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Censorship Google Your Rights Online

China Emphasizes Laws As Google Defies Censorship 320

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the going-to-war dept.
Lomegor writes "Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday that all companies are welcome to operate in China but that they must do so under local laws. Although not explicitly, this is in some way a response to Google's threat to leave the country. China also stated that they have strict cyber laws and that they forbid any kind of 'hacking attack'; when asked if those laws apply to the government as well it was quickly avoided. 'It is still hard to say whether Google will quit China or not. Nobody knows,' the official in the State Council Information Office was quoted as saying." I sure would love to be a fly on the wall of these discussions. We certainly live in interesting times.
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China Emphasizes Laws As Google Defies Censorship

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  • by Cryacin (657549) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:44AM (#30763260)
    It seems that google has moved firmly into politics. I wonder if as a kid good ol' Sergey Brinn would have ever imaged how much of a difference he would make in the world.
    • by zwei2stein (782480) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:54AM (#30763366) Homepage

      Not politic, business.

      Operating in china does not bring google profit. Add Baidou, a govt-subsidied competition and being routinelly hacked, they have reasons leave market. Saying they leave market makes them look weak and stock price would drop.

      Making chinese goverment kick them out makes for quite nice PR stunt and will not really to much about stock price. And it actually makes them look strong.

      They are still happy to censor in many other countries.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Doesn't bring Google profit? With a 30+% market share that sounds unlikely. Could you please cite your source on that?
        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          If it doesn't bring profit, Google just isn't doing it correctly. Baidu and other companies can work on bringing profit there too. Like I mentioned in the earlier story [slashdot.org], Google's business model is extremely easy to make work in different countries and market areas (even more so because their largest infrastructure costs would still be there)

          And Google is working hard in other countries trying to gain marketshare. Google is spending millions trying to gain marketshare in Russia and paying the most popular lo [tech-news-daily.info]

        • I'd imagine that while it might be profitable, the margins are probably nothing close to the margins in a more developed country.

          There are lots of people in the world who can live for a day on the price of a popular adsense keyword...so I would imagine people in countries with a much lower cost and standard of living are not bringing in very much revenue for google. There is still some small benefit from the additional users/market share (and google's structure is very portable...just translate and go) b

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        Exactly. They do in USA too, just look at the "x number of results were removed because of DMCA laws". It's basically the same thing, just different area. It's something US government see important, just like Chinese government see important the areas they're censoring. You can argue that "it's not the same thing", but really, it is. Different culture, different people. Remember that Chinese probably think some of your laws and censorship is weird and hilarious.

        What do you think US courts would say if a com

        • by TheKidWho (705796) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:23AM (#30763638)

          Moral relativism needs to be shot to hell.

          Comparing the DMCA to political censorship and torture is ridiculous.

          • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:33AM (#30763752) Journal

            Did you even read what I said?

            Different cultures and people have different values. Just because you think something is more moral doesn't mean everyone does so. Your mentality and thinking mostly comes from the culture you grow in. So does theirs. Yes, they protest. So do people in the US - just see all the battle about patents, MPAA/RIAA and other issues here on slashdot.

            Now I do not either think it's the same thing. But trying to force the same kind of thinking you have to other people, especially to people in other cultures, just sickens me. And US is particularly known for forcing their laws to other places in the world, even forcefully.

            • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk.gmail@com> on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:53AM (#30764040)

              The GP accuses you of commiting a fallacy of scale, and I must say I agree.

              Sure you can logically draw comparisons between the DMCA and chinese censorship laws, it's not particularly hard or imaginative. The problem is when you compare the two on equal grounds. One involves gross violations of basic human rights, the other involves less Brittany Spears remixes on youtube.

              Don't get me wrong, I have strong moral issues with the US patent and copyright laws. But I have far greater issues with human rights violations, regardless of who commits them. Not all atrocities are created equal.

              But trying to force the same kind of thinking you have to other people, especially to people in other cultures, just sickens me.

              Call me crazy, but I don't excuse the things the Chinese government does just because they convinced their population that they should. If thinking that basic human rights are universal makes me an imperialistic American dog, then I am a proud imperialistic American dog.

              • Sure you can logically draw comparisons between the DMCA and chinese censorship laws, it's not particularly hard or imaginative. The problem is when you compare the two on equal grounds. One involves gross violations of basic human rights, the other involves less Brittany Spears remixes on youtube.

