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Google.cn Attack Part of a Broad Spying Effort

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

Google 515

CWmike writes "Google's decision Tuesday to risk walking away from China (Um, the world's largest Internet market) may have come as a shock, but security experts see it as the most public admission of a top IT problem for US companies: ongoing corporate espionage originating from China. It's a problem that the US lawmakers have complained about loudly. In the corporate world, online attacks that appear to come from China have been an ongoing problem for years, but big companies haven't said much about this, eager to remain in the good graces of the world's powerhouse economy. Google, by implying that Beijing had sponsored the attack, has placed itself in the center of an international controversy, exposing what appears to be a state-sponsored corporate espionage campaign that compromised more than 30 technology, financial and media companies, most of them global Fortune 500 enterprises. The US government is taking the attack seriously. Late Tuesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement asking the Chinese government to explain itself, saying that Google's allegations 'raise very serious concerns and questions.' She continued: 'The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy.'"

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515 comments

First attack! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753406)

Yep.

Hillary Clinton released a statement? (5, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753414)

That ought to scare 'em.

Re:Hillary Clinton released a statement? (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753430)

Wouldn't you be scared if a woman who answers phone calls at 3am while dodging sniper fire turned her attention towards you? ;)

Re:Hillary Clinton released a statement? (-1, Troll)

loose electron (699583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753460)

Insert appropriate Monica Lewinsky and/or blue stained dresss joke here...

Re:Hillary Clinton released a statement? (5, Funny)

ReverendLoki (663861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753538)

I believe in this case, the appropriate joke would be "1998 called, they'd like their joke back."

Re:Hillary Clinton released a statement? (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753604)

You know, Hillary wasn't actually involved in that, right?

Of course, if she had been, it would have been a completely different story...

Re:Hillary Clinton released a statement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753752)

nah. Sever the routes. That will scare them.

Re:Hillary Clinton released a statement? (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753976)

How is Hillary like a tampon? They're both stuck up cunts.

Re:Hillary Clinton released a statement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30754038)

It's better to have a specific reason to complain to China about something, than saying stop copying our stuff or stop government sponsored cyber abuse.

NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753418)

Come back to us!

Why did she even bother? (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753434)

...asking the Chinese government to explain itself

Why is the government wasting time with this? Everybody knows what the answer is going to be, the Chinese government is going to deny everything and change nothing. Unless Secretary Clinton is willing to back up those words with some sort of action, they are just a waste of breath.

Re:Why did she even bother? (1)

hammer13 (1701354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753476)

Because nothing is worse much worse

Re:Why did she even bother? (2, Insightful)

onepoint (301486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754036)

why, very simple, sometimes all it takes to wake up Corporate America is to shine the light on a problem, and people up the chain will do what it takes to clean up there systems.

mostly the people that will pay attention to this is IT firms. They should know that there $$$ are on the line.

lets see (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754076)

the phne she used top call was made in china
the cloths she wears was made in china
the carpets, and drapes made in china

her shoes were made in china
when its all made there china can give you the big damn bird.unless they do some new outsourcing laws that bring the jobs back and yea that means in short term shit will be more expensive but the people with those jobs will be spending money too

Re:Why did she even bother? (5, Insightful)

Mashhaster (1396287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753622)

The same reason I heard from my manager at one of the investment banks that went tits up. The same reason we spend billions on security theater.

"Perception is reality."

While on the face of it this is a crass and ridiculous statement, the fact remains that it makes some kind of warped, diabolical sense once you are under a certain level of scrutiny. It becomes more important to look like you're making a difference, than to actually make one. If you are perceived to be adding value and working hard, you can be slacking off all day and still get promoted at the end of the day.

Honestly, it seems to me more like a publicity stunt than anything. Keep the other party from getting more ammo, while making the uninformed feel good and warm and fuzzy inside.

Re:Why did she even bother? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753662)

Clinton -> Wal-Mart -> China

Statescraft (5, Insightful)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753672)

Why is the government wasting time with this? Everybody knows what the answer is going to be, the Chinese government is going to deny everything and change nothing. Unless Secretary Clinton is willing to back up those words with some sort of action, they are just a waste of breath.

