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Jan 25

Google vs. China – Good vs. Evil?

Written by Allen on Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 11:42 pm
Filed under:economy, General, human rights, News, Opinion, politics, technology | Tags:, , , ,
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Google’s recent drama in China has endeared itself to some human rights activists, democracy advocates, even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Many have applauded Google for taking a “principled stance” against the evil empire of China.  I find such rhetoric comical.

Google first announced its so-called “new approach to China” after its servers were apparently attacked.  Rumors began flying that Google may be leaving China altogether. Pundits, politicians, and Secretary of State Hillary began making proclamations or prognostications on who is wrong and who is right – and who will win and who will lose in the long run. Of course, any sane person knows that no company – not even Google – is going to unilaterally pull out of China. Why has everything about China – including now even just doing business in China – become so politicized?

I was frankly bewildered at first by Google’s announcement.  Why did a series of cyber attacks originating in China (Google never revealed much information about the nature of the attacks) trigger Google to “rethink” its approach toward China’s censorship policy?  What does censorship have to do with cyber security?  How does Google’s threat to leave China make Google’s network safer?  More importantly, if Google is to be a force for “good” around the world, how does Google’s threat to leave China bring good to 1/5 of the world’s population – the Chinese people?

What confuses me even more about Google’s move this particular time is how Google has always complied with the law of the various countries it operates.  Google has complied in censoring sensitive topics (see also this) in accordance with the norms, politics, and cultures of the local environment all around the world. If censoring in India for “religious radicalism,” in France for “intellectual rights violations”, or in the U.S. to comply with whatever laws are passed is ok, why is filtering in China for “social stability” so bad?

I understand why some politicians like Hillary may want to jump in to stir up fray. With China’s economy growing, and the major economies of the West still faltering, I expect only increasing cries in the coming year that the Chinese government, Chinese companies, maybe even some Chinese people, are just ruthless, double-crossing, or otherwise not playing fair.

But why has Google – which has cultivated an image of neutrality – decided to play politics this time? Google is a rare gem among American companies. It has recently announced broad growths across all businesses in all geographic regions.  In China specifically, it is doing reasonable well.  While it is a distant third in the search market space, Google has increased its market share at the expense of leader Baidu as of late.

What I think happened is simple.  I don’t believe Google is getting into politics.  More likely, it is just being opportunistic in trying to gain some publicity and perhaps goodwill in the Western public.  You thought Bill Gates was a tough businessman?  Well, Google may one up Microsoft when it comes to vigorously creating and defending its image as a force of good.  While I like Google (I rely on Google for so many of my daily activities), I am always uneasy whenever a powerful organization (any organization) – be it a government, a company, a non-profit, or a church – begins painting the world in terms of black and white, and preaching that it represent the forces of good in taking on the forces of evils throughout the universe.

For all the people who have jumped onto the bandwagon of Google – or the U.S. government – I offer you a chance for a rethink.  If you are truly concerned about government censorship, you should be equally uncomfortable with the way Google has monopolized the way we access information.   If you are uncomfortable with the Chinese government being too powerful and opaque – you should be equally concerned about how Google guards its “secret sauce” to how it arranges and filters its search results – and about the impact Google’s presentation of information has on the way we think, feel, and see the world.  If you are uncomfortable with how the Chinese government may gain access to information about private individuals, you should be truly concerned about the reach Google has with regard to your private information, including how Google mines your private information to present customized ads for you.

I am ok if people distrust the Chinese government.  But if you must distrust, you should distrust in a critical, not just emotional, manner.  Legal scholars working in the area of “network neutrality” understands that companies like Google poses a real threat.   About Google Search, one observer recently noted:

Google is performing a precarious balancing act between the enduring public perception of it as comprehensive and impartial and the reality that it is no longer either. In the court of public opinion, Google continues to nurture the appearance of absolute automated objectivity, while, in the court of law, it now vehemently asserts and defends its right to manually and subjectively promote, penalise, or omit whatever it chooses.

Even if Google is “good” now – what is to prevent Google – a for profit, publicly traded company required by law to be beholden to its shareholders – from becoming “bad”?  What is to prevent Google from censoring results in a way that is non-neutral but that it privately deems “good”?  What is to prevent Google from misusing private information that it has regarding individuals like you and me?

Have we entered a new era where it’s not only the U.S. government, but also behemoth corporations like Google, that are supposed to carry the burden of enlightening the world regarding how the world should conduct themselves? Should the world rely on for-profit corporations to preach what is “good” and what is “evil”?

Can the world accommodate multiple standards of “freedom of speech” or is there really just one?


There are currently 6 comments highlighted: 59482, 59485, 59519, 59813, 61528, 63334.

93 Responses to “Google vs. China – Good vs. Evil?”

  1. Genevieve Says:

    The chinese government has created this ill-will with its lax policies on global issues and its intense concentration of hackers. As an avid online gamer, I will tell you that the common name for any person hacking accounts is “china.” As an environmental scientist, I will tell you that China’s pollution laws are horrid and they will single handedly undo the work of millions of well-meaning environmentalists. And as the girlfriend of someone who’s EMAIL just got hacked by a CHINESE IP address to obtain game information, I tell you whole-heartedly that they have earned their reputation. No other country in the world gains this sort of negative attention and I applaud google’s decision to stop appeasing them.

  2. tanjin Says:

    I totally share Allen’s frustration on this google mess, also

    Just because one oversea Tibetan activist in Stanford (where, unfortunately, I am spending time) screamed out a hacking incident on her email account, would google end up sending SVP on legal affair and head of security to her dorm to pick her little “pinky” laptop in person ? The whole story has foul smell .. just like a pre-mediated foul play.

    So I would agree with one comment on this video news link

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gh4vh1wkZ0

    “It’s all hypocrisy wrapped up in pure bullshit. “

  3. Charles Liu Says:

    Genevive @ 1, what does environmental laws have to do with the topic at hand? Also do you think most hackers are honest about their country of origin? In an age where most anonymous girl acct names are invariably used by 45 year old pedofiles?

    As to who gets negative attention – who ACTUALLY has the most concentration of hackers? It’s not China, it’s USA. IP address can be forged, unpatched machines in China can be exploited to relay and hide trails.

    Ask yourself, what would a Chinese person do with English-language online-game? Or overseas credit card number tied to a foreign name they can’t use?

  4. Li Denghui Says:

    Allen, what I find comical is your instant willingness to defend whatever action Chinese leaders take. I felt like I already knew every sentence of this shallow, predictable and thoughtless post before I even clicked on the link. You’re a disgrace. Be glad you are not living in China, where borderline treasonous statements like this could get you locked up. That is, if you made them against rather than for your masters in Zhongnanhai. But then you would never do that.

    Charles – thanks for reminding us that the Chinese state is literally everywhere. With your fucked up, academic-sounding, grammatically lumpy English, you are easily pigeonholed as a retard grad student, a product of the heady combination of Chinese indoctrination and excellent American technical education that you do not deserve. And so I say to you, sincerely: fuck you. I hope you spend the 5 mao that you got from your comment wisely, you shit-eating little liar. And since you are one of the fenqing that prefers to write only in angry questions, here are some for you: who do you work for? Why do you feel the need to go online and pollute everything you see? Is your excessive love of your country a result of sexual frustration? Did you even read the original post, or were you too busy trying to hack into the Pentagon? Another thing – when shit starts to go wrong between the US and China, we’re coming for you first, you little fuck.

  5. Li Denghui Says:

    Reading this again, I just can’t believe it:

    who ACTUALLY has the most concentration of hackers? It’s not China, it’s USA.

    Who do you think you’re kidding?

  6. pug_ster Says:

    I agree, Genevieve’s rant about the Chinese government is ill-placed. What does the Chinese government want with your game account information?

