Security Secretary Chris Tang vows to ‘correct’ Google’s search results in order to ensure the right tune appears when people look for Hong Kong’s anthem. He says the company’s refusal to change the results hurts Hong Kong people’s feelings and is ‘unacceptable and unbelievable’.
Does he realize that the more he makes a public fuss about this, the more people will probably – out of curiosity – visit and link to sites containing the wrong anthem, thus strengthening the algorithm’s ‘wrong’ results? Does he think Google is like a public library that can be ordered to remove Joshua Wong books from its shelves? Does he know that anyone can use Google or other means to find thousands of flags, banners, articles, memes and other materials that he would consider subversive online?
The Hong Kong government has three options. One would be to calm down and live with it. Another would be to put paid ads on Google (which he mentions). The third is to ban Google, or indeed all unacceptable websites, via a Mainland-style firewall – though of course that would only have effect within Hong Kong. (Exciting fourth and fifth options from the Standard: an IT society boss suggests that the government sue Google, while lawmaker ‘Dr’ Elizabeth Quat proposes that the police ‘step up online patrols’.)