                I'm not sure censorship counts as "gross violations of basic human rights". It's not good, certainly, but not in the same league as arbitrary imprisonment, torture or executions (things the US is not exactly innoc

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Zarel (900479)

                The GP accuses you of commiting a fallacy of scale, and I must say I agree.

                Sure you can logically draw comparisons between the DMCA and chinese censorship laws, it's not particularly hard or imaginative. The problem is when you compare the two on equal grounds. One involves gross violations of basic human rights, the other involves less Brittany Spears remixes on youtube.

                I'd argue that freedom of speech counts as a basic human right.

                Regardless, the DMCA has been used to censor material critical of the Church of Scientology from appearing on Google search results. Is that political speech, to you? Google also censors Nazi-related materials in Germany. Is that political speech, to you? Sure, perhaps the US doesn't jail political dissidents quite the same way China does, but what's Guantanamo Bay? Sure, there's a difference in scale, but the difference isn't as great as many p

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Sir_Lewk (967686)

                  I get furious with the DMCA, especially when it is abused for censorship purposes. I also have some very serious issues with the US government and what it is/has been doing. I have two short points to make though:

                  1) Actions taken by the US government do not excuse actions taken by the Chinese government.
                  2) You either have an incredibly warped sense of scale, or you are not very familar with the Chinese censorship program.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by gtall (79522)

                  Comparing jailing political dissidents to Guantanamo Bay is comparing apples and oranges. China jails internal dissidents, Gitmo is for enemy combatants who are necessarily foreign to the U.S. There are no American citizens in Gitmo, their lawyers would have a field day.

                  And equating DMCA with political censorship is plain silly. Sure, some lawyers may try to pervert DMCA, but that isn't the law's intent.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by TheKidWho (705796)

              Look, I've taken enough classes in philosophy to understand moral relativism. I read what you said, and I disagree. People in the US argue and complain because quite frankly the government and corporations in the US are judged to impossibly high standards. Westerners tend to be idealists and when something doesn't approach their ideals, they complain, loudly over the internet.

              However, Humans Rights are a Universal Truth, they come from our human nature, our instincts and the way our brains are wired, and

              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Humans Rights are a Universal Truth, they come from our human nature, our instincts and the way our brains are wired

                [citation needed]

              • ... Humans Rights are a Universal Truth, they come from our human nature, our instincts and the way our brains are wired, and China is a country that is committing gross violations towards it's own Citizens

                Go back to those philosophy classes/books, you forgot the bit about evidence and questioning your assumptions. Human rights are not a universal truth, "2+2=4" is a universal truth, beyond that we really don't have any. If human rights were a universal truth, their formulation would be invariant through time, and I could pull out a datum of evidence and wave it in the face of those who disagree.

                No, human rights are a social/political formulation at worst, and a bit of prescriptive system building at best.

                Our brains are wired to be largely amoral opportunists, we generally only give any empathetic consideration to those in our immediate family or social circle. We evolved this way, we don't give a shit about the species or the larger society, we only really care (innately) for those things that help our reproduction and the health of our offspring. I don't see the chance for a "censorship is bad" characteristic to evolve into our species.

                I have never seen a wholly convincing descriptive (innate and universally existant) moral/ethical system, but I have seen a ton of prescriptive systems (thou ought). Prescriptive statements from "hard" philosophy (being that it isn't in the realm of any other science, barring the ineptly named "political science") generally have the same intellectual rigor as those found in classic books such as the Bible (no, coming from me that isn't a compliment).

                I agree with you, though, that china over steps their bounds. But until I see a measurement of a universal human right, I will generally pass over all talk of "rights". I read somewhere that rights are those thing which you can convince others you have, and this seems about as apt a description I can find.

          • by DarkVader (121278)

            Nobody is comparing the DMCA to torture, but it most certainly IS political censorship.

            And it's not moral relativism to say that censorship is just as repulsive in my own country as it is in China.

          • Moral relativism needs to be shot to hell.

            Moral relativism is the principle that people should be aware of the moral framework behind moral statements. Just like when we say we are driving at 60 km/h, we are moving at 60 km/h relative to the earth, so too is political censorship and torture much, much worse than the DMCA, relative to human rights morality (Oh noes! I just compared the DMCA to torture!). I think that it's more than useful; it's absolutely vital for understanding intercultural politics.

