Google rejects Kazakhstan demand to set up local server
Google has refused to accede to a demand from the government of Kazakhstan to set up local computer servers to handle local traffic, a senior executive with the US information giant said on Wednesday.
In a blog, Bill Coughran, Senior Vice President for Engineering, said Astana had in May ordered Google to operate its search engine for Kazakhstan from computer servers within the country, DPA reported.
The Kazakh order was in line with a law requiring that all websites ending in the distinctive domain suffix for Kazakhstan .kz be domestically based.
Compliance with the Kazakh order would slow down and in some cases limit information access for people making Google searches, as all their searches would as a matter of course be sent through Kazakh servers first, Coughran said.
Google's Kazakhstan-tailored search engine will stop operating, and Kazakh users wanting to Google something will be sent to the Kazakh-language version of the company's international webpage, he said.
Google has in the past come into conflict with governments sensitive about their citizens' obtaining too much access to information via the internet.
The company in 2010 refused Chinese demands to allow government censorship of Google searches, and last week accused Chinese government hackers of attacking the corporation's servers.
Most states in the former Soviet Union require domain operators to maintain servers in-country. The more authoritarian countries in the region, among them Belarus and Turkmenistan, require server operators to give police unrestricted access to user information.
Kazakhstan has in recent years moved to increase state control over the internet.
However, most computer servers for .kz domain websites are based in neighbouring Russia, according to the Open Net Initiative, an academic group advocating worldwide free web access.