    Talking about censorship and search engines, there is censorship here in the US also. Go to bing and search for ‘nspd-16′ and in the bottom of the search page it says, ‘Some results have been removed.’ Of course, many westerners believe that the US government is not ‘capable’ of hacking and nspd-16 is “To Develop Guidelines for Offensive Cyber-Warfare” From a country who wants transparency and removing censorship, the information is ‘classified.’ I recalled that I have a discussion from someone at PKD and since he doesn’t like my comment, he censored it. He practices self censorship, the very same thing that many Chinese forums do.

  7. Charles Liu Says:

    LTH @ 4, “Who do you think you’re kidding?”

    Yeah, it’s not US, it’s Taiwan. The most recent corporate 35 fortune 100 attacks were traced to Taiwan IP address.

    Seriousely, look at what percentage of population is on-line in China and US, and the number of network attacks around the world, it’s not hard to see why US is way ahead of China.

    Pug, dont’ bother with PKD, I’m on year 2 of my three year boycott, after Richard censored my comment not for abuse, but contrarian ideology.

  8. Nimrod Says:

    Genevieve’s point of view is that China has earned its “evil” reputation because … drumroll please … China has lax environmental standards compared to what Western environmentalists are used to and her boyfriend’s email account was hacked by somebody purporting to have a Chinese IP address.

    Genevieve, are you kidding me?

    Why do people feel better to smugly slap some ideological label like “evil” on a country they know nothing about, rather than thinking about what led to the differences and what solutions might work? It’s as if they get high on it.

  9. colin Says:

    Google still operates in china because the CCP believes it is still useful. If google pushes too far, I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if their plug gets pulled in china.

    While the CCP isn’t an angel, don’t believe for one second that Google is the second coming. They have amassed all this data on you, don’t expect they won’t use it against you or anyone at any time. In fact, the US gov’t and NSA probably have full access to google’s data. This is another reason I think Google will become a national security issue for China, and get blocked at some point.

    And yes, PKD is a despot on the liberal aisle. I’m quite gleeful in the irony that his own “high” liberal morals and ideology has been so beaten and bruised in his own home country, the US. Talk about a hypocrit.

  10. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Nice post. You raise legitimate concerns about Google. In essence, it’s the argument against monopolies, or barring that, the extreme market dominance of one entity that then tries to lord over all others. When a company finds itself in that position, the instinct seems to be to try to quash all remaining competition. We saw this with IE vs Netscape. We now see it in the internet search/advertising realm.

    However, the fundamental difference between Google and the Chinese government is that one can choose to use Google, or not. As with any choice, there are consequences. It serves all of us to examine the consequences of our choices before we make them. And caveat emptor if you still decide to “google” something. But with the Chinese government, there seem to be just as many consequences, only without the choices.

    To Charles #6:
    “look at what percentage of population is on-line in China and US” — but there are also as many, if not more, internet users in China as there are people in the US.

  11. raffiaflower Says:

    The Chinese govt has outflanked Google in the tussle. When Hillary and calvary charged to Google’s rescue (most likely they all depend on its campaign funding, as some cynic noted) the party threw of its low-key approach and mounted a counter-charge through its official media to rally public opinion.
    Google and frens have walked into a “trap” that some blogger was flailing his arms about.
    Now, there may be a case for better regulation (not abolition) of censorship in China. But while netizens may chafe at the nanny state, they have no fondness – perhaps even a greater dislike – for foreign manipulation.
    So once again the Chinese govt is the defender of national honour and integrity. Google, in Chinese eyes, looks more like the poster child for another round of China-bashing by the US.
    It was always a straight-up business decision – trying to get a bite of someone else’s lunch because it entered the market late – wrapped in pithy language about human rights, freedom, privacy,etc. But now that Bill Gates has, more or less, said that he’s happy to fill any void with Bing in line with local law, that leaves Google less wriggle room out of their own mess without losing face.
    Moral of story – Confucius say, fledgling Google Republic should not play-play with 5,000 year civilisation-state.
    Inspires me to watch the coming movie, even tho not fond of Chow Yunfat.

  12. scl Says:

    I am no longer surprised by the Western media’s predisposition of jumping on any issue related to China, and playing the roles of prosecutor, jury, and judge all in one. They did not hesitate for a moment to accept everything Google said at face value, and never asked a single question, such as “Why was Google so sure about who really attacked them?”, “Did Google cook its books?”, “Why did Google do this just before its founders were about to sell their Google stocks?”

    I think Charles Liu was right. U.S. hackers probably carry out the highest number of hacks in the world every year. For those who has the patience, you probably can dig out the numbers from http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls

    As for freedom of speech, the supreme court just decided that there should be no limit on corporation donations to election candidates, because it would be a violation of “the freedom of speech” otherwise. But it does not really matter, because the senators and house representatives are always bought by the rich and the powerful anyway.

  13. Ted Says:

    @ Allen: I agree with SK, the use of Google is a choice and as a company they have every right to protect their “secret sauce”, based on your comment I’m guessing we would fall on different sides of a discussion about Atlas Shrugged. I will give more credence to Google’s press release in this situation for the same reason I would by default side with a company pointing a finger at the US govt. for any wrong doing, e.g. warrant-less wiretapping under Bush.

    The politicians may be playing politics but I disagree with the notion that Google is. Google likely felt threatened for the same reasons that many other foreign companies in China feel threatened, everyone wants what they have and I can think of no group in China aside from the Government more interested in the technology Google has to offer. Given the importance of the Chinese market I don’t think Google’s decision to pull out was taken lightly, if their core competencies are threatened then there is no question the right business decision is to leave.

    Maybe China just isn’t ready for a company like Google. Despite the picture you painted about Google’s control of information, the company has arguably done more to connect people to information than any other company in recent history. If you would like to argue that certain people are unhappy that others can access anything they like then I’ll certainly agree. I sure don’t want wackos accessing bomb-making websites but I’m also comfortable enough with my country’s legal system and the protections we have in place to allow a company like Google to operate. If you feel like the Chinese Government or China’s political/legal system has not reached this point then I think this discussion may gain some traction.

    My belief is it that the move was strategic, if Baidu intends to be Google’s competition in the long run then it’s best to leave them locked up behind the great firewall. China’s attempt to control information will turn into a buffer that prevents its technology companies from competing in an open market. Besides, Baidu, Youku, lord knows how many technology companies in China are breaking Chinese and international copyright laws on a daily basis with nary a word from the Government. Why give the country hundreds of millions of dollars and highly trained employees when the government is cutting you off at the knees? I think herein lies your simple truth.

  14. Li Denghui Says:

    Allen, I’m sorry you deleted my first comment. It would, however, be nice to see you present two sides of an issue, or take an unpredictable position, or even write an unexpected sentence every now and then.

    Charles – you are a 5 mao communist party plant and you should go back to China and maybe get a girlfriend or something.

  15. Li Denghui Says:

    scl, you too. Your crude post has anti-cnn written all over it. Get an opinion of your own, you worthless little rat.

  16. BoBaaTi Says:

    The title of this post is incredibly biased, and paints the picture in the same colors of black and white that the author decries. Google vs. “China”? No, Google vs. the CCP’s outdated, condescending policies. And not just Google, a good chunk of the Chinese population is with Google on this.

  17. tanjin Says:

    #15

    As this google drama continues to play out under public light, a growing large chunk of Chinese is saying to google officials “GET OUT OF CHINA IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE”

    During the earlier days of this drama, you saw some young people lay flowers out google’s office in Beijing, now you don’t see that anymore. People instead is dumping shit there and breaking marble tile around google’s signage.

  18. Nimrod Says:

    It may have something to do with Google not actually leaving, making the whole affair a shenanigan.

  19. Charles Liu Says:

    Allen, are personal insult like comment 14 allowed?

    LTH @ 13, if you have proof of your accusation I’d like to see it. No one pays me, 50 cent or any other amount. Also please show me how I can “go back” to somewhere I ain’t from?