            That's

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MaWeiTao (908546)

            I'm not sure why he's been tagged a troll. What he says is true. People in the West have the benefit of living comfortable, carefree lives where they have the luxury of worrying about relatively insignificant problems. It's really not surprising people blow things out of proportion.

            Things like DMCA are, without question, garbage. We should indeed fight to end this sort of thing. But stop trying to make it out to seem some kind of moral crusade where something profoundly crucial to our existence is somehow a

        • by radtea (464814) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:51AM (#30765104)

          They do in USA too

          Huh?

          Others have pointed out you're comparing apples to apple seeds here, but there is a larger point to be made, the Cold War equivalent of Godwin's Law: Anyone who responds to a criticism of any country with a rant about how bad the United States is has immediately lost the argument because they have failed to address any of the criticisms, but instead introduced a lot of emotionally-charged irrelevancy based on the false assumption that the original critic is somehow an admirer or defender of the United States.

          It didn't make any sense during the Cold War (for us non-Americans, especially!) and it makes even less sense now. The American Empire is broadly speaking evil. Everything thinking person agrees with this. To impute the belief that the American Empire is basically good too someone who points out how utterly vile the Chinese government is, and then to try to turn the discussion to the completely irrelevant area of American crimes, is simply the act of someone who knows how evil the Chinese government is, who knows they do not have a single fact to defend the Chinese government with, and who wants to distract everyone by bringing up how evil the American Empire is.

          So let's call it "Godwin's Second Law" that anyone pulling this particular lame stunt automatically loses, and move on to the actual subject of discussion in this thread, which is how outrageous it is for the Chinese government to pretend that the rule of law is the least bit important.

          • by oGMo (379) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:29PM (#30766896)

            Anyone who responds to a criticism of any country with a rant about how bad the United States is has immediately lost the argument

            One sentence later:

            The American Empire is broadly speaking evil. Everything thinking person agrees with this.

            Assuming you are equating "the United States" with this "American Empire" then you have dismissed your own argument; if not, then you merely have a straw man, which is irrelevant. While the following statement is simply an ad hominem attack on anyone who disagrees with you, I thought I'd include it for the irony. Perhaps you should think this through more.

            (And on the original topic, I hardly defend China's position on human rights and freedom and censorship issues. But then I'm an "evil" American of the US variety, and many of us tend to take issue with these sorts of things.)

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by optimus2861 (760680)

            Anyone who responds to a criticism of any country with a rant about how bad the United States is has immediately lost the argument

            (...)

            The American Empire is broadly speaking evil. Everything thinking person agrees with this.

            Wow. Just .. wow. You completely undermined your own fantastic point less than 3 sentences after you made it. I could try to respond to this by pointing out all the good the United States does in the world, and how I believe they're second to none in that department, but what would be the point? I'm apparently not one of your "everything thinking people," just some dumb Canadian who'd rather have the USA, flawed & imperfect as it is, at the top of the food chain than any other country out there.

        • There is no effort being made to censor the information based on the DMCA. The act it designed to prevent people from using copyrighted works without paying for them, and that is exactly how it is used. The works are still publicly available, you just have to pay for them. I'm not saying that it's the right thing to do, but it's not the same thing at all.
      • by furby076 (1461805)
        And remember, Chinese citizens will still find a way to use many of googles products - no matter how much the chinese gov't tries to block google addresses.
      • How can you have business without politics?
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:03AM (#30765358)

        Saying they leave market makes them look weak and stock price would drop.

        Funny, that's exactly what all the state-run chinese newspapers are saying.

        And the reason I don't buy it is that plenty of internet companies have dropped various services in various countries and they never needed a scapegoat - American business doesn't give a shit about "saving face" like that.

        In fact, one of the most positive things a US business can say is, "this market has proven to be unprofitable so we are cutting our losses by exiting it" - that tends to cause the stock price to go UP because investors expect that the company will no longer be losing money in an unprofitable venture. In the west, there is no shame associated with stopping the loss of more money.

        So, while a story about needing to save face may play well with people who have spent all their lives in a culture that values face as much as they do in China, it is just an example of how "the east" has its own share of problems with understanding the way "the west" works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387)
        What....where are you getting this info? All the estimates I've seen suggest Google is making hundreds of millions in revenue from China, and their expenses can't be THAT much. Why do you think they aren't making money? As far as I can tell they are quite profitable.
    • by mcvos (645701)

      My newspaper said that Google is shaping US foreign policy. And they're working closely with Hillary Clinton on this.

      It's great, exciting, but also a bit scary.

    • by Ash Vince (602485) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:55AM (#30765174) Journal

      It seems that google has moved firmly into politics.

      Hardly. This is about Google getting annoyed with China flouting their own laws.

      As a server admin I routinely see hacking attempts on our servers emanating from within China. Any attempt to follow this up with the owner of the netblock where the attacks originate from is usually just met with a bounceback from the abuse address or silence.

      This has been the case for years as China have no interest in a clampdown on their own citizens hacking. I have long suspected that this was because they were actively recruiting hackers who broke the law if the hackers in question were pro-government and did not want to cut off their own recruiting stream.

      I think it is probably most likely that Google saw themselves being attacked, and got fairly aggressive in trying to determine who was attacking them. They almost certainly would have had to break the law to do this so are going to be a little cagey about exactly what they did. They did however probably notice that this was being organised from within certain government IP ranges and instantly went running to the US state department.

      The fact is that China is not willing to even pretend to play by the rules of common netiquette. Until they change this I would much rather have an option to have all traffic to any of our servers from China dropped far upstream. I know I can do this at a firewall level but then we still can billed for bandwidth if we go over a certain level and they still have the option of DoS by overload. No, what I want is the ability to have our upstream provider drop all traffic into our IP range if it even looks like it came from China. We have no interest in doing business there so allowing traffic from an internet rogue state is just a liability for us.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sydneyfong (410107)

        As a server admin I routinely see hacking attempts on our servers emanating from within China. Any attempt to follow this up with the owner of the netblock where the attacks originate from is usually just met with a bounceback from the abuse address or silence.

        This has been the case for years as China have no interest in a clampdown on their own citizens hacking. I have long suspected that this was because they were actively recruiting hackers who broke the law if the hackers in question were pro-government and did not want to cut off their own recruiting stream.

        Having seen what IT in China is like, I'll state an alternative reason.

        The quality of "IT" people there generally sucks. It's like, if it works, then I don't care whether bad things are done with my connection/computer/whatever. Network administrators have other things to worry about (eg. complying with censorship laws). With sites like Facebook and Youtube periodically on and off the censorship list, they just expect things to break. Malware on the computer making things slow? Just another bad day, maybe i

  • Two predictions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spyrochaete (707033) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:45AM (#30763268) Homepage Journal

    Prediction #1 - google.cn becomes unavailable in China today, never to return.

    Prediction #2 - no other companies will stand with Google on this matter, preferring to endure Chinese hackers rather than turning away Chinese business.

    • Re:Two predictions (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:56AM (#30763378)

      The difference is probably that Google can easily do without the Chinese market. They're by far not the number one search engine in China. And the chance to become it is slim at best.

      On the other hand, not playing along with China's demands would endear them greatly to a lot of groups. US nationalists and US government being amongst the first, not to mention every free-speech supporter from the EFF to most geeks around the globe. It sure would greatly improve their PR and image, and would probably make a few people overlook their own privacy "problems" because "at least they didn't bend over to the Chinese government".

      Dunno if it would be so bad for Google to simply flip the Chinese the bird. The goodwill boost might offset the financial loss.

      • Re:Two predictions (Score:5, Interesting)

        by spyrochaete (707033) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:07AM (#30763460) Homepage Journal

        The difference is probably that Google can easily do without the Chinese market. They're by far not the number one search engine in China.

        That's what I've been reading as well but the numbers don't add up. I read that the Chinese internet market is currently 300 million people and skyrocketing daily, and that Google accounts for 1/3 of search results served in the country. So that's 100 million Google users. Why is Google so dismissive of this enormous number of customers?

        • Re:Two predictions (Score:5, Informative)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:09AM (#30763476)

          Maybe those users have no market value? Why bother target an ad at someone who doesn't have the money to buy your stuff?

          • Maybe those users have no market value? Why bother target an ad at someone who doesn't have the money to buy your stuff?

            Why advertise cigarettes to children? Market investment. Considering all the ridiculous projects Google releases and subsequently shuts down it's obvious they have money to burn on risky ventures. I can't believe Google considers China one of their more disposable investments.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by kangsterizer (1698322)
              Theres more than enough hints that Google retracted due to different political reasons. Just imagine this: - The Chinese government hacks Google - They access all the private Gmail data (most Americans, incl. companies and goverment) - ???? - Profit (Ok, this is slightly modified) The point is, the US goverment (CIA, NSA likely) notify Google. Google fix. It happens again, and again. The US goverment notifies Google it would be smart to withdraw from China as they will start cyber attacks to defend the U
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Hognoxious (631665)

            Why bother target an ad at someone who doesn't have the money to buy your stuff?

            Whose stuff? They make most of it, so technically it's their stuff. We don't have the money to buy it, that's why we have to borrow it from them.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Opportunist (166417)

              China has the money. Not the Chinese. It's pretty much the last remnant of Communism that country has. I know it's hard to believe but allegedly they still have a Communist regime.

              Personally, I think it has more similarities with Fascism by now.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Beale (676138)
          Remember that their customers are not the people who search but rather, the people who advertise to the people who search. If the Chinese advert market isn't making them money, they probably don't care so much about the people searching there.
          • It's a brand new and very unique market, though. It's not worth dismissing on a whim. China does things its own way and it's up to intelligent business to learn and offer compelling services for that market. Google absolutely excels at this. This isn't a simple matter of an unsuccessful company closing shop with its tail between its legs.

            Either Google has an ulterior motive or they are earnestly trying to force China to change its stance on censorship in publishing. Or both. Regardless of their motive

        • Re:Two predictions (Score:5, Insightful)

          by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday January 14, 2010 @10:00AM (#30764114)
          Because most of those people are relatively poor (compared to their Western counterparts, anyway) and because even a healthy revenue isn't worth subjecting yourself to someone stealing all of your company's proprietary secrets (which could cost Google a LOT more in the long-term than they are making with ad revenue in China).
          • But China doesn't want to steal Google's proprietary secrets, they want to access the emails of Chinese rights activists. I'm sure accessing some activist's inbox is a whole lot different thing than hacking into a place where Google is going to keep their secrets.
      • As a fan of free speech I kind of have to disagree with the notion that Google moving out the market increases free speech - if anything it will decrease it. You stated and many would agree that Google is the superior engine, even though it is not the most popular. Being a better engine, we could expect it to deliver better results when people are searching on topics of interest. Taking this out of the market therefore actually reduces the amount of free speech potentially available to the people of China.
      • by c (8461)

        > The difference is probably that Google can easily do
        > without the Chinese market.

        Yep. Google probably doesn't make much in sales in China.

        But can they do without Chinese hardware manufacturers for Google-branded gear? And hardware supplied by vendors with a strong relationship with China? Because if I were pissing of a totalitarian government with what amounts to a tech gear manufacturing monopoly, that's the sort of thing I'd be worrying about.

        c.

    • Re:Two predictions (Score:5, Informative)

      by ihatewinXP (638000) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:56AM (#30763382)

      Ok Beijinger here. Used to actually work in the Google office in Zhongguancun...

      Prediction #1 - Not yet. Which is interesting (youre probably right in that China wont capitulate and it is coming). I think it honestly might be a grace period for everyone to move their accounts. When I woke up today I had the same feeling when an email was bouncing back - and all of a sudden realized that ALL my accounts are gmail. Time to set up some forwards pronto.

      Prediction #2 - Exactly right. Yahoo and Microsoft (and ESPECIALLY Baidu of course) wont say a goddamn thing and will be happy with the gain in marketshare. Baidu (the leader in the Chinese market) stock went up over 20% today on the news.

      Ahh China. Interesting times.

      • Re:Two predictions (Score:4, Interesting)

        by spyrochaete (707033) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:05AM (#30763444) Homepage Journal

        I wasn't referring only to search companies in my comment. Other articles on this story mentioned that Google had identified similar security breaches in at least 20 other companies, and I doubt those were all search/email companies. It will be very interesting to see whether any or all of those companies are identified and what their reaction will be. I was pretty shocked at Google's fierce ultimatum (suddenly removing censorship, effectively punishing the government for the hackers' actions) and will be doubly astounded if any other company dares to ally themselves with such brash action.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:49AM (#30763312)

    At this point, does Google even have a real choice in the matter? If they don't out and out leave China very soon, then they will forever be perceived as weak. The Chinese will consider them to be feeble pushovers. Not only that, but in the Western world they'll also be seen as weak, for caving in on the issue of censorship.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Such caving is culturally expected in the West. We've been doing it, individually and as a culture, for almost 50 years now. This won't change a thing.

