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Google Tells Kazakhstan It Won't Help 'Fracture the 'Net'

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 9 2011

Google.kz

Google Inc. is saying that it won't obey a requirement of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Communications to physically host servers serving up its .kz domain within the borders of that central Asian country.

Doing that, says Google, would be an offense to both the borderlessness ideal of the Internet -- and to Google's interest in efficiently routing web traffic.

"If we were to operate google.kz only via servers located inside Kazakhstan," reads a post on the Google Public Policy blog from senior vice president Bill Coughran, "we would be helping to create a fractured Internet." Such a push and pull between nations and those keepers of web infrastructure that's not unfamiliar to Google; see, Google China. And so, Google.kz will now redirect back to the generic Google.com domain.

Interesting story, to be sure. But the details haven't all yet shaken out. For one thing, Kazakstan telecom rules have long required that .kz have some limited presence on in-country servers. That's one of the things that tripped up Borat.kz back in 2005. It seems possible that Google might have been able to satisfy the country's requirements with minimal infrastructure, and are choosing not to.

Perhaps the ministry's rules have changed, though. My Kazakh isn't so strong, and Google Translate isn't proving to be much help.