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Google refused to call out China over disinformation about Hong Kong (businessinsider.com)
55 points by ganeshkrishnan 60 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments

Even Twitter and Facebook went only as far as to say "individuals affiliated to the Chinese government", which they're able to identify. Should Google, seeing that Chinese IP/VPN are used to create trolling videos immediately start saying the Chinese government is behind this _without definitive proof_? It's one thing to suspect, and another to attribute blame formally without concrete defining evidence.

Google really wants to get back into China.

I guess I don't really blame them. I also really want GCP to enter China. It would make it so much easier to launch truly global services. I hate that "World except China" and "China" overhead.

(Maybe GCP needs to get slighly disconnected from the politicized part of Google - like Search and News?)

I cannot fathom why. What's the best case scenario? China lets them operate for long enough to absorb the tech they want and then give them the boot? Or is the best case scenario Google just continues to bow to China for the foreseeable future and are allowed to profit in exchange for subjugating the Chinese public?

Neither scenario smacks of success to me.

You make some good points.

I think Google would need to make an unacceptable faustian bargain with the CCP to gain access to the China market for e.g. cloud services.

I guess the obvious risk is that the CCP begins with a small demand, and than gradually increase the demands over a long period of time.

I feel like calling out human rights violations is more important than easily launching global web services, though.

I feel like they are separate tasks. Companies should be apolitical. Governments should be political. Governments should actively set limits for what companies can and should/should not do.

I agree with this 100% in theory. However companies have more power over government than any other entity, even the entire population in aggregate. Companies are more political than governments.

The people are ultimately the customers of business and the most effective way to changing political policy is by influencing said business.

Ideally government and business should be like church and state or oil and water but this is not the reality we live in.

A solution: break up the Alphabet companies and Amazon/AWS.

How can you influence the government to do this when companies have more influence than you?

By voting...

A vote doesn't change anything. If you want change you need to influence a multitude of voters. What kind of entity has that influence in the United States? Corporations.

If there was a candidate that fit the profile of what you desire. How would you even be aware of that candidates existence? Usually through some news organization, youtube video , television, google search.... all avenues that are given to you by a corporation.

And what if structurally (perhaps due to emerging technical and social constraints), companies increasingly outmaneuver governments? If technologists like us (those doing much of outmaneuvering) advocate companies being apolitical, then won't we then live a world with less and less moral courage within our institutions? (And institutions shape the cultural milieu in which we operate as individuals.)

It's a bit of separate issue, but as I wrote in a separate comment: It's on the governments (in this case the US government) to break up these companies into less powerful smaller parts.

Companies can't be apolitical by international law.

That's why we have to block requests for service to places like Crimea and North Korea.

Why should companies be exempt from the laws in the places where they operate?

How can something like an international megacorporation that holds SO much power over the lives of so many people be apolitical?

Through the magic that is called legislation. (And if the megacorp is too big, break it up.)

Companies are not abstract entities living in an ether: they're made of, and managed by people.

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