* Putting its users above profits
* Stand up to Chinese Government.
Since accounts of human rights activists were targeted, this operation was clearly done at the behest of Chinese Government. I'm disgusted by the levels to which the Chinese Government can stoop.
It is time the world stands up to China. If a corporation, whose main aim is to generate profits can eschew it and take a moral high ground why can't the government do it? Are the cheap goods from china so necessary that it is not worth antagonizing China ?
EDIT: Additional details from Enterprise blog post http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/01/keeping-your-da...
It was an attack on the technology infrastructure of major corporations in sectors as diverse as finance, technology, media, and chemical
This is clearly an act of espionage by the Chinese Government. The bigger questions is whether these are the only companies targeted or the only ones discovered. This is not the first time, the chinese have tried something like this.
The researchers said hackers were apparently able to take control of computers belonging to several foreign ministries and embassies across the world using malicious software
As I mentioned elsewhere, I am sure there is more to the story than is being let on now. I could only imagine the level of corporate espionage that is in play between China and Google. Good for Google calling them on it and making a broad public move.
As far as I'm concerned, Google has just turned me into a lifelong user.
Edit: maybe not that soon. A second thought, current news block may be interpreted as a "saving face" for Google. China high officials may have that kind of thought and think it is for Google's own benefits so that they can still discuss with Chinese gov. Otherwise if it is spread, there is no room for discussion.
My thinking was along these lines: Mr Small Chinese Exporter wakes up tomorrow unable to access his Google Adwords account which is how he connects to foreign importers. He's out of widgets and wants to stop advertising them. He can't even suspend the campaign and they keep charging his credit card. That's bad business. I'm not sure China would want to do that suddenly even if they do plan to eventually block all of Google's stuff.
I took "al' Google service" to mean all the different Google products.
Getting the people of China to willfully abandon Google would be good in the eyes of the Chinese government.
You being critical of Google is the only thing guaranteed to keep them in check.
Companies are fluid entities, constantly morphing and changing. Praising the action is where the focus should be, not the company.
I'm not sure these types of interactions can still be described as corporate espionage. The fact that one of these parties is a sovereign nation creates wrinkle to this whole thing. (From what I understand China doesn't directly link themselves too closely with this but no one really thinks this isn't covert stuff being directed by their government.)
The US also engages in corporate espionage through the NSA in the interest of its defense contractors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency#ECHELO... (last paragraph)
I am too, but I think we should remember that China's citizens were and still are being censored, killed, and tortured on a daily basis. Google was fine doing business with them and even assisting in their censorship. Only until Google found itself on the receiving end of China's baton did it finally decide to change their relationship.
They deserve kudos and a pat on the back for realizing that it's not good to bow down and comply with a government that tortures and locks up its citizens for speaking their minds, but they don't deserve any sort of hero worship.
Maybe Google is lying to us, but what they were saying is originally it was 'well, even if censored, we can still be a positive factor'. Now they are saying, 'our presence is being abused by the gov't. We are now a negative factor'.
I'm sure they aren't giddy about getting hacked, but if not getting hacked was their primary goal, I doubt complete withdraw from China would be move #1
They did follow the government guideline and censored their results but that's a very minor problem compared to the good Google did by just giving access to better english based information than Baidu for example.
All of this is not question of black and white and I respect Google a lot more than Yahoo based on the way they behave (Yahoo did help directly to the arrest of a political activist in China see: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/19/technology/19yahoo.html)
That's just insane... do you really think the two are comprable? Google would lose more customers by withdrawing from China than people who know, much less care in the least, about that quote...
1. Google is not withdrawing from China. They are merely deciding not to implement additional censoring measures to curry additional favor with the government.
2. They have been losing market share to an inferior but government approved search engine Baidu.
Why do you think Google China's Kai-fu Lee left after a few years in his highest position to make a relatively small startup when his track record shows he prefers large corporations like Apple, SGI, and Microsoft? Google knows they are losing ground and he was probably abandoning the sinking ship.
Another year of lost market share to government supported Baidu and the recent espionage was the last straw for Google to know that their current methods weren't working.
3. Why are you comparing them then? It's not like Google decided to make this happen so they could publicly denounce the Chinese government.
Considering their past practices with China, I would have expected them to keep silent on the matter. I don't think it's unreasonable to think that the Schmidt incident influenced the scale of their reaction.
If you think Schmidt's quote did not make a big impact , that's your opinion, not fact.
They haven't decided to pull out completely from China yet. They simply said they might, and their main focus was to stop censoring as much as they can "within the law".
