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Google Hacked and No Longer Willing to Censor Results in China
After hack of email accounts apparently by the govt.
physics




msg:4059450
 11:30 pm on Jan 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

The hack was reportedly highly sophisticated and targeted at Chinese human rights activists.

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered ... have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn ... We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

(emphasis mine)

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/ [googleblog.blogspot.com]

Wow.
My question is: Did Google not know what they were getting into when they got involved with the Chinese government in the first place?

[edited by: tedster at 1:05 am (utc) on Jan. 13, 2010]
[edit reason] switch to permalink [/edit]

 

encyclo




msg:4059486
 12:34 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google 'may end China operations over Gmail breaches' [news.bbc.co.uk]
Internet search company Google says it may end operations in China over alleged breaches of the e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. (...) "If, as seems likely, the government refuses to allow it to operate an uncensored service, then Google will pull out. "That will leave other overseas web companies operating in China with difficult decisions to make"

Huge news - although diehard Google detractors may criticize the decision as being a ploy to put pressure on Google's US-based competitors who continue to operate and show censored search operations in China, this is a significant decision that cannot be explained away with pure business reasons alone.

Kudos to Google for this brave decision in support of human rights.

whoisgregg




msg:4059503
 12:57 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

This basically boils down to "we were willing to play along with the Chinese government until they decided to take what they wanted by force."

It doesn't surprise me it has turned out this way and I'm glad Google isn't turning a blind eye to it.

encyclo




msg:4059520
 1:15 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

"we were willing to play along with the Chinese government until they decided to take what they wanted by force."

The Chinese government imposes strict censorship laws on search companies which severely limit free speech, yet that same government engages in (or at least supports or profits from) the hacking of those same search companies in total disregard for international and US law. Why should Google respect Chinese laws if the Chinese government ignores US law?

Montresor




msg:4059532
 1:35 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Anyone remember that woman who married the cop whose first wife died under suspicious circumstances? This is exactly like that. If a guy has a history of wife-beating, should the bride be surprised when the guy backhands them after the honeymoon? You hear about this all the time.

Larry, Sergey, and Schmidt: Enjoy your black eyes. It's for the best if it sobers you up from your know-it-all arrogance.

j0chen




msg:4059496
 12:53 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)


System: The following message was spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/asia_pacific_search_engines/4059494.htm [webmasterworld.com] by bill - 10:40 am on Jan. 13, 2010 <small>(jst +9)</small>


[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

"These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China."

[edited by: bill at 1:59 am (utc) on Jan. 13, 2010]
[edit reason] linked to permalink [/edit]

johnnie




msg:4059555
 2:02 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Way to go, Google!

bill




msg:4059558
 2:07 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld j0chen. Some of our members noticed that around the same time.

This comes shortly after Kai-Fu Lee leaving the President position at Google China [webmasterworld.com] and Baidu making impressive moves in the market. I hope this isn't a face-saving way for Google to back out of a market where they are not dominant.

encyclo




msg:4059561
 2:10 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Reuters is making links between Google's move and to-be-announced new US government policies on internet censorship:

U.S., Google take hard line on China Web censorship [reuters.com]

Jan 12 (Reuters) - The United States and Google Inc separately said they would move against Chinese Internet censorship, possibly signaling the start of a harder line toward China by U.S. President Barack Obama and the end of Google's business in the country.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to help citizens in other countries, including China, get uncensored access to the Internet, and last week she met top executives from companies including Google, Microsoft Corp, Twitter and Cisco Systems Inc (...) Clinton will unveil the tech policy initiative on "Internet freedom" on Jan. 21.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, responding to the Google move, said every nation should criminalize malicious activities on computer networks.

"I defer to Google for details of its decision. Google was in contact with us prior to the announcement. Every nation has an obligation, regardless of the origin of malicious cyber activities, to keep its part of the network secure. That includes China," Crowley said.

J_RaD




msg:4059564
 2:15 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)


Baidu making impressive moves in the market. I hope this isn't a face-saving way for Google to back out of a market where they are not dominant.

whoops i was just posting this!

bill




msg:4059567
 2:21 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

When I first heard this I immediately saw the huge red herring potential. Google has relatively little to lose in China, so it's not going to impact their bottom line to the extent that pulling out of another more established market might. It would be very easy for them to go along with this censorship line and claim they had no other recourse.

frontpage




msg:4059570
 2:29 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google Execs knew they were getting into bed with an oppressive government and now they are pulling back.

