Google porn filter gained China's thumbs-up

Google's row over pornographic search results with the Chinese government ended in July

China approved of Google's efforts to filter porn from search results on its China portal following state-led criticism of the links, the former head of Google China said Sunday.

The row with Beijing cooled down in July, after government censors met with Google and revoked a suspension of some features on its site, Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Greater China for Google, wrote on a Chinese blog.

State-run media and a Chinese government watchdog in June slammed Google for allowing pornographic links to appear in search results on, the company's China portal. China also briefly blocked nationwide access to and other Google Web sites and ordered the company to suspend "foreign Web site search services" until the links were removed.

Google changed its search algorithm to filter pornographic results, but it had remained unclear if censors were satisfied. Lee said multiple heads of government bureaus revoked the suspension and praised Google for having a "serious attitude" toward fighting low-brow content.

Lee, who left Google last week, said his move was unrelated to the government row and that he stayed at Google two months longer than he originally planned to handle the affair. Lee will be starting a venture in Beijing that provides angel investment and guidance for young local entrepreneurs, he said on the blog. has long filtered out some results for sensitive searches. The search engine displays a notice that some results have been filtered for search terms such as "Tiananmen," the square in Beijing around which soldiers killed hundreds to disperse a student democracy protest in 1989, or for the names of major political leaders. The search engine currently displays no search results at all for "Xu Zhiyong," the name of a human rights lawyer recently detained for about one month. The results screen says the search "may touch on content that does not conform with the related laws, regulations and policies" and that results cannot be displayed.

A Google spokeswoman asked for comment about the search filtering last month said Google, as a global company, "should strictly comply with local laws, regulations and policies."

Baidu, the dominant Chinese search company and Google's main rival in the country, also filters search results and tells users it has done so for sensitive searches.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglesecurityChinainternet filtering

More about Google

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Owen Fletcher

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts