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Google has had enough of China

It took a few months, but Google has finally had enough of China. Google and the Chinese government have been at odds ever since Google claimed that it systems were hacked by the Chinese. “In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google,” wrote Google Chief Legal Advisor David Drummond back in January. “However, it soon became clear that what at what first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different.”

Since that time, a war of words has been escalating and U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has even gotten involved. Now, Google has finally put its foot down with regards to China – it's tired of the network attacks and it's tired of censoring search results to appease the Chinese government.

“So earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on,” wrote David Drummond, Google's Chief Legal Officer, on the company's official blog today. “Users visiting are now being redirected to, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong.”

Drummond goes on to say that the Chinese government has been unwilling to compromise or hear Google's side of the argument when it comes to censorship, let alone the network intrusions that originated in China. Also noteworthy is that Drummond specifically mentions that U.S. executives alone were responsible for the decision to shut down “None of our employees in China can, or should, be held responsible for them,” Drummond emphasized, likely in a nod to ensure that nothing fishy happens to the Chinese employees.

Despite the fact that will cease to exist, Google maintains that it will continue to pursue its research and development efforts in China.

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RE: why?
By Goty on 3/22/2010 4:12:03 PM , Rating: 5
Easy, it's an example of a company putting its morals before its bottom line. I think it should be applauded.

RE: why?
By Brandon Hill on 3/22/2010 4:18:17 PM , Rating: 3
You must wonder though, why did Google agree to censor search results in China in the first place? It wasn't until they got jacked that they decided to change their position...

RE: why?
By mmntech on 3/22/2010 4:32:01 PM , Rating: 3
It's simple. China is a huge market. They put up with censorship to make money but got fed up of the constant harassment.

Not much will change though. Baidu will take over and the government will continue to oppress it's people, so they can desperately hold onto their fragile authoritarian regime. At the vary least, it sends a strong message from the West that there are people who won't put up with that BS. Too bad Western governments haven't been doing the same.

RE: why?
By Danger D on 3/22/2010 4:43:22 PM , Rating: 5
I'm willing to applaud a change of heart. And if it wasn't a change of heart, I'm willing to applaud good actions (even if motivated by profit). Positive reinforcement does wonders.

RE: why?
By ekv on 3/22/2010 4:55:29 PM , Rating: 4
There are lots of question marks that are raised. I thought surely Google won't put up with the censorship restrictions that China will impose to enter their market. But the size of the market and lure of profits was perhaps too much to resist. The restrictions seemed to be increasingly Machiavellian over time as well.

Like you say "It wasn't until they got jacked that they decided to change their position..." Which raises more questions. Would just one incident change Google's corporate strategy? I think not. Especially when the Chinese gov't denied any involvement and the attacks were traced back to two universities. So something else is going on.

"What?" you may ask. The article mentions
“However, it soon became clear that what at what first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different.” wrote Google Chief Legal Advisor David Drummond back in January.

What was that something? Could it be a pattern of attacks? (that we haven't heard about?) Could it be harassment of Google employees? Could it be Chinese agents being hired unbeknownst to Google? Curiouser and curiouser.

It is well known that China conducts extensive and long-term industrial espionage, here and abroad. I suppose that hacking Google was just a logical extension of those efforts. If they got away with it then China could "sell" the technology to a local company who could replace a foreign-owned entity. If they got caught well then, China could simply deny it and they'd still have significant IP (while the foreign entity would be intimidated in the process). Win-win as far as China is concerned.

Evil little bastards.

A step in the right direction for Google to man up to their stated moral code(s). Not an easy business decision. Especially with Microsoft -- and I use a lot of their software, don't get me wrong -- being rather callow to pointedly stay in the Chinese market, simply for the sake of stabbing Google in the back.

RE: why?
By rudy on 3/22/2010 11:22:39 PM , Rating: 1
I think it is honestly more selfish than people realize. Google did not care about censorship until they got hacked. At that point they knew the corrupt Chinese officials would probably sell IP to Baidu and it would costs them in some form. On top of that Google's do no evil model has not gone over well with their Chinese operations. So maybe Google knowing they lost to Baidu, realized it was just a smarter move to try to gain extra market share in every country but China by appearing to be a good company. This would increase news about the company as well.

RE: why?
By ekv on 3/23/2010 1:20:53 AM , Rating: 2
I really don't disagree with anything you've wrote.

Baidu is the number one search provider in China followed by Google. Bing et al. are distant thirds (single digits as far as market share). So many people/companies gain by Google's departure. I can't fault Google for putting a positive spin on an otherwise bad situation. Google's investors are seething (over the pull-out), yet, frankly, Google did the right thing (in this situation).

China's search restrictions are not public information. I believe it's a state secret. You won't see that in a "democratic" Western-style country (since restrictions come from public law). I'm pretty sure the hack also went after Google IP [which could then be "sold" to domestic search providers], although Google says the hack was aimed towards gaining information on (so-called) dissidents with gmail accounts. That is just so wrong.

Further, I don't know about you, but I do see a pattern in China's behaviour.

"Cyberwar declared as China hunts for the West’s intelligence secrets"

"Google, don't politicalize yourself"

To blame Google for being the victim is just so typical. Bad behaviour, bullying behaviour does not improve by ignoring it -- correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't have any better word for it other than "evil." I can't say I like Google that much, but at least they did something.

RE: why?
By MatthiasF on 3/22/2010 4:56:36 PM , Rating: 1
Google was declined a spectrum license the week before the alleged hacking.

All bull to cover the fact the Chinese rebuffed Google's plans at entering the wireless ISP marketing in China.

RE: why?
By icanhascpu on 3/23/2010 12:45:06 PM , Rating: 1
Fuck censorship!

RE: why?
By MrBlastman on 3/22/2010 4:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Darned right. I don't often like Google but I applaud their decision here. About time someone has stood up to the Chinese government. What are they going to do now? Hack us again?

All of America needs to send a giant middle finger to their government.

RE: why?
By Smilin on 3/22/2010 4:31:22 PM , Rating: 1

Why do they Censor in other countries then? UK, France, Thailand, Turkey, Germany, Israel etc...

Morals. pftt. They do plenty of evil.

RE: why?
By vgdarkstar on 3/22/2010 4:58:47 PM , Rating: 2
Because hate speech, child porn, and copyrighted materials shouldn't be censored?

There are the legal cases as with Scientology but... really I challenge you to source your claim. Here's a wiki article very nicely sourced for your consideration.

RE: why?
By vgdarkstar on 3/22/2010 4:59:55 PM , Rating: 2
RE: why?
By Smilin on 3/22/2010 5:07:36 PM , Rating: 3
Because hate speech, child porn, and copyrighted materials shouldn't be censored?

So who decides what gets defined as "hate speech"? That's the essence of censorship.

LOL at the idea that Google will censor copyrighted works...we'll save that debate until another article about their massive book scanning comes up again.

What about the censorship in say Turkey? It's almost identical to the censorship in China: Don't allow searches that cast our govornment in a negative light. It has nothing to do with hate speech, child porn, etc.

really I challenge you to source your claim.

OK, here. Easy.

Don't ask for any more sources though. I'll send you over to lmgtfy and the sudden blast of irony may kill us all :)

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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