also banned? If not, why not? Just because the Bush regime is free to label countries evil (or acceptably criminal) at their irrational whim?

    Ever since Google threw itself into the Chinese pro-regime faux search business they’ve become a parody of their past respectable self.

    The geek community could easily stand up to Google and make their voice of reason to be heard loud and clear but it seems we’re just as lazy and indifferent as the rest of the population what comes to accepting these injustices in our time.

    “First they came first for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

    Then they came for me,
    and by that time no one was left to speak up”

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