    The recent corporate attack had command & control in Taiwan is a fact (cites highlighted here). As to who does the most hacking, here’s an article on it (if you can’t read Chinese I’ve translated it.)

  20. jxie Says:

    A couple of my cents.

    I. About Google.

    Google sometimes is tougher to read than a typical corporation since it has the dual-class share structure. Was it a move to maximize shareholder value, or was it just an idealistic co-founder had an epiphany driven by his own family experience and preconceived notions about a foreign country he seemingly has little knowledge of? For a single-class corporation, with a co-founder holds the percentage of shares like what Brin holds, you can pretty much rule out the latter.

    Google’s business is far less sticky than some of the other tech companies, such as Ebay and Microsoft (its core buisness). One click you are in and the next click you are are out. It relies on, in a nutshell, the perception of that it’s good, and it’s cool. People who often criticize its confusing motto of “don’t be evil”, or its space program, or even some of its fringe business programs that seem to be losing money, are not getting it. All these are meant to build up the image that Google is cool.

    Today Google’s secret sauce, I am afraid, isn’t much different than Coca Cola’s secret formula. It has far more perceptional value than technical merit. Wow, Google Earth is so cool? Get this, it pretty much bought the technology from an outfit called Keyhole and gave the team a much bigger budget. It might have some long-term business vision built around it, but for the time being, it’s all about it being cool to your average net surfers.

    Having said all these, I still think the real motivation might still not be a PR stunt, it still might be a case of an idealistic co-founder — I would assign it less than 10% of probability.

    Atlas shrugged? Searching in Chinese, Google is losing to Baidu. Somebody might’ve shrugged, but certainly not Atlas.

    II. About China’s GFW

    Now that’s a bad idea, and it’s a bad architecture. You are committing to something that will be more and more difficult and costly to manage. You produce too much collateral damages, blocking out too much perfectly legal & useful contents, and you add too much network issues such as high latency. I sort of understand where it comes from — the idea of “information dominance”, i.e. Chinese narratives can’t compete with some other narratives hence need protection.

    One of the earliest markets opened to the outside was telecom equipment market, for the simple reason that in the 80s there was no domestic telecom equipment makers. Look at it today, the largest telecom equipment maker in the world is Huawei, with ZTE not very far behind. If not for the US protectionism and Cisco’s non-organic growth, Huawei would’ve been larger than Cisco. Huawei started as a foreign telecom equipment reseller in Shenzhen in 1988.

    On the other hands, the domestic automobile makers albeit weak still existed and functional in the 80s, hence to many it needed “protections”. They were crap for most of the 80s, 90s and early 00s. Miraculously after China committed to reduce auto import tariffs, all of sudden domestic car makers started to be more competitive. Today BYD is like Huawei 10 years ago — it has the same kind of growth, drive and vision.

    Russia has its own distinctive narratives too. It’s not blocking or filtering contents beyond making certain contents illegal. Yet most Russians still gravitate toward the Russian narratives in hot-button issues such as Georgia, Chechen, Orange Revolution, etc. Chinese won’t be any different — other than my money is that they will be far more competitive. At the end of the day, you have to trust the inner strength of your people and your own civilization.

    Make a plan. For instance, tear down the wall completely in 5 years.

  21. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Google’s corporate motto has come under examination, here on this blogpost, elsewhere on this blog, and in points beyond. It’s a catchy motto, and certainly reflects well on whichever PR consulting firm Google paid to come up with it. However, it’s only a motto, and not some legal obligation. One assumes otherwise at one’s own peril.

    Just as a reasonable response to Nike’s ubiquitous “Just Do It” tagline might be “do what?”, so too that one could ask of Google, “what’s evil?”. And therein lies the crux of the matter. Even if you assume that Google takes it own motto deathly seriously, Google’s moral compass only need point to places where she is “doing no evil” in her own eyes. If someone doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Google on what constitutes “evil”, well, that’s just the way it goes.

    If Google ever ventured to do something that she herself would consider evil, that would truly be ironic. Much more likely is that she may do something that others might find problematic. And that would be Google’s prerogative. As has been suggested, “doing no evil” for Google means doing what’s best for her shareholders.

    So, to answer your questions:
    “what is to prevent Google…. from becoming “bad”? —- nothing, and Google gets to define what’s “bad”.

    “What is to prevent Google from censoring results in a way that is non-neutral but that it privately deems “good”?” — absolutely nothing, since Google would definitely be “doing no evil” in her own eyes in such a scenario.

    “What is to prevent Google from misusing private information that it has regarding individuals like you and me?” — Google, and whatever applicable laws are out there.

    “Should the world rely on for-profit corporations to preach what is “good” and what is “evil”?” — That would be for the world to choose. Just because someone is preaching it doesn’t mean others have to buy it. But I remain thankful for being afforded such choice.

    I’m not sure what constitutes the “standard” for free speech. I think most everyone agrees that there is no “absolute” free speech. So in any given place, one likely finds oneself somewhere on the spectrum of free speech. What suits one may not suit another. That’s neither good, nor evil. But getting to choose what suits you might be better, and the alternative, worse.

  22. wuming Says:

    jxie,

    Very interesting takes on the issue. However I am not as confident that China can hold its own in an information media war. The media industry (which Goggle is a part) and the financial service industry are two pillars of the western economy and the western culture. China’s media industry and the financial industry are still far far behind their counterparts in the west (in the financial industry case, thank gods for that). The fact that “Avatar” rendered Chinese movie makers speechless is an example of this large gap. During the Beijing Olympics, NBC production was far superior than CCTV.

    Politically, the focus of an western establishment is its image, while China is still focusing on building the substance (railroads and steel mills). Therefore China is not only behind US and Europe in terms of manipulation of information and media, Chinese establishment simply is not oriented to cope with an information war. No wonder that in the early days of Google-China conflict, Chinese government couldn’t come up with a stand which would only take an American government a couple of hours to conjure.

  23. admin Says:

    @Li Denghui

    Your comment was not deleted by Allen. It was deleted by one of our editors. I put your comment #4 back in its original form so everyone can see what an ugly comment it is. You will be banned from this site If you leave that kind of comment again.

    @editors
    Please leave a note when you delete a comment so the process is transparent. Thank you.

  24. Steve Says:

    @ Li Denghui #4: I wasn’t the editor who deleted your comment but if I had seen it first, I would have and left you a pretty strong explanation as to why. I might not agree with Allen and Charles on some or even most topics but what you wrote was way out of line. You managed in two paragraphs to breach virtually every blog etiquette rule possible. It’s impossible to fire a broadside when you’ve already scuttled your own ship.

  25. r v Says:

    wuming,

    Information warfare is based upon deception and confidence, but so is all warfare, including economic warfare.

    While one may have technological advantages in warfare, ultimately, technologies are no replacement for old fashion raw confidence and self-image.

    Some Chinese people may fall prey to propaganda from the West, but I believe those are far few in between.

    Why? West may offer the dream of better lives, but that dream is fading away.

    As China catches up slowly in economics, fewer Chinese see the Western way of life as a real alternative to the Chinese way.

    As more and more countries that followed the West fall into economic and social chaos, Chinese see the result of the deceptions.

    We are reminded in the reality of World Politics, High Mighty sounding words from far away do not amount to enough straws to make a rope, by which one can climb out of one’s own predicaments.

  26. r v Says:

    If one must learn about “freedom”, one needs to see Google’s own controversies to see how “freedom” is often at the expense of others.

    Google scans in books and put them up on their own site.

    Google does this, without asking for the permission of the copyright owners, in many cases.

    But Google says, it does this, to make things “free” for everyone, in the spirit of “freedom of information.”

    What Google does not say, is that, naturally, it stands to make $millions from the traffic generated.

    *It’s so easy to claim to champion for “freedom”, when the price is paid by others.

    So, who cares about “social stability” in China, when politicians in the West can win campaigns, or Google can get more users.

    Yes, Google will guarantee your “freedom” and your “privacy” on their servers, until they decide, they can generate more traffic by selling you out.