I am really surprised that you have been voted so highly as though you and many other readers here mistakenly interpreted this as an absolute sign that Google is going to withdraw from China.
"[...] 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."
They talk of filtering as an all-or-nothing concept. They want to operate unfiltered search (not semi-filtered, or filtered to the extent of the law). "Within the law" refers to the fact that they want to accomplish unfiltered search in a manner that is legal and their statement is rather clear that failing that they will be shutting down.
You're right, though, that this being an ultimatum isn't stated in clear (binding) legalese—quintessentially their wording of "not willing to continue" instead of "will not continue". This is almost certainly intentional.
However, it is a press release that declares intent, generates expectations and has a common and obvious interpretation as a take-it-or-leave-it deal. From a public relations standpoint, Google would not benefit from doing something completely different.
Just because you think it is sure sign that Google will withdraw does not mean that they will. So far this is nothing more than an empty threat.
In China, business is like no other place. It is fully about connections and relationships and Lee is a unique individual -- he has connections from his days at all the major corps (Microsoft, Google) and finally he is using them for his benefit. If it takes off, he could be incredibly rich -- much more than the $10 million Google was (rumored) paying him. If not, he can always go back to any big corp: they will be falling all over themselves to have him.
Point being: you cannot correlate Lee's departure with a their projected performance.
Further, don't think this won't help them in China over the long run either. When a "glastnost" comes to China, as it did Russia, if they're clever about marketing, using Google could ultimately be a symbol of new found freedoms. The fact that the Chinese government has made it difficult for them to operate, given competitors an operational advantage and enabled hackers that attack them and other firms, must make it an easier risk to take.
Being the idealist I am, I want to believe, and I think there's a good probability that doing the right thing here, will mean greater profits now and in the future.
Already Google have made a lot of people believe that "Don't be Evil" is a good business strategy. Regardless of the truth of this sentiment, it is to the benefit of society.
The more the slogan is fleshed out and the more evidence accrues that this is indeed good business practice, the more companies will follow.
After the dust settles, if Google is able to change Chinese government policy on search that would be monumental. If they aren't and ultimately leave China, that puts the spotlight on other infotech firms particularly Microsoft which has far more to lose by leaving China. On the other hand, if Microsoft chooses to do nothing and stay, it reinforces in the minds of users internationally a key point of differentiation between Google and Microsoft.
The economist-headed detractors tended to boil everything down to companies charging higher prices in order to give money to charity. They then explain that this doesn't work because it is proven that customers will buy the ethical option online if it is of equivalent value and price.
Being from a marketing background, I immediately pricked my ears at the complaint marketers have at hand wavy economists. Even if we ignore the fact that the value of a product is completely subjective & that it is influenced in many ways on some of which have anything to do with the physical product, getting customers to choose your product when it of "equivalent price and value" is the no. one thing a whole heap of companies do. Think how much money goes into ads for washing powder.
Charity can be a form of marketing just as creating a culture where at times short term profits may be sacrificed for long term benefits is also very much in the best interests of shareholders. Thus, the beauty of this economic system is that while you can profit by pursuing profit for its own sake (which can mean being charitable), I do think taking a principled approach results in more sustained and greater long term profitability - as I suspect irrespective of the outcome, this will be a case study for years to come.
I agree with you about the strawman. But many economists or more commonly, people with economics in their backgrounds take this sort of a view. They like to distil things to an economics "story." Sometimes this is a great tool. Sometimes this loses important info. Economics training does come with the danger of this kind of mistake though. I heard that there was a serious divide between students and old timers about Ostrom receiving the Nobel (the students didn't like it).
One "story" they (the against camp) told was: If being good is more profitable, companies will do it without being told. That's capitalism, nothing creative about it. If it isn't more profitable and they do it, they are forcing shareholders to contribute a charity of the company's choosing.
Another was the one I mentioned above. If you take an economics graduate, you may find that they're not sure what make of a world where getting customers to choose you're same price, same value product is the difference between non-starter & Unilever. It doesn't make sense to tell this story with the basic vocabulary of microeconomics.
In any case, some essays published in the book make this argument. I don't mean to suggest that all or even most economists would take this view. Great economists (like great anyone) are empowered, but not restricted by their tools.
If this was Google's intent, I has certainly worked with me. This gives me more confidence that if I use Google's services, they are unlikely to fuck me around.
I think it's more accurate to say: If a "glastnost" comes to China. There's no rule of thumb that something like that is going to happen in every undemocratic country.
To continue economic growth eventually freedom of speech and some civil liberties would have to be adopted. Ironically, if it happens any time soon it will feed conspiracy theorists forever.