  • Hypocrits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thijsh (910751) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:49AM (#30763318) Journal
    China to Google: "Listen to us and obey our laws, even though they do not apply to us and we will abuse this power against your company and your users."

    Even worse is that Google probably fears their technology will fall in the hands of the Chinese who will just build an alternative google *exacly* as they like it, and not like before with 'cooperation' from google. This way China wins and Google is left without a market in China at all, leaving with a damaged reputation for 'helping' the Chinese oppression and gaining nothing in the end... Pulling out is the wise thing to do, but not on their own. They have only said 'until here and no further', if Google moves out of China it will be because China makes them, and then Google is the hero of the story and China will be the party losing face.
    • It's interesting that most companies do not follow that train of logic, especially when it comes to IP. The same companies that would love to whack you with wet blankets when you dare to copy one of their products appearantly have no problem with the most rampart commercial copying companies having access to their source code.

      How they have access to it? They developed it. When you have your code produced in China, you're basically handing them a master copy to resell it to your competitor.

      • by thijsh (910751)
        I highly doubt any core Google IP is developed in China... They are very protective of their software (algorithms).
    • by fajoli (181454)

      Even worse is that Google probably fears their technology will fall in the hands of the Chinese who will just build an alternative google *exacly* as they like it, and not like before with 'cooperation' from google.

      The Google brand is worth something to both Google and its users. I think any Google-like operation "in the hands fo the Chinese" would struggle to build that kind of trust with its users. How comfortable would people be sending private emails to someone@china-run-google-clone.cn or watching v

      • The Google brand is worth something to both Google and its users. I think any Google-like operation "in the hands fo the Chinese" would struggle to build that kind of trust with its users. How comfortable would people be sending private emails to someone@china-run-google-clone.cn or watching videos on china-is-watching-you-youtube.cn?

        The Chinese government can certainly have a hand in making their alternative look better to the Chinese citizenry, or at least make Google look much worse. What if all sea

    • Is it because we can vote that we think we are safe from an abusive government?

      Just reading the story below points out how the US likes to codify its abuses of our rights and somehow it is all OK because our elections are "open", granted calling only being able to select from two parties as being open. I guess that is twice as good as China.

    • by pnewhook (788591)

      China to Google: "Listen to us and obey our laws, even though they do not apply to us and we will abuse this power against your company and your users."

      Sounds like Bush and Cheney got new jobs...

  • Yes we have laws! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Drethon (1445051) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:50AM (#30763326)
    And you will stop trying to apply them to us because we wrote them!
  • I don't think anyone could have realistically expected China to respond differently.
    • Indeed. There is no way the Chinese government would let google go uncensored. However, this might be a boost for those in the government pushing for China to be more open.

  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:52AM (#30763352) Homepage
    China is probaby way more advanced in conducting Cyber Warfare than most people realise.

    Reading the link below, you will realise that china state hackers

    1) have dedicated datacenters for them

    2) Work around the clock in 3 shifts during each 24 hours

    3) Have specialised teams for things like a) Break in b) Data stealing c) Footprinting

    Capability of the People’s Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation [uscc.gov]

    • Anyone who has ever looked at a weblog knows this.

    • Do you honestly think that the US doesn't also have the same? Do you seriously think the US hasn't invested a substantial amount of resources into a similar effort? And several other nations as well... I think the point is this - most major nations that view intelligence and counter-intelligence as being important and worth spending resources on are probably more advanced in their cyberwarfare capabilities than most people realize.
    • by Rich0 (548339) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @11:04AM (#30765376) Homepage

      While I'm sure China isn't the only country doing this, when you think about it this is a very scary proposition.

      Just think - China decides that being able to take over the CNN front page at a future point in time might be useful to them (just a random example - it could be any site, and it could be some other country).

      Teams work around the clock probing the CNN servers. They monitor tons of network traffic so they can passively identify every server that people actually make connections to (even for the most obscure things like a rare banner ad or the data feed for some weather applet or whatever). If ANY of those servers have a vulnerability they can get in.

      Each lead is sent to a team that specializes in exploiting it. Hmm, looks like they're using some load balancer on their webservers - based on traffic patterns it might be this one. Let's give it to the guy who has taken apart two of them and knows the firmware inside and out. Looks like their weather uses some obscure XML type - let's get a guy who knows all about it to see if maybe the parser lets in some obscure field in the spec that the underlying app server might choke on.