Because by publicly asking the government to respond, they are making them look like a pack of inept idiots. It tells the rest of the world that they are attempting to spy (still), and doing a bad job of it. Security services globally will probably now be reviewing their intrusion detection procedures, making it more difficult for the Chinese government skript kiddies to make headway toward their goals. It will scare away some companies considering investment in China, slowing their internal ecenomic growth, and costing them money. It is also the first step in the diplomatic process that can lead to condemnations from the UN, sanctions, or even war. Rational states don't simply skip to straight to attacking other states over stuff like this.

The very fact that they have put this in the public realm as opposed to quietly telling the Chinese government that they know what they are doing (which they have been for years) indicates that the next step in the process is being taken.

Re:Statescraft (2, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754138)

It is also the first step in the diplomatic process that can lead to condemnations from the UN, sanctions, or even war.

When has UN condemnation ever acomphished anything?
Who exactly woud sanctions against China hurt? (Hint: not China)
Who is going to declare war on a country with over a billion people and manufacturers most of all but the most secretive millitrary hardware for just about the rest of the world?

Re:Why did she even bother? (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753682)

Why are you wasting time criticizing her? It's not like her words can make the situation worse. She's not going to listen to you.

Oh snap.

Re:Why did she even bother? (5, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753694)

Don't you think she knows that? It's called protocol. Either A) she's just putting up a strong showing for american audiences and has said something completely different to the Chinese, or B) she really is going to do something. Who knows what? So far Obama has not shown much interest in rocking the boat any (see Wall Street bail out for evidence) but Hillary Clinton is not exactly the kind to shy away from a fight.

It'll be interesting -- I would like to see some tougher trade policies with China. For me personally, I'm really tired of importing Chinese goods that are made with no pollution controls, especially when those goods are laced with cadmium or melamine. I'm also annoyed that they sabotaged the Copenhagen talks [guardian.co.uk] on climate change. In fact, this could be exactly what the administration is reacting to, maybe Obama et al. got burned and are in no mood to play nice with China the way past presidents have done.

Re:Why did she even bother? (2, Interesting)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753838)

So far Obama has not shown much interest in rocking the boat

Obama, by putting Hillary in this position, has marginalized her. He essentially controls what she can and cannot do, and what she can and cannot say. Do you really think that she put this statement out without approval from the President?

On a side note: I don't like Obama or Hillary, but I would rather have Hillary in office because she, at least, has significant political expertise and knows how to make the country feel good. She wouldn't wait 3 days to make a public statement after a bombing attempt on an airplane. It doesn't do anything other than make people feel warm and fuzzy, but that is part of what that job entails.

more reasons for a US-China split (5, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753968)

Further reasons the administration might not like what China is doing right now are economic. China ties their currency exchange rate to the U.S. dollar in a way that keeps theirs low relative to ours. This essentially creates a permanent trade imbalance between the exporter (CHina) and the importers (U.S. mostly, also Europe). I hear people say all the time that China owns a huge portion of the U.S. debt and it would be a big disaster economically if they sold that debt. This is incorrect, if the Chinese sold their U.S. debt they'd be doing us a favor because it would depress the value of the dollar and make our manufacturing more competitive. In the past when unemployment has been rock-bottom in the U.S., this wouldn't help us much. Right now it would help our economy a lot to create manufacturing jobs because our unemployment is 10%. Paul Krugman quantified this by saying that China's exchange rate policy amounts to 1.4 million lost jobs in the U.S. [nytimes.com] The people at the federal reserve and the treasury know this. Ben Bernake himself has been quoted as saying chaiman-speak equivalent for the Chinese are playing with fire [ft.com].

The conclusion here is that I suspect that if Clinton is mentioning this, the administration is planning on using this as leverage to get economic or other concessions out of the Chinese.

Re:Why did she even bother? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753704)

I can't believe this got modded insightful.

Anyways, the government asks about it because if they didn't, they would be implying that it's OK to do so.

Re:Why did she even bother? (3, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753756)

Why is the government wasting time with this? Everybody knows what the answer is going to be, the Chinese government is going to deny everything and change nothing.