    Perhaps you think, Oh, I can sue Google, if that happens?

    You think Google wouldn’t retaliate? think again, see here for the Google vs. eBay mutual retaliations.

    http://www.ipadrblog.com/2007/06/articles/ip-adr/tit-for-tat-the-googleebay-pillow-fight/

    eBay was Google’s customer, and Google retaliates.

    China is Google’s customer, and Google threatens.

    What’s a few individuals suing Google? Pebbles in the road.

  27. Allen Says:

    Some very good points folks.

    A random thought as I read through this. I wonder if there are “natural choke points” in information flows as there are “natural monpolies” in the marketplace.

    It seems to be a natural conditions that human beings go to trusted resources for their information. The trusted resources may be created by the marketplace – or government. In the U.S., traditional media such as ABC, NBC, CBS – and New York Times, Washington Post, etc. – became such choke points. Google is becoming the new “choke point” for to access good legitimate information.

    If this is true – that is societies will inevitably require and form natural choke points for information flow – the question is should such choke points – like financial institutions – be regulated? That these institutions should be regulated seems fair to me. If banks are too important to the functioning of society, surely these information portals are just as important – if not more so. A failure of information can lead to mis-allocation of precious of resources – even war.

    Perhaps we can argue how critical choke points of information portals ought to be regulated – but are there people who still think that these institutions should get a free ride from regulation – like the banks have been getting a free ride over the past decade or so?

  28. r v Says:

    Under U.S. anti-trust laws, large companies like Bell, if became too monopolistic by virtue of their own network effects, should be broken up, rather than to allowed to continue to grow.

    These are not “natural monopolies”, but artificial. “Natural monopolies” mean monopolies that rise because of scarcity of natural resources or space, for example, utility companies, which cannot be easily broken up into smaller companies.

    “Natural monopolies”, under US laws are to be strictly regulated by pseudo-public entities. Most if not all of US utility companies are publicly managed entities.

    Google, is an artificial monopoly. That is it gains market share by virtue of its own business strategies, and that there is always a possibility that some better technologies will come along and take away Google’s monopoly hold.

    But that does not mean that Google is safe. If Google attempts to prevent competition by using its monopoly power, then it would be in violation of anti-trust laws.

    However, the kind of information warfare that Google sometimes resort to, maybe on the edge of legality.

    Surly, if a search site purposefully mislabels some contents, or purposefully highlight some contents (dirt on someone), such things should be almost amounting to defamation or “false light violation of privacy.”

    A recent case against Yahoo, has a woman who sued Yahoo because her name, when searched, came up with nothing but pornographic websites.

    Of course, one can easily conceive a scenario where a computer search program gives undesirable offensive result.

    But what about the lawsuits where Google sold “adwords” of trademarked words to non-trademark owners?

    Some of these lawsuits were made under Trademark laws, but I believe the more appropriate laws to apply are the anti-trust laws. That is, Google is using its monopoly powers to anti-competitive effects.

    Afterall, Google’s “adwords” are nothing at all, until Google achieved some amount of monopoly. Once Google achieves some monopoly, its “adwords” are its extension of monopoly. And by selling some extensions of its monopoly, Google is effectively attempting to increase its monopoly by setting off a bidding war between its customers, to the exclusion of the losers.

    Imagine if Google was Standard Oil, and Standard Oil says to its customers, I will sell oil/(1 specific adword) to only the highest bidders. That would be unfair competition, and unlawful monopolistic practice.

  29. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To RV #26:
    the Google Reader discussion is a perfect example not of “evil”, but of who gets to define “evil”. In this case, all the authors whose works are being expropriated without royalties paid probably find Google’s actions, if not her motives, somewhat less than noble. Does Google honestly believe in the righteousness of her actions in the name of “freedom of information”? Tough to say. But if it generates user traffic, then it’s probably a pretty righteous thing to do in the name of her shareholders. And in this case, the courts will get to decide how well Google has defined “evil”, or at least the absence thereof.

    As for “social stability” in China, ultimately and practically, the CCP will get to decide on the righteousness of Google’s interpretation thereof. Whether Google decides to stay or leave will at most account for 50% of the equation that ultimately determines if she gets to stay at all. WRT “evil” in the context of social stability, however, I’d be less moved by Google’s definition, or the CCP’s; I’d much rather have the definition of the PRC citizenry. But that’s not going to be forthcoming any time soon.

  30. alessandro Says:

    SK Cheung..have u got a US citizenry definition of what the “war on terrorism” is or should be, and if it’s right or not….which is not affected by US media and US government?
    On social stability u already have a PRC citizenry definition…fact is u choose not to see it, cause it doesn’t fit what u’d like….I do not know if u can read chinese or not, but PRC citizenry is much more open, critic and frank than u give it credit for

  31. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “have u got a US citizenry definition of what the “war on terrorism” is or should be, and if it’s right or not….which is not affected by US media and US government?” — with precision, focused only on that one phrase? Nope. The closest Americans seem to have indicated is that, at least as of November 2008, the majority preferred Obama’s position on that issue, and a host of others. And this November, they get to indicate how much they still prefer Obama’s position on that and a host of other issues, if at all. If your point is that it is impractical to expect to canvass PRC citizens on “social stability” alone, that’s certainly fair. I’d prefer that PRC citizens be canvassed on “social stability” in conjunction with a host of other issues anyway.

    “On social stability u already have a PRC citizenry definition” — I’m not familiar with said definition. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

    I’m encouraged that PRC citizens have the capacity for criticism. I’d be more encouraged if there was a mechanism with which they could translate such criticism. It should be clear that my objections aren’t directed at PRC citizens.

  32. r v Says:

    some people would call “definitions” too “literal.”

    As such, I don’t think discussions of “definitions” with these people would bring definitions to forthcoming, vote or no vote.

    I can shove an English dictionary in some people’s faces, and it would still be not enough.

    Why don’t we put the Dictionary to a vote for that matter? Why should anyone accept what Merriam-Webster says? Let’s just criticize the imperfection of the English language to death.

    So, as a result, even simple English words will not be “forth coming” any time soon.

    Which is the logical result of Democratic chaos.

    I’m encouraged that most PRC citizens have the capacity to withhold criticism, which is more than I can say for the mindless overpaid political drones on US Capital Hill.

  33. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “some people would call “definitions” too “literal.”” — that may well be true. I, however, simply tend to call some people “too literal”. I suspect those people know who they are. Then again, maybe not.

    If either you or Alessandro have a PRC citizenry definition of “social stability”, I’m all ears. For this, I don’t think the Webster’s Unabridged will be of much assistance to you. And just so we’re clear, I’m not referring to the CCP party line.

    “Why don’t we put the Dictionary to a vote for that matter?” — that would be a fantastic argument if we were discussing voting as a means of determining the definition of a word (or a dictionary full of words, for that matter). Sadly, that’s not what we’re discussing…well, certainly not what I was discussing. I can never be quite sure of what it is you’re discussing, however. And this might be a good time to look over the first paragraph of this comment again.

    “even simple English words will not be “forth coming” any time soon” — thanks for the heads up. I’ll remind myself to look elsewhere for an intelligent argument.

    “Which is the logical result of Democratic chaos.” — ironically, you can’t be using “logical result” literally here, cuz I’m not seeing much logic, nor much of a result.

    “I’m encouraged that most PRC citizens have the capacity to withhold criticism” — I guess the CCP has “trained” them well.

  34. r v Says:

    I see no “all ears” forthcoming.

    That Western Democratic training certainly does show. All criticism and no ears.

