Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Has Google grown a pair?

Well, after helping Beijing channel Google searches toward state-friendly websites, it looks like Google has sprouted a conscience. After finding that an attack originating in China may have been aimed at tracking down human rights activists, Google has suggested they may pull out of China:
Google said Tuesday that it may pull out of China because of a sophisticated computer network attack originating in China and targeting its e-mail service.

The company said it had evidence to suggest that "a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts" of Chinese human rights activists. The attack was discovered in December.

Based on its investigation to date, Google said it does not believe the cyber attack succeeded. "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," the company said in a blog posting.

But David Drummond, Google senior vice president and chief legal officer, added that the attacks "have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China."
And not only that, they said they may review their policy of providing "censored search results":
Google has further decided it is no longer willing to continue censoring its search results in Chinese Google sites, Drummond said, and over the next few weeks it will discuss with the Beijing government how it may operate "an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all," he said.

"We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China," he said.

Privacy advocates applauded Google's move to disclose the attack and reverse its stand on censorship of its China search engine results.
Good on them, if they actually go through with this (more on how I feel about global corps kowtowing to China found here).

And in honor of Google and their newfound cojones, may I suggest the following artwork for tomorrow's Google home page?


  1. Haha...Nice google screen improv.

    When is China going to realize that this whole censorship thing only embarrasses their own government? It's not like the people in China (at least the younger ones) don't know about what's going in the world or in their own backyards. Ask any Chinese person about the Tiananmen Square incident, for example. They already know about it. If Google does leave, it will be a financial loss on their investments, but it's a big spit in the face to the red government. Plus, now all those govt cronies won't get their kickback fees from Google (and that's no exaggeration).

  2. Kudos to Google for taking a brave stand on essential matters of transparency and accountability.


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