That's more or less exactly what happened when the USA got caught using the Echelon system for the exact same purposes as the Chinese are now mounting these attacks. Why is it such a shock that everybody else is repaying the US in kind? Industrial espionage has been going on for millennia, hell, it's almost a tradition. US corporate weasels should just do what the EU corporate weasels did (well some of them... there are always enough people that will never learn) after the Echelon scandals: Stop whining and introduce military grade encryption for all vital communications and generally fortify their IT infrastructure better.

Re:Why did she even bother? (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754070)

US corporations apparently frequently use better than military grade encryption (or I gather that must be the case given that Google has apparently been hacked by the Chinese once versus regular successful intrusions into US military infrastructure several years ago). The problem seems to be that even that isn't good enough against concerted attack

Re:Why did she even bother? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753812)

Unless Secretary Clinton is willing to back up those words with some sort of action, they are just a waste of breath.

So we should just act against the Chinese without talking to them first?

Even if your assume somebody is going to respond with BS, it's not a waste of time to talk to them. Spouting BS makes them look bad and helps you justify more direct action. Acting without even trying to talk allows the other side to play the victim.

Rambo strategies only work in the movies.

Why not ask about human rights in China? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753852)

Oh thats right, Obama and Company caved to China over human rights, including putting the Dalai Lama off just to appease China.

Along comes Google and suddenly we are concerned? What? Google threaten to pull their campaign contributions?

The time will come when we can do nothing (1)

Concern (819622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754040)

Contrary to increasingly popular belief, the time when we have no recourse against China has not yet come. Yes, they have sizeable American bond and dollar holdings; that's not exactly a one-sided power relationship. Yes, they're a superpower with a growing economy, beyond the grasp of the kind of "military and aid" diplomacy we exercise in the undeveloped world. That hardly closes down the strategic problem space.

I'm sure China hopes that we will sweep this under the rug, do nothing, and say nothing. But just for a start, going public and forcing China's (and the Fed's) hand at this point starts a discussion about what can be done. It spurs everyone to take security more seriously and think differently about their relationship with China. It aids, in sometimes complex and inscrutable ways, in the difficult negotiations with China that many businesses and parts of the government must engage in regularly. It reframes discussions about political, defense, and economic issues.

To put it in perspective, and maybe make yourself feel a bit better, you can crack open the news archives and history books for a look back at American espionage, dirty tricks, corporate/3-letter government agency joint ventures and international "development" over the these many years. We generally give as good as we get.

Domestic business is governed by laws (in the developed world, at least). International business is often governed by politics at best, and by the law of the jungle at worst.

It still amazes me... (5, Insightful)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753462)

... that what began as a simple web search company is now so large that it is capable of potentially altering the course of international diplomacy.

Re:It still amazes me... (4, Interesting)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753576)

Yeah, I don't think anyone really realizes the power of Google now. They have a lot of power for content creators, advertisers, technology companies, and millions of people. It is not a start-up: It is the most powerful company on the face of the planet, but no one realizes this yet.

Re:It still amazes me... (0, Troll)

mschirmer (1619591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753614)

... that what began as simple settlers in a foreign country is now so large that it is capable of potentially altering the course of international diplomacy.

fixed it for you

Re:It still amazes me... (5, Funny)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753660)

What began with a mischievous woman eating an apple is now so large as to cover the earth with its seven billion descendants.

Re:It still amazes me... (1, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753700)

Do you realize just how crazy it is that we've been to the moon?

Re:It still amazes me... (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753710)

I can.

Information *can* be worth more than an country, depending on the context and the people who know it. Google has made it easy for the common person to search and find information on any topic.

Besides, Google is just one of many large companies that have suffered from this. They just happen to be able to complain about it and reach millions in no time.

Whoa. (3, Interesting)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753466)

As a tech community, we are always reading articles about Google, computer security, etc. It's surprising to see one of our hot button topics being picked up by the mainstream and becoming an international diplomatic flap. I'm stunned that Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, has waded into the discussion.

Google may lose China... (5, Insightful)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753468)

They may lose china, but in the eyes of many, "not being evil" is worth more.