I believe Larry Page and Sergie Brin are probably thinking, 'yeah, maybe our business dealings with Hilter or Stalin or Mao won't looks so good in history books in the future.' in respect to selling their soul to Communist China for profits.

encyclo




msg:4059576
 2:37 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google has relatively little to lose in China

... apart from the long-term potential that comes from a billion-plus population in a country with a technology and wealth boom, maybe? They went from nowhere to more than 25% of the market in four years against strong competition from Baidu, which was always the Chinese government's preferred company. Google's progress in that market was significant.

More like that Google has nothing to lose because they can't hope to run a successful business while catering to the whims of a corrupt, totalitarian government whose attempts to censor and control include state-sponsored criminal activity aimed at Google's core systems.

Hyponeros




msg:4059587
 2:46 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why should Google respect Chinese laws if the Chinese government ignores US law?

This is a typical American view. There is absolutely no reason why any government (besides the US government) should respect US laws! If someone wants to make business in the US than he has to respect US law. If someone wants to make business in Nepal he has to respect Nepalese law. If someone wants to make business in China, he has to respect Chinese law! If we follow what you say then Dutch people can come to the US and start selling Cannabis! Why not? It is legal in Holland, why should the American government not respect Dutch law?

I don't think that there is any law in China against censorship, is there?

Now that China censors internet is another issue and if Google doesn't like then he should go or not even start doing his business there!

This event proved 2 things:
-China doesn't care about basic human rights (what a surprise)!
-Google is not that powerful that he can impose his will to a government!

encyclo




msg:4059601
 2:54 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

There is absolutely no reason why any government (...) should respect US laws!

There most certainly is when that government is hacking into servers owned by a US company on US territory.

bill




msg:4059603
 2:57 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

The market size of China is undeniably large, but Google was losing on the mind-share front. Every time I was in China or would talk to Chinese people about search engines Google was not the engine of choice. Baidu was the front-runner. And that's not just because of nationalism, Google's SERPs in China were noticeably inferior to what Baidu offered for many queries I personally tried.

Granted, Google was initially hamstrung by the government of China for quite some time. Frequently inaccessible due to the Great Firewall, Google gained a reputation for poor reliability. That was when Baidu first took off.

Whether China's government is any more corrupt than any other government is certainly open to debate. Their censorship rules may not jive with a 'free' society, but it has arguably helped keep order among a billion + people. That order and focus is partially responsible for China's rising status/economy.

Hyponeros




msg:4059605
 3:05 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

There is absolutely no reason why any government (...) should respect US laws!

There most certainly is when that government is hacking into servers owned by a US company on US territory.

Great! Welcome to the world! The CIA would never do such things, would they?

frontpage




msg:4059607
 3:07 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is a typical American view.

That is the typical non-American view in respect to international laws as China is one of the largest violators of international trademarks, software piracy, and intellectual property infringement.

You really can't some one or a country serious if they blatantly steal from you.

Hell, the Chinese were selling ads for pirated versions of Windows on Baidu.

[online.wsj.com...]

Hyponeros




msg:4059615
 3:37 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

The stealing is another issue!

Fact is that every government spies on every government and USA is not an example of good behavior or "ethical" behavior!

Google believed they were above governments and they were proven wrong! Are they really so surprised of what the Chinese government did? Yes? Then they are very naive!

carguy84




msg:4059618
 3:53 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google, Microsoft Corp, Twitter and Cisco Systems Inc

One of these things, not like the other ones...

vincevincevince




msg:4059634
 5:11 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

This all comes of pledging to "do no evil" without defining the external measure against which the evilness of an action can be measured.

gomer




msg:4059649
 5:59 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Way too late Google. So now you can't trust that government but the people of China were supposed to trust censored results when it was good for Google?

Shame on you Google.

graeme_p




msg:4059650
 6:06 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

That is the typical non-American view in respect to international laws as China is one of the largest violators of international trademarks, software piracy, and intellectual property infringement.