I think it would be naive to imagine that this is a move based solely on ethics (but, then, you never know - I wouldn't want to do them the disservice of ruling it out utterly).
But to do it with such direct criticism of the Chinese government. Even if it is a veiled reference there can be little doubt about the claims. The only inference I can think of is that they are very sure (or have proof) it is the Chinese government that are responsible (I cant help feeling if it was corporate or extremist groups etc. they would be directly named - or at least more clearly referenced). It's a huge political statement.
Im glade I stuck with Google through the last few months and the spate of anti-google sentiment starting to emerge (the cynic might suggest this grand gesture is related...?).
Half of the surprise I received reading this article was my shock that the Chinese government would attack profitable companies like Google. Sure, they've always attacked foreign governments, but China's government depends on US companies spending Dollars overseas. Since consumer spending is down in USA, it only seems natural for China to start banking on the successful industries of today, like internet advertising. Is the political danger of human rights activists really worth more than the money that Google brings? Or were their egos so high that they thought they could get away with it, either by avoiding detection or keeping Google at status quo
Maybe the Chinese government + military is just too huge to get everyone to toe the party line.
China needs money flowing into the country in order to sustain it's big growth rate. They've traditionally gotten it through dirt-cheap manufacturing costs and exports. Google's marketshare is small, but they're very well connected in the US and are probably the US company most likely to start a "China-free" product trend. If it takes hold, the US would get a little bit of extra leverage (something we've sorely been lacking lately)
No doubt they do that to Chinese companies too, it's just that the Chinese companies will never complain publicly.
If Google is deciding that they don't want in on this, it's not about giving up millions today; it's about forgoing billions from the next decade.
And given that the gigaom article incorrectly says that google has already stopped censoring, I'm inclined to believe they're randoming making shit up.
The parallel here, in my mind, is that Google has an opportunity for accomplishing several things while "posturing" for war with the Chinese government:
* Put pressure on the Chinese government to change. This is the public-facing goal of the campaign. The cause.
* Make up for any negative press about privacy by reinforcing the idea that their users' accounts are meant to be completely private and secure.
* Align themselves with human-rights causes, garnering trust amid doubts about trustworthiness and projecting a policy on censorship.
Posturing for war will likely prove very good for Google, and may result in the Chinese government caving. But if they actually have to go to war, it will be painful.
In my mind, it would be ideal for Google to posture for as long as they can, and as loud as they can, and see if they can't get the Chinese government to back down at all. Any significant win, without going to war, could be cause to not go to war, for it could be wrapped up as the government "cooperating".
Never attribute to goodwill, that which can be more adequately explained by good marketing.
The Chinese government could not possible allow itself to be seen caving into a single corporation and Google now cannot allow itself to be seen going back on "Don't Be Evil".
This is the end for Google and China.
War should be avoided at most costs but not all costs. Right on Google.
You had a history teacher who said this?!? Doesn't the period of history he teaches include the United States war against the Axis (World War II)? Yes, the United States delayed entering that war about as long as any country could, but it was on the right side of that war, and it was better for the world that the United States went to war in that case. (Similar points could be made about other countries in other wars; I mention the United States only because you mentioned a teacher of United States history.)
I wonder if African-American slaves would agree. Or West Europeans, especially those in concentration camps. Or South Koreans.
I believe also that a large number of the slaves who ended up in America pre-Civil War were captured during tribal wars and sold, so you could argue that in fact all of your examples were caused by at least one party engaging in active violent warfare.
Does not compute. You cannot posture for war without occasionally going to war.
Chinese Gov will be glad if google leaves - they have nothing to loose. Their credibility as an ethical government will be bruised, not that there was any credibility to begin with.
They aren't ignorant of PR and they know when to apply force and when to hold back.
"Chinese internet analysts said they were shocked by the Google announcement, but at the same time they understood the reasons behind its threat to back out of China. They said the cyber attacks have exposed Google's inability to protect its users' privacy..."
This can always backfire on them ... once groups like those at 4chan get working on Baidu :) And I'd be willing to bet that Google has a much more reliable security. Not to mention that this statement is kind of hypocritical ... since when are they concerned about privacy?
Also ... these PR spins won't work for them internationally ... since communism has a negative image, and this is one of the factors considered when extending a business to China.
So they have a more relaxed communism, allowing privately owned companies to thrive ... but look, Google announced they were hurt by the Chinese government, and apparently they weren't the only ones. Whom would you be more inclined to believe?
And Google is also good at PR :)
I think that China's leadership needs to give serious thought to what it'll cost them if their industry and their people can't (legally) use Google.