      Then you get in. The guy who manages to get a little access on a single box doesn't have to try to figure out the whole network on his own. Instead a team that specializes in DMZ mapping takes over and figures out what their datacenter looks like. Whole new teams work on additional exploits.

      Once they find some good places to hide trojans then another team takes over. That load balancer firmware expert knows exactly how to create a hidden partition in the flash on one of the NICs installed in it which somehow gets triggered by some interrupt to run some code - maybe triggered by a specially crafted packet hitting it from the net. Specialists could sneak code into all kinds of places where nobody would ever spot it - probably in more than one place so a system upgrade wouldn't break their access.

      Big companies have all kinds of proprietary software that isn't all that secure. The thing is that most teenage/college hackers don't ever see this software and as a result don't hack it. They might write a virus that targets excel, but they don't have one that targets some $3M payroll management system.

      Once everything is in place it goes to the monitoring team which makes sure the trojans/etc stay in place with some stealthy pings from time to time. They can stay on top of thousands of hacks and bring in help when something goes wrong - just think of them like you think of your server monitoring team at work...

      Don't under-estimate the capability of a well-run professional team - especially a fairly new one.

      Granted, in 20 years it will start to resemble the IT at many fortune 500s. Hmm, the exploit script doesn't work - too bad we didn't pay the guy who wrote it enough and he's gone. What, the monitoring team isn't doing its job right - oh, but the guy who heads it up is the boss's cousin - well, maybe we won't ever need those exploits to remain in place...

  • by mrjb (547783) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @08:56AM (#30763380)
    The Chinese constitution has allowed free speech since 1982 (not that that mattered much 2 years afterwards). That is, censorship is officially *against* the Chinese constitution. I'd actually like to see this go to court; if it's a fair trial, the Chinese probably will end up being better off because of it.
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:02AM (#30763428) Homepage Journal
    The rest of the world must follow our rules. But we could not.
  • steep price (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BBird (664014)

    we will all pay a steep price for our hypocrisy contempt and cowardice towards China human rights abuse, censorship, lies and manipulation

  • As an American who has lived in China on-and-off several times for years, I have to say that you can't expect anything that the government does/says to be even nearly logical or otherwise make sense.

    My other expat friends and I used to joke that China was the source of all anti-logic in the world -- that is, the closer that you get to China, the less things make sense. If you've ever visited, then you'll understand.
  • Rigged Game? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Software Geek (1097883) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:22AM (#30763618)

    My employer does a lot of business in China, both development work and sales into the chinese market.
    This incident with google has really made me stop and think about whether the whole game is rigged.

    Invest in China? Your technology will stolen by chinese competitors.
    Outcompete your chinese competitors? The local laws will be changed in their favor.
    Complain? Your people will be arrested.
    Leave? Your assets will be nationalized.

    The chinese haven't done any of that stuff to my employer, as far as I know. But it is the only country we do business in where the question might even come up.
    It turns out that doing business in a country without the rule of law entails some serious business risks.
    I wonder how many executives are having this same thought, right now?

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @09:23AM (#30763636) Homepage

    I sure would love to be a fly on the wall of these discussions. We certainly live in interesting times.

    No you wouldn't. It's not that lively - on the contrary it is quite boring, full of ritual and face saving. If you ever have a case of insomnia attend one of these meetings - it will be clearly taken care of.

    Now if you want a bit of excitement, political meetings that have some energy, then go to UK parliment meetings - especially when the prime minister is around. I remember watching video's of former PM Blair and boy was exciting. The guy was in the center of the room, turning around and launching off complex answers to complex questions. Any political group where you can get a bunch of old boys to start a fist fight will be exciting...and you will not see that in a Chinese gov't meeting.

  • Is that a joke about "The People's Republic of China" moniker. Or is there some more obvious aspect I'm missing?
  • What relationship have censorship with trying to attack Google or some activists accounts? They don't want to leave China, but specifically ends censorship, and that related not just with trying to hack accounts, but specifically get IP from google (private sources stolen?).

    Could be related on how that censorship is implemented? If China govrnment had privileged access to Google network or some machines inside to implement that censorship, and those machines "misbehaved" (maybe not point a direct finger to
  • when asked if those laws apply to the government as well it was quickly avoided

    Sometimes, avoiding a question provides are all the answer you need.

  • .. compliance with local laws where it interferes with making money.

    Just ask Japan or Switzerland..

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