Google dropped a bomb on China and the world today when it revealed a string of sophisticated cyber attacks against its infrastructure targeted against human rights activists’ email accounts which had originated from China (similar to the GhostNet attack in 2009). In response Google has decided to cease censoring Google.cn search results (demanded by the government):
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.
It doesn’t get much bigger than this. Twitter immediately lit up with a discussion about the potential repercussions of the decision:
It’s too early to know what will happen but I wouldn’t mind betting that most or all of Google will be blocked in China within 24 hours. As recent events have shown (Copenhagen and the execution of Akmal Shaikh) China is in a confident mood in its new position of power and will flagrantly ignore any perceived interference from the west regardless of the ethical issues surrounding the arguments.
I personally applaud them for taking this stance but fear that even a giant like Google will make little impact against the Medusa which is the Chinese Communist Party. Every time China is criticized they only grow stronger in their resentment and determination to do things on their terms. In this sense, nobody wins but freedom is rarely free.
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Google shouldn’t censor web at all… Chinese government over the net?
You know what hits me is that with all these so called hackers nobody has the balls nor the guts to trie to desabled the chinese firewall, as an insider I can tell that China is a paper dragon, it looks scary but it is weak. If a gang of hackers managed to bypass their system and find ways to cause havoc to their commend center, as I can guess they centrilized it of course. They will not be able to repond quickly because of their corporate culture, they are taught to follow orders and not take any perosnal decisions, they will just stare at their screens all day and do nothing till someone tells them to do something. Hence, I have doubts that they will respond fast enough, allowing many chinese to brows the net freely lol.