Jan 12 2010

Brav[e|o] Google.cn

Published by at 11:35 pm under Censorship,China internet

In what may be the most significant news posted to this blog in a long time, the Official Google Blog reports that Google will be working with the PRC government to deliver an unfiltered google.cn to users in the PRC.  If an agreement with the PRC government cannot be reached, google.cn may suspend operations.  From the blog post:

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.

This move is in response to an internal Google investigation that revealed widespread targeting and surveillance of human rights activists with interests in the PRC.  The blog indicates that there are two distinctly different problems that were uncovered.  One involved the compromise of internal Google intellectual property and the other involved the accessing of gmail accounts by unauthorized third parties.

…we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties.

Google believes that the sophisticated attacks that resulted in the internal compromise of Google information have also hit more than 20 other organizations.

So what does this mean?  It is difficult to say at this point.  Perhaps it will draw attention to the censorship issue as well as the widespread hacking frequently attributed to the PRC government.  I think it will be unlikely that google.cn will be allowed to operate in the PRC without filtering its search results.  This may mean that google.cn will cease to exist or that it is operated outside of the PRC where it will probably get GFW’d.  Either way, Baidu wins.

It would be very cool if others (yahoo!, microsoft) follow suit.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Brav[e|o] Google.cn”

  1. BeatUpPrideon 13 Jan 2010 at 12:35 am

    I would say CCP will not change any of their policy no matter what Google does. My hats down for Google’s statement(Is that official?) but with or without out Google+Microsoft+Yahoo’s, CCP wouldn’t change.

  2. jumperon 13 Jan 2010 at 10:48 am

    @BeatUpPride – Agreed. Can’t wait to see what happens next. Hopefully, we will get more information from the other 20 or so organizations that were hit with this problem. It would also be nice if some technical information such as call-back domains or other indicators could be shared.

  3. CBRP1R8on 13 Jan 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Another good question would be, has china made out in other ways on this issue…i.e. has baidu gotten enough recon out of google to be able to mimic them or was specific technology stolen by the PRC that would allow baidu to expand its service to its own users giving them now a technological advantage (of googles making) and without the research costs….

    This seems to be a pretty standard practice nowadays when it comes to the PRC and their dealings with western companies..

  4. jumperon 13 Jan 2010 at 11:18 pm

    @CBRP1R8 – I think Baidu is already a counterfeit google anyway.

    Why spend the money to innovate when you can just rip everything off?

  5. thePullon 15 Jan 2010 at 12:15 am

    I am totally excited by this. Finally Google comes to their senses. What is their company’s self-righteous slogan again? I forget because it was always so blatantly hypocritical because of their china stance.

    Google is naive, as are these other companies. This was an attack which was *caught*. How do they know there have not been successful attacks before or even current which were not caught??

    China’s strategies here in hacking companies, especially foreign ones, and governments is very short sighted. I do not see it as typical Chinese thinking at all. It is completely counter-productive to their own nation’s best interests.

    The same holds true with their continuing work at censorship.

    Taking steps towards freeing up their country has been what has enabled their country to finally have competitive, international success of some measure.

    It is not that China is incapable of competing. It is that they hold themselves back by willfully keeping corruption. That sort of corruption is not good. It is corruption. Bad thing. *Think, people*.

    Nobody wants to be enemies.

  6. thePullon 15 Jan 2010 at 12:48 am

    I think on what it means is it is chipping away at the problem. Both China’s reactions (which are clearly bad, people are not stupid, they know their left hand from their right) hurt them and ultimately only reverse back on them. Exposure hurts China.

    Think of China like a business with a lot of companies under them. China is that way, in a sense, and they keep telling countries of their world and businesses, customers, “Hey, we are untrustworthy, we are shady, if we get a chance, we will stab you in the back”.

    Hello? India?

    China has to stay competitive for their own survival. If Nabisco or Pepsi-Cola was caught in such a scandal, would that help them or hurt them?

    That China will continue to do this… sure. But it is more pressure on them to stop. Pressure builds. Like a cooker.

    Further, their own people do see this sort of behavior. They are not dumb. There are surely many, if not all, who know it is bad and want a better system of government. Historically, such people have led change in totalitarian or otherwise backwards governments… and historically, they have woken up from just such exposures, wake up calls.

    Nabisco, Pepsi, whoever does such a thing they have to stop. The law would be on them. Customers would boycott. China is different. “Above the law” or so they think.

    China is literally giving any possible competitor in any of their markets an edge by engaging in this insanity.

    Think about it.

    Anyway, seriously. Hacking human rights people? What is that? I guess they can say, “Oh everybody does it, so we can do it too”. But do they? Might that not be paranoid, delusional self-justifications. I tell my kids, “Don’t think like that”. I am proud to have such wisdom. It is something that makes a man.

    Isn’t that of value?

    As for unfair criticism… does it hurt western nations? If the critics are peaceful and genuinely not advocating violence, or gee whiz, something like hacking one’s “enemies”, so what? If their arguments are without merit, some may be fooled, some of the time. If they are valid though — and isn’t that what really scares those hardliners? Valid criticisms? Truth?

    Why else do totalitarian nations censor and free nations do not? Because of truth and its’ power. Same with a cult or any delusional system that wants to control people, where people give up their control.

    People should no longer give up their minds, their hearts to people worse then them. This is the twentieth first century. Learn from our mistakes, for once.

    Maybe it is because the Chinese have not made the same mistakes we have here in the West they do these things? If so, that is sad. We have made mistakes, we have with hard work and a lot of blood corrected them, and we are moving on.

    It would be nice if China would clean up their act and join us — as I think the very vast majority of their people already do.