What might be bad for China though is all the investment Google made on research and the PR disaster (and the chinese government is very concerned with face).
Google may lose out in other markets as well. Authoritarian governments will become weary of Google even more now.
Which is really a pretty bold step; rather than being a simple invisible removal, it was an in-your-face "your government didn't want you to see the results for this query" approach.
Maybe China had promised Google clean networks in exchange for censorship?
That said, they did not leave a whole lot of room for China to save face and that may be enough to sink any hope of progress on that front.
It's been time to do that for a very long time...cheap goods aren't worth it at all.
Edit: I may have jumped to conclusions; the individual on reddit may have very well stolen your comment in which case my accusation is invalid.
I did, thought of it more as a social experiment than theft, though. Apologies to boundlessdreamz, if he cares...
Edit: After a little thought, I think you may be blowing this up a little bit. He did delete the comment when boundless objected and it wasn't exactly a work of art or anything.
> "As a matter of fact, the reason I cross-posted is that I don't think the comment in question deserved the top spot, and would frankly be ashamed if such writing/logic were ever seriously attributed to me."
It's a new low for HN from what I've seen to date.
Agreed. Except you're the one who keeps insisting on dragging out for me to explain myself over something boundlessdreamz and I settled in two comments 10 hours ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1049476
I was wondering who would pick up first on the unyielding Google-love and the blatantly imagined Chinese-espionage speculation, HN or reddit. reddit won :( http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/aouv5/new_appro...
How do I go about explaining this in a way that the coin will drop...
Borrowing a pencil or a piece of (blank) paper during class concerns the use of raw materials.
There is no personal investment in to that piece of paper or pencil, they are the equal of any other piece of paper or pencil, which is why you can 'return' a piece of paper, you simply take another one that looks sufficiently like the original and you return it.
To take someone else's words with attribution is one thing, even when done without permission.
To take someone else's words and to pass them off as your own is the essence of plagiarism. You basically pretended to have come up with those words on your own.
That's 'not done', not because you can't but simply because if everybody would be doing that we'd be having a cut and paste discussion instead of a real one.
If you use a link to underscore a point you make (or even a cut-and-paste quote with a source) that's perfectly fine, but to simply copy someones words and make them your own is well over the line.
'Just a comment on a message board' has nothing to do with it, that's saying that it is ok to steal dollar bills but not ok to steal 100's.
that's saying that it is ok to steal dollar bills but not ok to steal 100's
Precisely! That's what I meant by "borrow a pencil" without returning it: I'm saying it's OK to steal a piece of paper (or copy a comment), but not a dollar (or copy his blog post), and not a 100 (or copy a chapter from his book), especially if it serves another purpose (comparing replies to a popular comment in two communities).
Someone else want to give it a shot?
The short of it being that identity is paramount online. Stealing content can be a copyright issue, but stepping into someone else's voice and holding someone else's creative content as your own is simply evil. With proper, comprehensive attribution there's some flex to go around, but even then it's generally something done with consent and grace.
Cross-posting someone else's comment might just be borrowing their pencil for an argument, but since it's kind of an amazing pencil and now you're showing it off to your friends like it's your own, you should expect cold stares when you give it back.
Sure. Assuming we have the same innate moral sense as the authors of the Talmud, you value the damages of my copyright infringement as greater or equal than a perutah in value. I do not.
As a matter of fact, the reason I cross-posted is that I don't think the comment in question deserved the top spot, and would frankly be ashamed if such writing/logic were ever seriously attributed to me.
This is his:
So you may be right after all.
You had it backwards, but if you hadn't spotted that I highly doubt that this would have come out.
And I also highly doubt the whole 'social experiment' excuse, that's just way too glib for me.
Google knows that it is not in a leading position in China and has been losing market share there. The fight there is probably not a fair one(but where is it a fair one?).
Thus they can make a strong, positive statement that the rest of the market will applaud, while not really losing that much(although 12% of China is still quite a bit).
"If you dance with the devil, you have to pay the piper."
I don't want to romanticize times gone by, but I think at certain points in history there have been people who controlled large companies also knew that their sustainable existence depended on a healthy society; there might be short term costs to investing in such a society, but the long term benefits are enormous. In the neo-liberal era, this approach is no longer given any credence, but that is Bad Thing, indeed, and really just plain foolishness.
(Please somebody explain the downvote.)
I think I have come to take more pride in my vote volatility than in having lots of karma; when I watch it go up and down on a post I think -- wow, people actually care about what I said. And anyone who actually worries about their karma points on HN.... well, sorry about that.
