Google challenges Kazhakstan over open internet

Google has challenged an attempt by the Kazakhstani government to put boundaries around the open internet.

Kazakh authorities ordered all .kz domain names to operate on servers physically within Kazakhstan itself, based on a ruling by the country's Ministry of Communications and Information. This included Google's portal for Kazakhstan, google.kz.

Google did not take kindly to this approach, which it believes will impact on privacy and free expression. It said that if it were to build servers in Kazakhstan it would be helping to create a fractured internet.

In open defiance of the Kazakhstani request, Google will now redirect users from google.kz to google.com instead, a move it similarly did with its Chinese website last year.

The problem for Kazakhstani users is that the search will no longer be customised for their country. In effect, it marks an almost complete withdrawal from Khazakstan, offering them access to its international search engine alone.

“Measures that force Internet companies to choose between taking actions that harm the open web, or reducing the quality of their services, hurt users,” said Bill Coughran, Google's SVP of research & systems infrastructure. “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."

Very nice!