Ronnie05's Blog

Sino-Google Conflict (Part I): The What and How?

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on January 17, 2010

Google has shaken and stirred the Hornet’s nest in China by threatening to pull out of China in wake of continous hacking attempts which are apparently government controlled and censorship attempts of the Chinese government on Google search results.

Google Inc delighted free-speech advocates as it threatened to pull out of China over censorship and may shut its Chinese-language website because of cyber attacks, but the move upends one of Google’s most important growth initiatives. Google’s decision is tantamount to exiting the world’s largest Internet market, with more than 360 million users, since it is highly unlikely the Chinese government would allow Google to operate an unfiltered search engine. This follows Google’s discovery Mid December 2009, where it detected that a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on its corporate infrastructure was 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.

The results of Google’s investigation into this attack yielded the following results:
1.First, this attack was not just on Google. 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.
2.Secondly, attackers were trying to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. According to Google, this objective was not met through the attacks.
3.Third, accounts of dozens of US-, 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.

Google has also shared 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. Google has now stated that it will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. Google has stated that if it was unable to achieve the objectives outlined, Google would not hesitate to reconsider its approach to China and close down the

Google’s China Timeline
Google’s troubles in China are not unique and have affected other companies seeking a foothold in the huge Internet market.
Following are some key developments in Google’s bumpy foray into China:
2000 – Google develops Chinese-language interface for its website.
2002 – becomes temporarily unavailable to Chinese users, with interference from domestic competition suspected.
July 2005 – Google hires ex-Microsoft executive Lee Kai Fu as head of Google China. Microsoft sues Google over the move, claiming Lee will inevitably disclose propriety information to Google. The two rivals reach a settlement on the suit over Lee in December.
Jan 2006 – Google rolls out, its China-based search page that censors search results in accordance with Chinese rules. Google says it made the trade-off to “make meaningful and positive contributions” to development in China while abiding by the country’s strict censorship laws.
Aug 2008 – Google launches free music downloads for users in China to better compete with market leader Baidu Inc.
March 2009 – China blocks access to Google’s YouTube video site.
June 2009 – A Chinese official accuses Google of spreading obscene content over the Internet. The comments come a day after, Gmail and other Google online services became inaccessible to many users in China.
Sept 2009 – Lee resigns as Google China head to start his own company. Google appoints sales chief John Liu to take over Lee’s business and operational responsibilities.
Oct 2009 – A group of Chinese authors accuses Google of violating copyrights with its digital library, with many threatening to sue.
Jan 2010 – Google announces it is no longer willing to censor searches in China and may pull out of the country.

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