Oh -- I do appreciate the explanation.
By the definition of neoliberal...
Additionally, just a person might have an ideology even though he or she doesn't announce it explicitly. I reserve the right to describe people in ways they would not describe themselves.
So, I think the downvoting of me this time is flawed.
I have a better one: you sound snotty and smarter than me. Burn him!
- ever since the ending of the Olympics in 2008, Chinese government started a series of large scale "cleaning up" operations all in the name of removing porn from the Internet (while we all know what's the more obvious reason ...).
- Many report that as of now Xinjiang Autonomous Region has Internet access to only a few selected official websites after the riot in 2009.
- There are rumors about a potential whitelist-based filtering system coming online this year (2010). All websites (no matter where they are physically located or legally registered) must register and report to MII (http://www.miibeian.gov.cn/) if they offer Chinese content to visitors from mainland China, or they might be banned by the Great Firewall.
- Previously, individuals can register .cn domains. They tight up control over .cn registration and some registrars are actually starting to limit the IP address that .cn domains can use to only those within mainland China.
Controlling internet traffic is both a citizen control issue and an economic protection plan. I don't know what is in the reams of WTO deals China has made but its possible they never agreed to play free and open with companies outside China for access to their Internet user base. You may not agree with this protectionist approach, but it fits squarely within China's "middle-kingdom" mentality.
Again, don't take my words as a defense of any of China's actions. But seriously, what would you do if you were in charge? I certainly wouldn't take the job.
As a rule I try to shy away inflammatory criticism, but this was a very poorly researched post.
There has been TREMENDOUS change over the past 10 years! You have to remember that until Deng's reforms in the late 80s, China was a completely closed society that was just beginning to heal from decades of strife and instability (almost 100 years!), including the cultural revolution which literally turned society upside down and placed a freeze on societal progress.
Since the early 90s China has made leaps and bounds in regards to reform and progress. YES they are still MANY problems, but the changes have been very substantial. China will surpass Japan this year as the 2nd largest economy in the world. Outside of the US and Russia, it holds the third largest stockpile of nuclear arms. The accolades are many...
That said, its unfair to really compare China with South Korea/Japan, who've not only had a huge lead time, but also don't have 1.3 billion people to feed, provide jobs for, and yes control.
All of this growth and sudden change has caused problems, corruption and protectionist economic policies (not to mention the increasingly dangerous heights of nationalism the CCP is stimulating among the populace, especially the youth). To say however that Chinese society is corrupt and have been "meddling in business for thousands of years" is absurd and frankly a bit fox-news in rhetoric.
One of the things I love most about HN is that the community here is in general "smarter" than more general-interest social news communities. That said, I wish people would take a more balanced view on China. Yes there are problems and the CCP is no benevolent big brother but as the poster above me has pointed out the issues are not black and white. There are many many many nuances in uplifting a nation of 1.3 billion people into modernity. I'm not convinced that an open, free-market system is the best solution. Perhaps down the road, but not now.
That said, my points still stands. I used the 90s for contrast purposes. The changes in China over the past 20 years are PROFOUND. Over the past 10 years they are only slightly diminished but no less amazing.
I've been traveling to China annually for pretty much the last 6-7 years and lived there for an extended period of time a few years ago. The changes have been dramatic in both urban and rural areas. In fact I found change to be even more visible in the rural areas. Literally over a year farm fields would be transformed to high-rises and cosmopolitan residential communities.
The changes in infrastructure/economic development has also fostered great changes/progress towards a more civil society, etc.
Even if we were just to compare 2000 vs 2010 the changes are great. To say that there have been no major progress in 10 years and to suggest that South Korean and Japanese development in that same period of time has been greater than China's is patently absurd. Like dum-dum circus absurd.
PS: Visiting China it's easy to overestimate the level of growth if you are anywhere near the coast, I would suggest you wonder around western china to get some idea of how far the country has to go.
Edit: Find China http://geology.com/articles/satellite-photo-earth-at-night.s... granted I think that's a compost from the mid 90's but you can still see the trend on where development takes place.
China has had just as long to grow economically as Japan and South Korea. Yet, only by ignoring the vast difference in population sizes are they in any way comparable from an economic standpoint. Suggesting that a non "free-market" system is a better approach when it's provided such poor returns is ignoring history.
I can't speak for South Korea or Japan because I've never lived there and have only read about those places.
Although I personally lean toward "free-market" policies, I recognize that a significant portion of the U.S. economy (my country) does not operate on free-market principles. Energy, Government, some aspects of Health Care, mostly operate under controlled, non-free-market conditions.