  35. alessandro Says:

    I for one don’t see much difference between Obama’s actions (on Afghanistan and other issues) and Bush’s ones (regardless of Obama’s words, which he is very good at)…
    I’ve got no time to give u an accelerated course in chinese language or politics or sociocultural issues…but the fact that u can’t read chinese (from ur words I take it that u can’t..correct me if I’m wrong) and so u can’t see what and how much criticism is being made, and how much it affects local and central government decisions (one thing I also note in ur posts is ur ignorance about the difference between different levels of the administration in China..that makes u reconduct everything to the “evil” central government..which in reality is not at all evil, it’s simply a government) should make u think twice before making so strong statements about something u seem not to know.
    One example: for the so called “green dam” filter ( about which, as usual, misinformed, prejudiced and biased western media have written a lot of BS) for porn and the like (which was only a very bad designed filtering software, that the final user of the computer could have activated or disactivated as he pleased) there have been A LOT of criticism, also quite harsh and ironic one, from schools, parents, magazines (“Caijing” for one)..criticizing the decision, the fact the the communications ministry had spent a lot of money on a clearly bad designed and badly functioning software and so on…and in the end the measure has been halted and put aside. What also western media failed to tell (making it appear as if it had been kept secret till the last minute and coming suddenly from nowhere) is that the experimentation of such software in schools had gone on for quite some years before the decision to implement it was made.
    So in China the measure has been tested for some time, receiving harsh criticism and has been put aside in the end..while western media as usual played the “evil communists” game…While I read that Australia have been testing much stricter kind of filtering from the net, and also India is doing something about that..but nobody on our media ever cried for this…

  36. alessandro Says:

    SK Cheung…have u got a US citizenry definition of “war on terrorism”? And, more importantly, do u have a US citizenry definition of that same issue which takes into account the reality and not the tales ur media daily tell u? I keep on suggesting u…if u can’t read chinese and only have to rely on english language news (usually very very biased), I’d be very careful in going on with this issue..cause u clearly lack the knowledge to discuss it. As for social stability..there are different opinions on what that is…but u should know it is normally seen as a very important issue in east-asian society…since LONG LONG LONG before 1949….

  37. alessandro Says:

    “I’m encouraged that most PRC citizens have the capacity to withhold criticism” — I guess the CCP has “trained” them well.”

    Well, I’m instead quite sure, considering the way u talk and what u say, that u’ve been well trained and brain-washed by ur media and ur government propaganda on these…and quite possibly on other issues…
    If u think u’r not subjected to training, propaganda and lack of information just cause u live there…well, u’d better think twice…

  38. pug_ster Says:

    I don’t know if anybody mentions this. But it seems that it is partically Google’s fault in this hacking incident.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/01/23/schneier.google.hacking/

    According to the article.

    In order to comply with government search warrants on user data, Google created a backdoor access system into Gmail accounts. This feature is what the Chinese hackers exploited to gain access.

    I don’t think it is sophisticated as what the Western Media thinks. This is the same kind of information that the US would get in a response to a subpoena.

  39. jxie Says:

    @wuming, #22

    However I am not as confident that China can hold its own in an information media war. The media industry (which Goggle is a part) and the financial service industry are two pillars of the western economy and the western culture. China’s media industry and the financial industry are still far far behind their counterparts in the west (in the financial industry case, thank gods for that). The fact that “Avatar” rendered Chinese movie makers speechless is an example of this large gap. During the Beijing Olympics, NBC production was far superior than CCTV.

    Feng Xiaogang, whom I consider the best director in the world now, on Avatar “我看了,觉得挺好,但也没什么特别的,中国电影人不用因此检讨。” Feng might’ve been thinking to himself, “give me $500 mil production and marketing budget, I will…” Ok, I am conjecturing here.

    If memory serves me, in 1990, China’s teledensity was at about 2%, when Korea’s was in 40% and the US was near 80%. If you had told me then in 20 years, the biggest telecom company in the world would’ve been a Chinese one, I would’ve called you dreaming. See, I know a few Huawei’ers. A family friend of mine works for Huawei, as a field engineer who travels to countries in places like Africa & South America. (Imagine that, a female engineer worked in some Islamic countries…) They charge less, deliver more and work harder. They are like the frontier Tang/Song merchants who left good will among the people they visited. Don’t under-estimate the good will worldwide left by the ubiquitous traveling Chinese, if there is a media war between China and whomever… But I digress.

    Huawei is a privately owned company, so is ZTE. On the other hand, the laggard Datang is an SOE. Tear down that wall and make it fair. I am sure pretty soon, some private Chinese media companies (not CCTV) will outshine them all.

    Speaking of which, companies like Huawei, BYD (the founder gave some of his shares away to his employees) have their distinctive corporate cultures. Can’t quite sum the cultures up yet, but I somehow think if Confucius was alive, he would identify more with their style, than say Goldman Sacks’.

  40. scl Says:

    To my Falun Gong friend: none of the quoted statements was made by me. I am just the messenger. Please direct your fire elsewhere.

    This is from Foreign Policy, the article basically says that the internet will be permanently fractured http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/26/the_chinese_internet_century:

    “The fact is that the majority of Chinese simply don’t care, giving the government even less incentive to change its ways. Technologically savvy Chinese “netizens” — if that term even has meaning in a place like China — find ways to fan qiang (scale the “Great Firewall”), but most users, like their counterparts elsewhere, are more interested in entertainment gossip, pirated MP3s, and updates from their friends than missives from Falun Gong or the latest report from Human Rights Watch. U.S. State Department spending on proxy servers or technologies that hide users’ identities temporarily allow some Chinese greater access to information online, but won’t substantially change the underlying dynamics.”

  41. Raj Says:

    I offer you a chance for a rethink. If you are truly concerned about government censorship, you should be equally uncomfortable with the way Google has monopolized the way we access information.

    No one has to use Google – there are alternatives. It’s like complaining of Coca-Cola’s massive share of the soft drinks’ market despite the fact people buy it because they like it. In contrast no one asks the Chinese government to censor their internet search results (and you can hardly vote them out if you disagree with their policy). And perhaps more importantly the Chinese government has the same policy regarding information on the internet whichever company it is.

    So really any criticisms about how Google works aren’t relevant towards whether Google has actually done the right thing in pulling out. And I think they have done the right thing as keeping the censored version of Google gave credibility to the filtered search results, despite the vague warning about government policy and how search results might be affected.

  42. r v Says:

    Before every stuffy staunchy net hacks get more overbloated, let’s get some facts straight:

    (1) Google hasn’t done changed anything in China, except make some speeches. Google China is operating still, WITH the same censors.

    (2) Google hasn’t pulled out of China yet. (they are negotiating)

    *and I will explore Google’s inconsistent story next.

  43. alessandro Says:

    Ehm, Raj…Google’s still there….
    As for voting out….well, it depends if voting out a “face” changes policies….As for now, having voted out Bush doesn’t seem to have changed much policies regarding Afghanistan and Iraq, for example…So, the face has changed, but the politic (which counts more than face)? Paul Krugman has very recently said that “Obama has embraced the same political views of the man he defeated in 2008″…
    Fact is that chinese people life has become better and better, and keeps becoming better and better…That’s something that counts more than faces (that changes anyway in China as well). When the chinese will be tired of this, they’ll drive them away…they’ve never ever had much of a problem in revolting and making revolutions in their history. But for the moment they’re content and satisfied this way. I don’t really see why anyone from outside should force on them a change they don’t neither need nor want.

  44. r v Says:

    Google’s inconsistent stories on China: Google perhaps should filter its own management’s talking heads.

    Google first sounded off the news that it was hacked from China in an “official google blog,” posted by Google’s Chief Legal Counsel, David Drummond.

    In this blog, Google apparently sought to “take the unusual step” of sharing some very bad information, and evidently very self-contradictory and being unusually vague.

    (1) The blog starts out sharing about the “attack”, that is claimed to have stolen “intellectual property of Google”.

    What “intellectual property”? Not sure.

    Google doesn’t own much of intellectual property, except for its source codes involving its search engine. And one can’t exactly download search engine source codes from the web.

    Other Google IP’s are just their webpage looks, which anyone can find, without the use of any hacks.