Go Google, make me proud!

Re:Google may lose China... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753552)

This move is not as much about "don't be evil" as it is "don't fuck with us"; it is merely a happy coincidence that both apply in this situation.

Re:Google may lose China... (3, Interesting)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754126)

If it continues to be a problem, I think google might go a bit beyond pulling out - they've already demonstrated they respond negatively to being ticked off by removing filters - I'd say there's a good chance they might become actively antagonistic.

Re:Google may lose China... (4, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753556)

Google is not getting out because they think operating in China was evil, they are getting out because they think operating in China carries excess financial risks.

Re:Google may lose China... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753594)

Prove it.

Re:Google may lose China... (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753754)

Prove it.

How about the fact that they stayed this long, and are only *considering* pulling out (they haven't yet) now that they've been victimized.

Re:Google may lose China... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754156)

Or maybe they stayed this long because they thought they could do some good for the people living under China's heel?

Re:Google may lose China... (5, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753606)

A lot of people go "They won't do it, China is 1/5th (or 1/6th) of the worlds population!"

Google can have the other 4/5ths (or 5/6ths). No Internet company started in China will grow outside of China the way they are set up.

Let them stew in their "secure" system they put in place. Put your efforts elsewhere. When you gain the rest of the world - then China will obey Google, not the other way around.

Re:Google may lose China... (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754134)

I think that what you wrote is part of Google's thinking. Another part of it was that Google has a concept of how they run their business. That concept has been successful.
Censoring their search results was a compromise of their concept, but didn't break it. Google perceived the hacking of their servers by the Chinese government as breaking their business concept. If the Chinese government could not be trusted to keep the "deal" that Google had made with them, then Google can no longer count on the Chinese government honoring any commitment that would allow Google to make money.
In light of this, I, also, expect that Google expected people to work around the known censoring they were doing to make such censorship moot.
I think that we must still be suspicious of Google, just as we must be suspicious of any large organization, but in this case, this appears to be an act in good faith.

Re:Google may lose China... (2, Insightful)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754050)

Can't believe people still fall for the naive "Don't be evil" motto these days.

Google is a corporation, doing evil or not doing it may apply for people, but corporations are entities that operate way above those simple "good/right" and "bad/wrong" terms. They don't have sentiments, morale or regrets. They follow the economy rules without asking themselves whether something it's right or wrong. And following those rules can make them do horrible things which they'll do without hesitation if there's a buck to be made.

Sometimes people do the right thing. (2, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754102)

Can't believe people still fall for the naive "Don't be evil" motto these days.

It may shock you, but corporations are made of people, and sometimes, the people that make them up are moved to do ethical things. That Google's actions are newsworthy is a reflection on us, not just an abstraction of the corporation.

Re:Google may lose China... (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754060)

Interestingly, in China Gmail is already only accessable through proxies. Dropping google.cn will neither prevent nor discourage these types of attacks, so Google really must be doing this based on principles (or just wanting to look good).

Seriously, FUCK China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753480)

Just because they're a powerful economy, we shouldn't be apologists for them. The Chinese government is corrupt, authoritarian, and oppressive.

Re:Seriously, FUCK China (5, Funny)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753798)

The Chinese government is corrupt, authoritarian, and oppressive.

Sticks and stones... Oh wait, you're talking about China?

Carry on.

Yours,
The US government

Re:Seriously, FUCK China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30754066)

Your attempt at humor aside (which was a little humorous), you cannot compare the Chinese Government to the US Government. In China, it's probably conceivable that you'd be thrown in prison for what you just wrote.

Pot and kettle? (0, Troll)

jwinster (1620555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753486)

"The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy." Well thanks to the likes of Google and Facebook I can hardly do that as is.

It's about time. (5, Interesting)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753530)

Everybody seems to walk on egg shells as to not cause friction with China because of the "possible" loss of customers they get access to. I applaud Google for this. Just because China has 1.3 billion people does not make them all good customers. I know a lot of software developers who would rather stay out of China because after the first license is sold, it's pirated and re-distributed by their competitors. So my point, why compromise your ethics for a hostile business environment that might lead to further problems and minimal increase in the balance sheets. Way to go Google!