That said, this:
appears to disproves your point. Not accounting for inflation, nominal GDP grew about 8,000 bln from 1990-2000, which is paralleled in only 5 years between 2000-2005.
As for corruption, I don't think you've done much to further your argument that "China has been a historical corrupt society for thousands of years". Benefiting from close ties to the government is a natural economic condition found in every country. Hello US Lobbying industry?
And the percentage of multi-millionaires with close family connections doesn't say much either, only that China has a growing class of oligarchs, again a condition found in many many many other countries.
That said, it wouldn't be fair for me to wholly dismiss your points. Yes corruption is widespread, but I don't see how that proves your point that China as a society has been utilizing corruption to cheat their business partners for thousands of years. That is an absurd point that is not at all grounded in history nor facts.
Finally I think you mis-understood my point in regards to S. Korea/Japan. They have had LONGER to grow economically in the sense that until the mid 1970s China was essentially a collapsed country, with really NO economy. Irregardless of time, both S. Korea and Japan grew their economies out of authoritarian governments. S. Korea was for most of the latter half of the 20th century a military state and Japanese politics was dominated by a single party. Both not exactly what I would call open democratic regimes.
No idea what you mean by "a non 'free-market' system is a better approach when it's provided such poor returns...", can you define "poor returns"? China has been one of the fastest growing economies for the past 30 years. How is that poor returns? In fact, its the very authoritarian regime you lambast as being economically inefficient that has been cited as the source of China's seemingly "magical" growth.
Lastly, you absolutely CANNOT ignore China's massive population when analyzing the country's current and future states. Having to support a nation of 1.3 billion people is an epically difficult task and as I state in a prior comment, ALL problems in China derive from its population problem.
Anyways the point of all of this is not to defend China. The hyperbole and level of mis-understanding among the HN community in regards to China is absurd. This is not a good/bad issue. China's problems are nuanced, just like all things in life. It helps no one by making blanket statements that are derived from quick google searches and superficial understanding of complex issues.
As to poor returns I meant that China's growth has been has increased as they approached a free market, and there is little evidence to support the advantage (in terms of growth) of a non free market. Which was a response to I'm not convinced that an open, free-market system is the best solution. Perhaps down the road, but not now.
PS: I am not saying china's growth is slow, rather young people don't have a lot to compare it to. Industrialization and effective free markets result in massive economic growth. So I don't think the Chinese government is responsible for growth so much as letting it happen.
Edit: As to corruption it's something you have to see first hand. It has many forms but look at Google for a classic example. The most blatant example of which was they used DNS to randomly point to Google's competitor; now just think about what that means. Sadly this is closer to the norm than most people acknowledge.
Students at the elite schools in China care about getting jobs with foreign multinationals, not democratic reform...
Who created these strains and who should be responsible for this?
Not sure you can really pin that blame on the CCP although certainly Mao's lets-all-have-babies ideas would account for some of it.
Reading in between the lines, it seems that they must feel that the Chinese government was involved in the attacks on the user accounts. Otherwise, the first portion of the post re: cyber security has little to do with the latter portion re: dealing with China at all. This is a fairly clever approach to conveying such a heavy message without stating it.
Edit: no, that's not what he's saying, but I think I might not have the intellectual capacity to paraphrase what he did say well without thinking about it some more.
Before the Olympics, the Firewall would periodically block blogspot, but it was easy to get around it using proxies. However, post-Olympics, in May 2009, all of blogspot was blocked (not just those dealing with Fln G*ng, etc), including through proxies, newsfeeds, everything. Every few weeks, new sites are blocked. It seems the Olympics was a minor P.R. obstacle to the unrestricted censorship they really wanted; once over, the censors have gone into free fall.
The blockages seems arbitrary. One can almost understand a line of logic whereby all blogspot blogs are blocked, e.g. "The users are anonymous, their details not verifiable by our government officials..." blah blah. But how can you explain blocking http://www.python.org/download/ and subpages, blocked here for the last 3 to 6 months? The other Python website pages are accessible, just not the download page. Where's the logic in that? Those of us living here for a while automatically assume some other competing scripting language rep paid off some friend working at the censor bureau. "Who watches the watchers?" as they say.
Once a certain site has been blocked, it never reverts.
Some people here are starting to call the internet available within China a "Countrinet".
-- there is some open source code that can be setup to run as a proxy app
-- there's a main site that pings it to see when it goes down, or an email address that can be mailed if it goes down.