    (2) then the blog claims that the attacks were aimed at other companies as well.

    Stealing their “IP” as well? Through a hack on the “internet”, that series of tubes?

    (3) the blog claims that the REAL objectives of the attacks were to “access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.”???!!!

    As I recall, and Google’s head lawyer David Drummond should be well aware of, Google’s “term of use” explicitly renounced all IP interests in the Gmail accounts of its users.

    So what is this mysterious “Google IP” that the hackers were trying to steal, in order to access the Gmail accounts of HR activists?

    Some top secret software program that can backdoor into any Gmail account?

    (4) then the blog explains, independent of attacks, other Chinese HR activists’ Gmail accounts were discovered to be regularly accessed (unlawfully) by “third parties”, “most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.”!!!

    Well, of course, they did say “independent of”, because frankly, I get a lot of phishing scam emails in my Gmail accounts, and I’m not stupid enough to click on these emails, (which Gmail actually filters regularly).

    But one does wonder, why bring up something like this, so unrelated? Phishing scam and Malware? Those are hardly new.

    (5) The blog also claims that the attacks did not succeed, and only 2 gmail accounts were accessed to get to the “creation date”, and “subject lines” of the account emails.

    (6) the rumored attack tool used was a weakness in the Windows Explorer, which “showed up when computer users visited “specially crafted” web pages created using IE.”

    In other words, some HR activist idiot was browsing a phishing website, and got burnt. Why would an activist want to visit a phishing website? Maybe some Chinese hackers ambushed them, by creating a fake HR website.

    (7) Google recently posted a “security investigator/analyst” position on its job board.

    Makes one wonder, who did all the supposedly investigations for the recent attacks?

    The fact of the matter is, Google has a virtually non-existent internal security team. (Part of the result of the “collegiate atmosphere” Google attempts to sell).

    Leading one blogger commenting, “The only surprise around this job listing is that a company the size/value of Google does not already have someone policing its assets.”

    (8) another blog reveals, “Google collects information about all of its users all of the time and in a format that enables it to easily had it over to any government agency that orders a search warrant.” and supposedly, the hackers access the Google’s own “spy program”.

    So that’s what David Drummond meant by Google’s IP!

    Hmmm… I can see why that’s hard to explain. China is so evil that it stole data meticulously collected by Google’s secret espionage program!

    (9) what’s unusual with Google’s blog is that it was posted by their lawyer!

    Carefully crafted, no doubt to avoid spilling the beans on some shady operations at Google.

    As a lawyer, I translate some of the lawyer speak.

    “Investigation”: We know but we don’t want to tell you.

    “much bigger global debate about freedom of speech”: Some one else is more at fault than us, debate about them, instead of us.

    “We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised”: Take our word for it, you won’t get much else from us.

  45. Charles Liu Says:

    rv @ 44, on point (4), the fact Google’s on-going investigation of constant phishing scam is completely tangental to the spat of targeted corporate attacks using the zero-day exploit, is very easly missed because our media gloss over this very important fact, in order to lump things together to arrive at the same old “Red China” bit.

    Citations are posted here, as well as comment 19.

  46. r v Says:

    I believe, a company doesn’t bring out its lawyers to do the talking, unless it’s already in some trouble.

    Which means, there is something scandelous going on at Google during this whole affair.

  47. r v Says:

    My opinion on the Google negotiations with the Chinese government: Hmmm… Time to test the People’s faith in their champions in the American Geeks/businessmen vs. the Chinese government?

    Google is a business, with many employees and many stockholders.

    There lies the nature of a business, the self-interest of a big business.

    There lies the method to the possible ways out for Google.

    For Google to pull out of China, only a “clean cut to one’s arm” is the only way to save itself, which means a total loss of its initial investment in China. (I would venture to say, Google is not that crazy. Hardball 1.)

    For Google to negotiate even a partial withdraw from China, will cost China virtually nothing.

    A partial withdraw would probably result in the form of Google “spinoff” its Chinese search website Google.cn to a competitor in China (a company that is more favorably looked upon by Chinese government, say Baidu, with Chinese government approval). All Google.cn assets will be essentially sold off, and Google may even be required to license much of its search engine code in the sale.

    (If Google refuses to license its code, China doesn’t have to approve its spinoff. Google will take a total loss! Hardball 2.) (Of course, Google’s code would be far more valuable than its initial investment in China, but that’s not accounting for Google’s other businesses in China, such as the new phones.)

    (Hardball 3: China can run Google out of China completely, Google takes a total loss of all of its pending businesses in China, including its upcoming but delayed Nexus One.)

    So, China’s point of view, what’s there to negotiate with Google? Right now, there are plenty of companies that want to take Google’s position in China, and are willing to eat up Google China’s dead corporate carcass. The Chinese government would hardly need to clean itself up after.

    Google’s best choice and most sensible choice: a partial withdraw and license away some of its code. At least Google will be able to claim that it no longer operates a search site that censors results in China, even if it sells the technology to do so in China.

  48. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To #35:
    I can read Chinese…just not the simplified stuff.

    Like I said in the last paragraph of #31, it’s fantastic that Chinese in China are voicing their criticisms of this/that/and the other. But as I also said in that paragraph, they need a way to make that criticism count. And as I’ve learned, some special regions have some local elections. But it’s hardly a systematic thing. So I think there’s still quite a long way to go before people have a means of expressing themselves AND having such expression matter. Your Green Dam example is a good one. Have you got others? Right now that seems like the exception. Hopefully someday a situation like that will become the rule.

    You’re welcome to raise a stink about Australian filtering software. But trying to say that “China isn’t so bad because so and so is doing the same thing”, though a popular argument around here, is rather pointless. We’re talking about China, and not comparing China to something else (well, at least I’m not).

    To #36:
    I already answered you in #31. So I’m not sure what asking the same question again achieves.

    “takes into account the reality” — that’s a good one. And whose reality are you referring to? You seem to think that your “reality” is more “real” than someone else’s, and that views contrary to yours don’t measure up. Of course, that’s your prerogative. But you should also have surmised that I probably wouldn’t trade yesterday’s newspaper for your “reality”.

    Oh yes, English news is “very biased”. Gosh, haven’t we heard that before. Only problem is that the definition of “biased” seems to be any news presented in a way that you happen to find disagreeable. And yet again, that is hardly my concern.

    As for your area of supposed expertise, I’m still at a loss, cuz you’ve really yet to say much of anything of substance. Thanks for your advice, btw. I’ll be sure to store it in the appropriate file….and the circular one seems like a good choice.

    To #37:
    hey, another class act. It’s actually been a while since anyone on either side has thrown out a “brain-washed”. I guess it Retro day at FM. For that, you should be especially proud.

    To #34:
    still waiting…though obviously I know better than to be holding my breath.

  49. my mother Says:

    On the lighter side of this whole Google shenanigan. Got Google toilet paper?

    http://news.qq.com/a/20091126/002125.htm

    To echo someone else’s sentiment, I too wonder “what Google feels like on my butt”.

    I hope they’ll do a fine job at cleaning up the “evil mess” I left behind. Then again, maybe my mess isn’t so evil after all — Google just want me to think it is, so I’d use their toilet paper. Crafty indeed.

  50. r v Says:

    to #48:

    “still waiting…though obviously I know better than to be holding my breath.”

    obvious not enough to avoid your usual cliches.

  51. S.K. Cheung Says:

    And obviously I’m still waiting. I think it can be quite illustrative to note what a person chooses to respond to, and what a person would evidently rather not respond to. And such an illustration may not always be a sight to behold.

  52. r v Says:

    A man with no ears will indeed wait a long time to hear what he wants to hear.

  53. Allen Says:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LA28Ad01.html

  54. rolf Says:

    Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) — Google Inc. Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said his company opposes censorship in China and aims to apply pressure to improve the situation for the country’s people.