So what? There is no real international law in this area Unlike, for example, with regard to war - now lets see who has been breaking that recently?). There are some treaties that are the result of US pressure and lobbying (Sonny Bono copyright term extension act, software patents, etc for example) that put corporate profits before the interests of the people the governments are supposed to serve.

Breach of copyright or patents is not theft, it is a breach of a government granted monopoly - a very free market thing to do.

zett




msg:4059655
 6:15 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

A good move...

...yet...

here's what Google's Eric Schmidt said back in April 2006 when they were defending their engagement and censorship in China:

"The number one goal, by far, is to serve the Chinese citizen who wants information."

"We at Google have a mission to serve all the people in the world."

"We have made commitments to the Chinese government that we absolutely follow Chinese law."

"We don't have an alternative."

and

"There are many cases where certain information is not allowed by law or by custom, and we've made a decision that we have to respect the local law and local custom. [...] It's not an option for us to broadly make available information that is illegal, inappropriate, immoral or what have you."

Soooo, despite what critics said to Google back then, it took them almost four years to realize what they were doing? (This is strange.)

What amazes me is that they -back then- argued that they were just complying with the individual laws of a country. I bet that the legal situation in China has not changed one bit. Maybe the "attacks" were even in line with Chinese laws (with the attackers coming from a Chinese government agency?).

Google again has shown that noone can trust them (not even the Chinese regime in exchange for access to one of the most important future markets).

Also, I sense that there must be more behind this decision. Google is driven by financials. Probably they did not earn the market share and revenues they expected?

Withdrawing from China may affect their company value massively as growth potential is now seriously limited. Probably they should rewrite their mission statement as they can not serve China and the Chinese any longer.

This affects their business probably in more ways than just search. I guess that if they part with the Chinese government (who will most likely not stop censorship because of Google), anything Google will be banned from China. Device manufacturers that embed Google products (on laptops or handsets) may be forced to remove this software before being allowed for sale in China.

Thus, IF they part, it will be massive.

If they DO NOT part and keep censoring, it was all just a PR stunt from MV.

loudspeaker




msg:4059657
 6:22 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Am I the only person who is utterly confused by this? So, after attacks on Gmail, they suddenly wake up and express the burning desire to run differently.. their search engine? What does it even have to do with the security incident? How is it going to stop the attacks?

I admit I have no idea what's going on here, and my guess is only as good (or as bad) as the next guy's, but it sounds like they're using the gmail snafu as an excuse to make a strategic move that was considered for a long time. Quite possibly, one related to aligning themselves more closely with the US government and its security agencies. Or perhaps just to show the government "whose side they are on".

bill




msg:4059658
 6:23 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Adobe is now also claiming to have been a target of this hack: Adobe Investigates Corporate Network Security Issue [blogs.adobe.com]



Despite all the claims and insinuations that these hacks were somehow sanctioned by the Chinese government, I haven't yet seen any direct evidence of this in any of the articles posted around the net.

physics




msg:4059659
 6:31 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

How about a vote?
If you think this is a legitimate human rights concern only and that Google is willing to walk away from a lucrative market over human rights vote A.

If you think this might be a business decision Google is making to cut their losses and leave or seriously reduce operations in China (where they are not the top dog *cough*Baidu*cough*), using the human rights violations as a great cover story, vote B.

walkman




msg:4059662
 6:38 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wow, just wow! It takes -@lls to walk away from a 1 billion people market. Reminds me of those Western companies that were shocked when Putin Inc confiscated their properties with bogus tax charges. Dangerous area out there.

loudspeaker




msg:4059667
 6:59 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Reminds me of those Western companies that were shocked when Putin Inc confiscated their properties with bogus tax charges.

Would you care to remind me exactly which Western property was confiscated by Putin Inc? It's been a few years already and my memory is a little hazy, but I am an avid reader of the world press and I simply don't think there were any. (Yukos, if you're thinking that, was not a Western company).

Anyway, closer to our topic, Russia is indeed another market where Google is not #1, despite years' worth of efforts. Should we expect something of the same nature there?

zett




msg:4059678
 7:20 am on Jan 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

According to chinainternetwatch.com [chinainternetwatch.com] Google has stopped censoring search results already.

Vote B, but wondering about that Google investment in Baidu (is it still the case that Google is shareholder of Baidu?).

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