Google raises possibility of ceasing Chinese operations 6 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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#1 11 years ago

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8455712.stm

Google has told China that they are considering ceasing the operation of China's google mirror- google.cn, announcing this after concluding that a cyberattack that hit Google the middle of last December had originated from China and specifically targeted email accounts of individuals and groups linked to Human Rights groups critical of China's activities. Most attempts failed at accessing the email accounts, only compromising two accounts and apparently only basic account info and subject lines were taken from those.

China tightly controls internet activity within its borders, with certain websites being forbidden. Search engines, like Yahoo and Google, have agreed to abide by these censorships and set up their respective .cn domains. Google set theirs up in 2006.

But it has been a rough relationship. For example, Yahoo has already been criticized for disclosing the emails of suspected dissidents to the Chinese authorities. Google has been in conflict with the Chinese government since opening their domain, taking issue with the level of surveillance that the authorities required.

Google posted a statement on their blog saying they will have a "new" approach with China, and explains the hacking incident which set off their announcement to China.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-approach-to-china.html [spoiler] [quote]Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. 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. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different.

First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. 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.

Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users' computers.

We have already used information gained from this attack to make infrastructure and architectural improvements that enhance security for Google and for our users. In terms of individual users, we would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share personal information like passwords online. You can read more here about our cyber-security recommendations. People wanting to learn more about these kinds of attacks can read this U.S. government report (PDF), Nart Villeneuve's blog and this presentation on the GhostNet spying incident.

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. In the last two decades, China's economic reform programs and its citizens' entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nation is at the heart of much economic progress and development in the world today.

We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor s




AlDaja

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#2 11 years ago

Gotta love China...paranoid that an entity like Google might allow the flow of information to their people and inspire an exchange of potential ideas and thought that could incite insurrection...must be hard work being a bunch of uptight power misers.




MrFancypants Forum Administrator

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#3 11 years ago

Since we have such close economic ties to China many people tend to overlook just how totalitarian that place still is. I guess it is a nice publicity stunt of google to speak up to them. Not sure if it is entirely honest, considering how well they cooperated with Chinese demands so far.




EO Violation

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#4 11 years ago

I hope they do.




dinosaurJR

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#5 11 years ago

See? this is how it works - they execute our mentally ill, we deprive them of an easy route to internet porn... Who needs the UN?

Although, hasnt China been filtering search results through Google for years? I seem to remember there was a massive outcry that Journalists couldnt access info on Tibet when they were in China...?




AlDaja

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#6 11 years ago

dinosaurJR;5209786See? this is how it works - they execute our mentally ill, we deprive them of an easy route to internet porn... Who needs the UN?

Although, hasnt China been filtering search results through Google for years? I seem to remember there was a massive outcry that Journalists couldnt access info on Tibet when they were in China...?

Wouldn't surprise me. The Tibet incident is complete taboo, never happened according to the official state media in China, what's sad is most of their young people believe it.:(




Commissar MercZ

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#7 11 years ago

There are a lot of things censored. It's easy to see how something like Tibet could have fallen out of the collective memory considering when the Chinese invaded the region, but it's more disturbing when you see that the current generation of Chinese youth are largely ignorant of Tienanmen Square protests.

And it's a plethora of sites that are blocked. Anything runs the risk of being banned, from obvious things which are pro-capitalist or democracy, or even things which are orthodox Communist. There are sites which are so openly socialist that the Chinese government has banned their sites (or at least these sites find themselves getting frequently blocked) because they don't want their people to know that the genuine socialist or communist ideals are no where near what China is doing currently.

This being said it's not like there's no way for the Chinese people to bypass the firewall. In fact every year more and more users from China find ways to circumvent the firewall. Though it's a cat and mouse game it seems, the authorities will eventually find the exploit or proxy and shut that down, and the users find another alternative.

MrFancypants;5209773I guess it is a nice publicity stunt of google to speak up to them. Not sure if it is entirely honest, considering how well they cooperated with Chinese demands so far.

They haven't gone so as far to willingly disclose identities of their users like Yahoo did. Google was actually the first search engine in China which warned their users that their searches are both filtered and observed. After they did that, Yahoo and other search engines also added a similar warning. Even the Chinese Baidu after followed the lead and added a similar warning.

This being, Google still has a lot to answer for as to why they originally went in the first place. They had wanted to obviously get a cut in the large number of internet users living behind the firewall, but argued that giving Chinese people the access to some information was better than having access to no information.

Edit: US Congress is saying they will investigate Google's claim of Chinese spying charges

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7017511426?Congress%20to%20Investigate%20Google%20Charges%20Of%20Chinese%20Internet%20Spying