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In a statement given to the BBC on Friday, Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said: “We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries. “In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.”
The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed Google’s decision.
“This is a step in the right direction, a timely step and one that encourages others to join in and give the right definition and name for Palestine instead of Palestinian territories,” Dr Sabri Saidam, advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the BBC.”Most of the traffic that happens now happens in the virtual world and this means putting Palestine on the virtual map as well as on the geographic maps,” he added.
Agree this is a bigger deal than it would immediately appear…for Palestinians especially. The Google Maps folks aren’t yet on the same page:
United Nations Stories December 3, 2012
Father of the Internet and Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf took to the company’s Public Policy Blog today to urge people to join the freeandopenweb.com petition hours before a closed-door meeting with governments and the International Telecommunication Union in Dubai. Google launched the Free and Open Web campaign in response to what it called the ITU and governments attempts to “further regulate the internet.” As noted by Cerf in the post, the ITU is holding a conference in Dubai from Dec. 3 to Dec. 14 that would “revise a decades-old treaty, in which only governments have a vote.” Late last week, Cerf outlined some of the topics rumored to be discussed at the meetings:
Some of these governments are trying to use a closed-door meeting of The International Telecommunication Union that opens on December 3 in Dubai to further their repressive agendas. Accustomed to media control, these governments fear losing it to the open internet. They worry about the spread of unwanted ideas. They are angry that people might use the internet to criticize their governments. expand full story
United Nations Stories June 8, 2012