Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google may pull out of China: will this increase or decrease censorship?

Google said Tuesday that it may leave China and shut down its strictly monitored site there,, citing censorship rules and a targeted cyber attack on its network infrastructure.
In a blog post, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer David Drummond said the search giant first detected the attack last month and thought it posed a security threat, adding that the company frequently faces cyber attacks of varying degrees.
But an investigation of the attack exposed evidence that showed the attackers' primary goal was to access Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, Drummond said. While two accounts were hacked, the accessed information was limited to the date the account was created and subject lines, not the content of any emails.
"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," wrote Drummond in the post.
(read the rest of the article here)

I know there are probably "big business" reasons that Google is looking at pulling out of China, such as the market there not working out for them like it does here, but really, it's all about the free market, and freedom in general. There isn't one in China. At all. So money-wise, Google is getting worked over trying to operate over there. Not to mention that ethically, they were having to adhere to censorship, which Google, at its core, does not believe in. Last year, the Chinese government blocked all sites with "Tiananmen Square", including the website, for 8 days surrounding the anniversary on June 8th.

And now Google's servers are being targeted, by the Chinese government and its silencers, to get information on dissonants within the Chinese people...not okay.

On the surface, I support Google pulling out of China, as well as other companies doing the same. But, one has to look at history. If all of the free world begins pulling out of China due to their censorship and human rights violations, pulling companies, resources, and essentially boycotting China, what will happen? Darkness. The country will fall behind. Look what happened to North Korea. Look what happened to the USSR during the Cold War.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Pulling out may help, but it also may make things worse. We need to figure out how to not abandon those we disagree with. We need to help Google, and other companies like it, figure out how to help develop free markets, and freedom itself, in China. This should be something that we can all agree on, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Progressive, neo-con, and old-school far-right Republicans.

Crossposted at Republicans United

1 comment:

rockync said...

There's a billionaire hedge fund manager who says China is propping up it's economy artificially and will soon collapse.
Rats jumping ship?