War Against The West – Google China Situation

Here is a round up of some of the facts being reported around the web.  Obviously to me this is a war against the west.

Google has gone above and beyond the call of duty to comply with the China marketplace requirements.  The China government is way out of bounds because its policies are too repressive and intrusive to for a modern society.

Many good posts EFF on un-censoring China, James Fallows Atlantic Monthly, Google’s official statement, and US response from our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Google China Situation

Google said Tuesday the company and at least 20 others were victims of a highly sophisticated and targeted attack originating in China in mid-December, evidently to gain access to the e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective, according to a statement by David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer for Google, operator of the most popular Internet search engine. Drummond said that as a result of the attacks, Google has decided it is no longer willing to consider censorship of its Google site in China and may have to shut down its site and its offices in that nation.

If Google does leave, it would be an unusual rebuke of China by one of the largest and most admired technology companies, which had for years coveted the country s 300 million Web users. Google said it would try to negotiate a new arrangement to provide uncensored results on its search site, google.cn. But that is highly unlikely in a country that has the most sweeping Web filtering system in the world. Google said it would otherwise cease to run google.cn and would consider shutting its offices in China, where it employs about 700 people, many of them well-paid software engineers, and has an estimated $300 million a year in revenue.

Google launched the Google.cn search engine in January 2006 and the company was criticized for censoring results in accordance with the Chinese Government s wishes.Google launched the Google.cn search engine in January 2006 and the company was criticized for censoring results in accordance with the Chinese Government’s wishes. David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer states: “Google’s decision to concede to China’s demands on censorship in 2006 led to accusations it had betrayed its company motto – don’t be evil – but Google argued it would be more damaging for civil liberties if it pulled out of China entirely.”

Google’s declaration that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in the country ricocheted around the world Wednesday.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

Although Google has been careful to avoid any finger-pointing at the Chinese authorities, they have released details about the attacks on their official blog where Google issued a statement noting that it was among some 20 companies attacked by the China-based hackers. The hackers tried to access the Gmail e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists but only managed to access two unidentified accounts.

While the scope of the hacking and the motivations and identities of the hackers remained uncertain, Google’s response amounted to an unambiguous repudiation of its five-year courtship of the Chinese market, which most major multinational companies consider crucial to growth. It is also likely to enrage the Chinese authorities, who deny that they censor the Internet and are accustomed to having major foreign companies adapt their practices to Chinese norms.

If news of Google s threat to quit China was largely muffled, there was some back-and-forth on message boards and a torrent of Twitter commentary accessible only to those able to circumvent the Great Firewall. Unlike ordinary viruses that are released into cyberspace and quickly spread from computer to computer, the type of attack launched against Google and at least 20 other companies were likely handcrafted uniquely for each targeted organization.

“We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China,” Drummond’s statement reads.

Update: The Wall Street Journal has a good post by Rebbecca MacKinnon called “Google Gets On the Right Side of History”

The Chinese people may learn more about some of the conversations that have taken place over the past decade between Internet company executives and Chinese authorities. When that happens, they will know who sold them out and who was most eager to help the Chinese Communist Party in building a blinkered cocoon of disinformation around their lives—and in some cases deaths.

This censored environment makes it easier for the Chinese government to lie to its people, steal from them, turn a blind eye when they are poisoned with tainted foodstuffs, and cover up their children’s deaths due to substandard building codes. It is a constant struggle, and sometimes literally a crime, for people to share information about such matters or to use the Internet to mobilize against corruption and malfeasance.

See Our Other Coverage Today on Google and China

War Against The West – Google China Situation
Google Pulls a Conan O’Brien, Would Rather Close Down Search than Censor
Google is Right: China is Not a Developing Country
So We’re All Supposed to Believe Google Finally Developed a Conscience? [The Dissenting Opinion]

About John Furrier

Founder and CEO of SiliconAngle.com.