    “We love what China is doing as a country and its growth,” Schmidt said today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We just don’t like the censorship. We hope to apply some negotiation or pressure to make things better for the Chinese people.”

  55. Charles Liu Says:

    Hmmm, “your laws don’t apply to us” sounds like extraterritoriality. Ah the good old days of colonialism.

  56. dewang Says:

    If the Chinese people and the Chinese government have their marketing hats on, they ought to capitalize on this Google stunt and maximize the simple message that Google is arrogantly trying to undermine Chinese law. This message should be spread far and wide in all languages wherever there are receptive ears.

    If Google simply gets a slap on the wrist, then Google would never have learned a lesson. I then expect other cocky corporations to pull similar stunts in the future – with other poor countries, too.

    Baidu should capitalize on the Chinese sentiment to get that 12% or whatever marketshare google.cn has, and then to eat away that 10-15% google.com gets. I for one am in favor of the Chinese government blocking google.com as long as google.com continues to make available porno. Google builds these $1billion facilities in order to be able to crawl under every rock all over this planet to find EVERY porno available in order to make $$$. Why would anyone want bestiality with monkeys or any of that weird stuff delivered on a silver platter. Yes, censorship costs Google revenue. But, don’t be evil!

  57. Allen Says:

    @Dewang #56,

    Hehe – I didn’t know someone could get more worked up than me on this blog! ;-)

    I still hope all will be well in the end. Google is a good company. Google’s participation in the Chinese market will only make all market participants that much better – and Chinese consumers that much better off.

    In terms of sending a message to Google – if the big Chinese media companies all simply gang up to refuse Google robots to crawl their sites – Google will automatically become irrelevant to Chinese consumers. That can be done with a simple mandate from the government. That can be applied to google.cn as well as google.com.

    But I don’t think we are there yet. Google is a new company. China is building a new economy. I’m only dismayed that Google has decided to play the politics card for now.

    P.S. idea to make Google irrelevant in China is inspired by http://calacanis.com/2009/11/09/how-to-kill-google-or-take-10-points-of-search-search-share-in-six-months/

  58. dewang Says:

    Hi Allen, #57,

    Haha, yeah, I’ve been following this Google BS way too much.

    Wow, blocking Google’s crawlers idea is so much easier indeed. Thx for sharing that.

    The other thing I was thinking along the lines of what you raised in the OP – I wonder now how much censorship Google applies to it’s page ranks. If the Chinese perspective on Tibet is ranked 100th and some obscure separatist groups is ranked 3rd, that is essentially censorship in practice.

    Now we apply that towards any issue on this planet.

    In the long run, I think it may not even make sense for Google to be dominant anywhere except within the U.S. borders.

  59. Charles Liu Says:

    “get more worked up than me ” – oh boy I can’t wait for someone to mention “radicalization”…

  60. r v Says:

    Google’s page ranks are based upon some “mystery formula” that no one knows, except for the head geeks who wrote the algo, (I’m an old friend with 1 of them).

    That page ranking process is not transparent, and recently, Google got sued by a company that got dropped by a change in Google’s page rank system.

    As far as the law is concerned, Google’s page ranks are Google’s “opinions”, and thus protected by Commercial Speech.

    But many governments, including US, are starting to wonder if Google’s “opinions” are too much monopoly power over the internet.

    By analogy, one can easily see perhaps that US has too much monopoly power over the internet as well.

    *BTW, monopolies are evil, they don’t want competitions. They should be shut down and broken up. And shutting down a monopoly is not “censorship.”

  61. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “*BTW, monopolies are evil, they don’t want competitions. They should be shut down and broken up. And shutting down a monopoly is not “censorship.””
    —- now that’s true irony, especially when applied to the Chinese political system.

    To Charles #55:
    ““your laws don’t apply to us”” —- did someone at Google actually say that?

  62. r v Says:

    I personally think that tons of Chinese internet companies would just imitate Google, if Google leaves China.

    Already some sites like Goojjie are popping up.

    They will have their own page ranking systems, imitating Google’s, but suiting their own.

    Google has no idea how quick it would be replaced, especially because it only has some 30% of the Chinese market.

    As for denial of Google’s webcrawler, it is simple.

    Tons of free software out there that can block specific segments of IP addresses. Google servers are easy to find. Chinese government can just block all of Google’s servers from ever connecting to the Chinese internet.

  63. r v Says:

    “now that’s true irony, especially when applied to the Chinese political system.”

    Irony doubled. The Chinese political system shuts down the monopoly of US politics on the Internet.

  64. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Actually, this is the application you’re after: The CHinese political system is a monopoly, and “monopolies are evil, they don’t want competitions. They should be shut down and broken up. And shutting down a monopoly is not “censorship.”" You’re welcome.

  65. r v Says:

    One can see that Google is “radicalized” by US political ideologies.

  66. r v Says:

    Nope, the US political system is a monopoly.

    you need a chill pill from your self-love. No one is thanking you.

  67. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Ok, so on a federal level, the US has 2 political parties. The Chinese have one. I wonder what mono- stands for. De rien.

  68. Raj Says:

    @ 56

    If the Chinese people and the Chinese government have their marketing hats on, they ought to capitalize on this Google stunt and maximize the simple message that Google is arrogantly trying to undermine Chinese law.

    Dewang, given that Chinese law in this area is bad, trying to undermine it and push for change can only be a good thing.

  69. alessandro Says:

    to #48… I’ve already told and demonstrated to u that criticism in China count (remember the green dam example..which I don’t remember I pointed to u here or in another 3d? So please don’t pretend u can’t read), and is counting always more (which is not the case instead in many western countries)..I don’t like to always have to repeat myself to people that keep on repeating the same exact stuff no matter what, and try to selectively “jump” on facts they don’t like…Elections in China exist (even if organized in a different way from how “we” consider they must be..but u know, diversity is the salt of the land, and nobody ever sentenced we have the perfect “recipe”, which we don’t), and grassroots elections with independent candidates at village level are everything but “not systematic”, and not at all only in “autonomous regions”, so please try to do ur homeworks better.

    Ah, the usual “we’re talking about China here” trick and easy escape…when somebody make an example that demostrates that what happens in China is nothing more than what happens in many parts of the so called “free world”. Curiously enough, however, on many other issues, comparation with other parts of the world to make people see how “bad” (or simply different…but for someone with a close mind, different often equals “bad”) China is abunds..Those times the excuse “we’re talking about China here” doesn’t apply…how funny, talking about double standards and prejudice, hm?!

    On the other points I prefer to rest…cause it’d be like shooting on the red cross, and I don’t really like to do that…

  70. alessandro Says:

    “Ok, so on a federal level, the US has 2 political parties. The Chinese have one. I wonder what mono- stands for. De rien.”

    Oh, and this is ur profound understanding of politics? Wow…..
    U know, 1 party with tens of millions of members is monolithic as 3 or 4 different parties in other places (ESPECIALLY the US)…if u’r not even able to understand this, I wonder how can u debate…I see now u just see the “surface” of things, and that “names” count to u more that actual facts…

  71. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “(remember the green dam example..which I don’t remember I pointed to u here or in another 3d? So please don’t pretend u can’t read)”
    — “Your Green Dam example is a good one. Have you got others? Right now that seems like the exception. Hopefully someday a situation like that will become the rule.” (me, in #48). It seems you are way beyond simply “pretending” that you can’t read. I don’t like to repeat myself either. So if you can in fact read, best to start soon. Good luck with that. Let me know how that works out for you.

    “Elections in China exist”
    —- “And as I’ve learned, some special regions have some local elections.” (also me, also in #48). How’s the reading going? So I’m actually agreeing with you, up until the “systematic” bit. Let me know when the process goes right up to the top, then we’ll talk systematic. I’d even go along if you said it’s a good start. Hopefully there’ll be more to come.