-- once blocked, a new email goes out to users with the next proxy server web address that has already been setup and ready to use: an IP, domain or sub domain url
-- so it's like dominoes falling and the current one standing is what people use, as new dominoes are setup in the background
1) finding a ready supply of IP addresses, domains, and URLs where new proxies can be setup
2) making sure the emails aren't blocked
3) plugin so it works transparently for the end user
The firewall's probably looking for blogspot characteristics in the html coming through (ie the themes) -- but grabbing the same blog posts through feedburner (and rss in general) could circumvent this filter. Although, in such feeds, you wouldn't want any blogspot.com links.
1/12/2010 03:00:00 PM
Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different.
First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.
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.
Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, 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. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users' computers.
We have already used information gained from this attack to make infrastructure and architectural improvements that enhance security for Google and for our users. In terms of individual users, we would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share personal information like passwords online. You can read more here about our cyber-security recommendations. People wanting to learn more about these kinds of attacks can read this U.S. government report (PDF), Nart Villeneuve's blog and this presentation on the GhostNet spying incident.
We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech. In the last two decades, China's economic reform programs and its citizens' entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nation is at the heart of much economic progress and development in the world today.
We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that "we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China."
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.
The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.
Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer
A United States expert on cyber warfare said that 34 companies were targeted, most of them high-technology companies in Silicon Valley. The attacks came from Taiwanese Internet addresses, according to James Mulvenon, an expert on Chinese cyberwarfare capabilities.
Mr. Mulvenon said that the stolen documents were sent electronically to a server controlled by Rackspace, based in San Antonio.
It would have been silly for them not to do business with China - when most western nations and companies does it. Some level of censorship does outweigh the benefits of having google.cn. But google being google, and perhaps the only company that has the balls to do this, will most likely pull out of china if they don't get their way.
I can't think of any other company doing this, the potential for business is incredible in china, which has more internet users than USA.
This is BIG.
Exclude from Google results any sites that cannot be viewed from China.
That is arguably the right thing to do from a usability, if not from a political, perspective.
But.. imagine that the reason you couldn't reach these sites was not political (eg, pay wall). Wouldn't you want your search engine to give you ten links that work.
"Currently, due to strong Chinese government censorship including Internet censorship, the news media are forbidden to report anything related to the protests. Websites related to the protest are blocked on the mainland. A search for Tiananmen Square protest information on the Internet in Mainland China largely returns no results, apart from the government-mandated version of the events and the official view, which are mostly found on Websites of People's Daily and other heavily-controlled media."
If Google was hiding links to US websites that blocked international traffic, fair play. But we are talking about sites that are blocked by government mandate.
Also, just because someone else has done something, doesn't mean you too should do it. The potential for business should be weighed against the ethical decision to do business with a totalitarian government. But I guess this is the West and we have no problem dealing with dictators and oppressors and their like anyway.
Quite glad they're opting to take the ethical route this time, though.
Business and an opportunity they didn't have before. Be charitable, this looks like a better outcome than had they stayed out of China altogether.
Well, I wouldn't call Google's moves stupid, but this sure is a surprising outcome.
With 0.4bn actual base (total amount of Chinese Internet users), others were 'represented' by the Party.
Why am I being downmodded ? I thought we are supposed to have open discussions here. (I did find the actual google mkt share in the TC blog later, but I was presenting an alternative reason along with the fact that their site was attacked)
Just like they expected to do when they opened offices in Europe, Canada, etc.
Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc.
We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today.
How sad that they had to specify this, or a few of their Chinese employees would risk their freedom, or worst, their lives.
Call me cynical. :/
Things just went batshit crazy. Trying to tell financial people to calm down. Google wasn't making any money in China anyway. And there is no reason to think right now that this will affect anyone else.
I REALLY hope people can regain their bearing before tomorrow's trading session.
Thank you Google for announcing this after market close!
To have announced it during trading would have been horrid.
EDIT: BTW It is testimony to the power of social media that people didn't freak when it hit Google's blog, but when it hit the social media sites. Lesson learned there, by me anyway.
Google wasn't making any money in China anyway.
It appears that within China this is being spun as the surrender of a foreign company failing to understand the Chinese market, and outside China as some sort of stand on Humans Rights. Probably both are true, but I think it's interesting to see the perspectives as reported by both sides.
"gossip inside google China is gov hackers found infiltrating google source code repository; gmail attacks an old issue." - @wikileaks http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/7688415363
"China has been quietly asking for the same access to google logfiles as US intelligence for 2-3 years now." - @wikileaks http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/7689072081
"Should be noted that Google keeps secret how many user's records are disclosed to US intelligence, others." - @wikileaks http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/7689142127
"correction: the time of the Chinese requests/demands are not exactly known and are possibly in the last 12 months." - @wikileaks http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/7689422772
If this is true, it's very serious, worse than e.g. the moles France planted in US companies.
