Google has a long history of helping and obeying governments for benefit. For example, Google planned to help China to censor the internet. Now, there’s a report from Quartz that says Google Maps Street View blurred “fight for freedom” and “democracy” graffiti in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) first reported yesterday two separate instances of graffiti that had been blurred out. One read “[Chinese leader] Xi Jinping must die for the sake of the world,” and another read “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time,” a protest slogan that authorities have since banned under the new national security law. Both spray-painted slogans are revealed if viewed from a distance.
A Google representative told HKFP that the blurring was due to an algorithm error in its automatic blurring technology typically used to obscure faces and vehicle license plates, but did not provide further details. As of today, the two slogans remain blurred.