    “what happens in China is nothing more than what happens in many parts of the so called “free world”” — then someone should take up the challenge in those other parts of the world to right the wrongs that are ongoing. And justifiably so. But using that as an excuse is merely an excuse, and a fairly pathetic one. You’re not the first to try it, but it’s no less pathetic now than it was a year ago. And it’ll be just as pathetic a year from now. I’m not saying that the restrictions on choice in China are wrong because we don’t have such restrictions; I’m saying they’re wrong, period. I’m not saying the disrespect for human rights in China is wrong because we’re doing so much better; I’m saying it’s just wrong, period. No comparisons necessary. But if you want to compare…well, I’m not surprised.

    I agree it’s better that you rest. Based on what you’ve said so far, it certainly can’t hurt your logic.

    “1 party with tens of millions of members is monolithic as 3 or 4 different parties in other places (ESPECIALLY the US)” — since you’re Italian, you deserve some slack when it comes to English. But I have no idea if you’re arguing that CHina’s one party, with 10s of millions of members, is in fact monolithic, or whether American political parties are monolithic. If it’s the former, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. If it’s the latter, I’d rather have several monolithic parties than one. I’m not sure what it is you are saying that you would consider so “deep”, but you go right ahead and dive in there. I’m hopeful that someone will be kind enough to offer you a flotation device. You should also realize that what you might consider “actual facts” probably belong in my circular file.

  72. ChinkTalk Says:

    This is a hilarious video of Hilary losing her shoe, a harbinger of the great fall as in the case of the Iron Lady of the British Empire falling in the steps of the Great Hall of the People……………………………..

    http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/iAxRbzBCBg0/

  73. arsent Says:

    Am I the only person here that thinks you’ve all blown this out of proportion? Usually the simplest answer is the correct one.

    Google sees financial risk.

    Pulling out of China for moral reasons is not good for business.
    Pulling out of China just because they don’t have the market majority, is still not good for business.

    Therefore, Google must be making this move to prevent future losses. Given Google’s growth from 2000 to now, it is not because they’re losing ground. And even if they were, some profit is still better than no profit.

    And that leaves only one reason: Google is afraid of having its secrets stolen, and decides to make the smaller sacrifice now instead of a big one later.

  74. Charles Liu Says:

    arsent @ 73

    Does that really answer things correctly? Hacking has no border and moving location really doesn’t solve the problem, so how does moving physical location makes a difference?

    Another explination offered up was Google CN execs starting their own ventures, and people leaving Google to join Li Kaifu probably taking code and IP with them. That would be a more reasonable answer to shutting the office and locking down servers.

    R V, try “oligopoly” for semantics sake, so you don’t have to waste your time on the fact we have a two-party monopoly.

  75. Allen Says:

    A simplified technological take on what hit Google – minus some of the politics.

    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Google-China-and-the-Anatomy-of-the-Aurora-Attack-255807/

  76. Charles Liu Says:

    Allen @ 75,

    The eweek article is making the same mistake as most media. In slide 7 it says there are scant evidence the attack originated from China, while the fact is the command and control IP address originated in Taiwan:

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/01/hack-of-adob/

    “The hackers then transmitted stolen data to servers in the United States maintained by Rackspace before siphoning them to IP addresses in Taiwan.”

  77. Allen Says:

    @Charles Liu #76,

    My bad about the oversight…

    But you know. Since we only have angels in Taiwan, the siphoning of information to Taiwan must have been conducted by evil Mainland agents in Taiwan. Taiwan ought to take better care of itself. The CIA should share with Taiwan its secrets and sophisticated technology on how it eves drops on netizens so Taiwan can better spy on those evil Mainland agents. Of course there is always that chance the secrets and technology fall to the evil Mainland agents who turns the same techniques back on American companies…

    P.S. Sorry I just made a bunch of unsubstantiated claims, but I feel justified since that is what this whole Google mess seems to be about!

  78. Charles Liu Says:

    Allen, to follow up on the eweek slideshow. The Chinese code they referenced was a claim cited by NYT that has since been discredited:

    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2010/01/13/a-new-approach-to-china/#comment-59944

  79. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles:
    “scant evidence the attack originated from China, while the fact is the command and control IP address originated in Taiwan” — I think they’re considering “China” and “Taiwan” to be separate things.

  80. Wei Says:

    There is no competition of information or information “war” between USA and China. China never “attack” USA government using the internet. The only things China had done is write their view on things regarding its nation on the internet. It is some people in USA start to “attack” China, Chinese people, Chinese government, basically anything has relationship with China or Chinese. That they are going like “siege” of China using these “information”, There is no “war” of information. Because only one side doing the “attacking”.

  81. Dragan Says:

    What do you make of this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/08/china-closes-hacking-website

  82. Allen Says:

    @Dragan,

    Overall the article seems alright. I think the title was kind of deceptive “China closes training website for hackers” – Westerners reading it might think at first that China decided to close its department for training hackers. As the article mentioned, China itself is the biggest victim of hacking rings like this. Hackers in China should be seen as shady perhaps criminal (some times) elements of society. They should not categorically be seen as “CCP agents” bent on destroying the West – as the geopolitical talk of the last few weeks might seem to suggest.

    Anyways – in general I feel a soft spot for hackers. Hackers are bright, young people in general. They push the boundary because they can. Government should channel the energy of these people for the benefit of society. I believe most hackers – in China or wherever else in the world – are white hats.

  83. Dragan Says:

    @Allen

    Agree with your first paragraph. Though initiative also seem to be a very naive govt response to western concerns. I assume that to penetrate likely advanced defensive systems of google or govt agencies abroad you may need more than tips from a website.

  84. tanjin Says:

    “Google co-founder: Maybe we’ll stay in China after all”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/15/google_china_brin_ted/

    Google’s co-founder Brin now admitted in public that he was naive ..

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2010/02/google-sergey-brin-china-attacks.html

    End of story on this GOOGLE drama ?

  85. pug_ster Says:

    Sergey Brin: “I was for China before I was against it.”

  86. justkeeper Says:

    Brin wasn’t naive, a lot of liberalsy fartsy wishful thinkers were. I personally feel sorry for him to find it necessary to restate the obvious to them, and it’s still “对牛弹琴”.

  87. ChinkTalk Says:
  88. r v Says:

    Maybe this is a bad time for Google:

    On Wednesday, an Italian judge found three Google executives — including the company’s top lawyer — guilty of violating the privacy of a youth after a 2006 video that depicted the child, who has Down Syndrome, being bullied. In what Internet experts are calling a dangerous precedent, the judge held the executives responsible after a copy of the video was posted on Google Video.

    Meanwhile, the company said Wednesday it faces antitrust scrutiny from European Union regulators over complaints leveled by three European Internet companies. The court ruling and the E.U. probe, which officials said was preliminary, are signs of Google’s increasingly rocky road in Europe.

    Google expressed shock at the Italian decision, calling it “astonishing.”

    The Milan-based judge found Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, Chief Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer and former Chief Financial Officer George Reyes, guilty of violating the privacy of the the youth, whose father had brought the case along with an Italian Down Syndrome advocacy group. Each of the executives face suspended six-month prison sentences. Google has said it will appeal the case.

  89. r v Says:

    I don’t know if Google should be that “astonished.”

    If Google wants to hold a country like China responsible for yet unidentified hackers, and leave China, then why not a country like Italy will hold Google responsible for at least what happens on Google video?

    Hey, Google can always threaten to leave Italy for that matter.

  90. tanjin Says:

    Study: Google-China attack driven by amateurs

    CNN
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/03/03/china.google.study/

  91. pug_ster Says:

    Google wants US to weigh WTO challenge regarding this issue.

    http://www.bloombergutv.com/industry-news/it-industry-news/46036/google-wants-us-to-weigh-wto-challenge–.html

    All I can say is: good luck google.

  92. r v Says:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward/2010/06/google_to_defy_china_a_little_less.html

    The link says it all: Google to defy China a little less. Why? for money. But just quietly enough to be “not so evil”.

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