Kudos to Google!
You work for a great company, Googlers!
that doesn't sound like just a few end-user gmail accounts being compromised, but something that was much more serious that may have exposed more information than just what these chinese attackers were looking for.
Gossip inside google China is gov hackers found infiltrating google source code repository; gmail attacks an old issue.
EDIT: I see "est" mentioned this rumor, too.
BTW, a CNN producer is tweeting that Google CN workers may have been sent home early. Conspiracy theorists would say that supports the idea of an attack from the inside. Or maybe Google just had mercy on its staff and knew they wouldn't get any work done today anyway.
GFW research team tried heavily to crack down the SSL certificate for gmail (thus, they can censor the gmail content through GFW).
"Why doesn't America create an anti-GFW project. You block people in China accessing websites outside of China, so I give you your own medicine, block China from accessing some key websites, such as technology IEEE, education, medicine, and other famous websites, then China would genuinely become a local area network. Then webizens within China would genuinely go mad"
Google could bring down the GFW by massively disseminating free VPN access to Chinese people. However, doing so could get Larry and/or Sergey assassinated.
For years the way I worked around the firewall from Shanghai was to run SOCKS proxy through an SSH tunnel to my U.S. server. This works because its not advertised as such and China does not want to block all SSH/SSL traffic.
China is not trying to block everyone. If you're well educated, tech-savvy, and have a credit card to rent a server outside China, you can get around the firewall. Its that simple. If you read Chinese, as most do in China, there are many avenues of (sometimes transient) data sources which carry just about everything you could imagine. The information is out there, you just have to work a little harder to find it. China, just like various interests that control U.S. media is going after the broad strokes. In China they use the GFW, in the U.S., advertisers simply tell the top 4 media companies to not talk about certain things or else their ad money will dry up. The results as to what the general populous know are similar in my opinion.
To those that emailed me about the VPN, I should have it up within 24 hours.
To me, that implies more than just customer information (i.e. private data in a gmail account).
"Credible data describing the scope and impact of unwelcome insider actions are hard to come by..."
Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, Salvatore J. Stolfo, "Addressing the Insider Threat," IEEE Security and Privacy, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 10-13, Nov./Dec. 2009, doi:10.1109/MSP.2009.146 http://www.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/doi/10.1109/MSP.2009...
All Chinese Googler were suspended from Google's internal source code and network access for now.
But I feel compelled to point out that it's unfortunate that it's come to this. I don't agree at all with posters saying that Google was initially doing the wrong thing by being in business in China at all; as several other posters have already pointed out, Google was at least making sure the censorship was obvious, which, really, was bold already.
Moreover, the bigger point; how wrong is it for international corporations to do business in China? Yes, there are human rights abuses. I get annoyed when people seem to just enjoy using the PRC leadership as a moral punching bag without trying to understand the historical lead-up to its creation (and, really, the West helped create the conditions in China that led to its current authoritarianism to begin with). But, what is really going to be gained by corporations outright stonewalling the mainland and its business opportunities? If you really want to help people and be pragmatic, then I think you would have done as Google originally did. The potential economic opportunities created for the millions of very poor Chinese by having international business in China is not something to take lightly if you can manage to at least not worsen the position of human rights activists in China by censoring and not outright handing them over (something which I think Yahoo actually did). And, by working with the PRC, you can at least get yourself into a position where you can affect change without outright confrontation.
Again, I do agree that the hacking attempts change the game entirely and is the point at which all international corporations doing business in China need to reconsider things, but just stonewalling China for confrontation's sake is just trying to encourage another Cold War, and we don't want that.
Its not to say that a direct confrontation is the right move, but there is a balance point between direct accusation and giving the PRC a face saving way to make a small change.
The real question (in my mind) is: is google at the right balance point.
I suggest that you, instead, just subscribe to some RSS feeds.
Meanwhile, I've been consuming news about Google.CN for the past four hours. Ought to go to bed, but this is so fascinating!
This is what the world needs more of. Mega Multination Corporations standing up to dictatorships, human rights violators and all around douche bag governments.
I do wonder how wise this is as a business decision - I would fully expect they will never make a cent in China again, possibly even other countries increasingly dependent on China might get pressure to be more 'hostile' to Google.
Congrats to them on such a brave stand!
A CNN reporter from China tweeted this image and translated the text as "Real Man"