Re:It's about time. (2, Interesting)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753902)

They walk on egg shells because China is the largest nuclear threat since the USSR was around and from a measure of hostility communism has killed more then 100 million people since it's incept. Between Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Castro, and countless others they are giving religion a run for it's money for "killing in the name of"

Keeping the dragon fat and sleepy so it doesn't wake up sounds more a likely scenario...

Government ordered security holes. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753532)

That's because they apparently were able to access a system used to help Google comply with search warrants by providing data on Google users, said a source familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press.

See why leaving back doors open for law enforcement and other Government organizations actually decreases our security?

See why "if you do nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about" is complete utter non-sense?

By making the government's job easier, they've opened up the door to malicious attacks by foreign governments.

The FBI (the whole Executive branch for that matter) and Congress should be ashamed of themselves for their stupidity in ordering such back doors.

The only fear I have for my security is the idiocy of the US Government in "protecting" me.

Morons.

Re:Government ordered security holes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753822)

I believe the canonical epithet is "Silly Asses" [wikipedia.org]

Re:Government ordered security holes. (4, Interesting)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753826)

According TFA, this is an internal system. No different from a log file. How is this a backdoor? Can the law enforcement agencies access it from the outside?

Re:Government ordered security holes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753890)

Can the law enforcement agencies access it from the outside?

Maybe, maybe not.

The Chinese obviously can, though.

Re:Government ordered security holes. (5, Interesting)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754128)

TFA doesn't say, but one of the links in the summary says that it was accessible from compromised machines in Google offices.

That's because they apparently were able to access a system used to help Google comply with search warrants by providing data on Google users, said a source familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press. "Right before Christmas, it was, 'Holy s***, this malware is accessing the internal intercept [systems],'" he said.

What I find interesting is that Google apparently hacked them back:

Google's security team eventually managed to gain access to a server that was used to control the hacked systems

Personally, I'd be interested in knowing what the Google team did to turn the tables, even if it's a few months or years down the line after this incident is over.

Re:Government ordered security holes. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753892)

The system isn't there to make the government's job easier. It's there to make Google's job easier. Back doors or not, Google HAS to comply with search warrants in the United States. So of course they are going to set up the system so they can do so without huge amounts of work.

QOTD (0, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753574)

The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy.

But it's not so critical we're going to do give the citizens broad access to strong encryption and authentication, and force vendors to provide secure products with documented source code and APIs, because that would impede our ability to spy on them. The message to China is: We hate competition.

Powerhouse? US 15 Trillion China 4 (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753582)

China is not a powerhouse.
It is growing rapidly but it is a nightmare police state joke.
When the demographic collapse hits all the "miracle" dreams about China will fade.
Their population is ageing rapidly, they have an imbalance of women to men and they have huge internal problems.

Re:Powerhouse? US 15 Trillion China 4 (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754114)

Indeed it's true. I see many people talk of fearing China, but the reality is it simply doesn't have the military equipment to fight far from it's shores, it doesn't have the stability to guarantee that if it does send it's soldiers outside it's borders that it wont lose territory to dissidents inside it's borders. Contrary to popular belief it doesn't have that much support from Russia, partly because it's still locked in border disputes with them, the same goes for it's other neighbours in almost every direction who would love the opportunity of China spreading itself to far to claim territory they believe is their own.

Economically it could certainly be a problem, but in terms of us losing it's manufacturing facility the likes of India which is of a similar population would gladly pick up the slack, and in the current weakened economic situation in fact, most countries would be willing to take on a big manufacturing boost.

That's not to say they couldn't be a problem at all of course, if they backed up North Korea by having North Korea threaten further to launch nukes whilst providing them military support to try and wave of the US and such from attacking it in response to such threats it'd be a big deal. Similarly any war with them would still be a hell of a headache, but the point to take away is this, no matter what China does, even if in the worst case they decide to pursue a military route, whilst they'd cause a lot of harm and damage, they'd have absolutely no chance of winning. Even their nuclear stockpile is relatively small, particularly when you take into account modern American ICBM defences.

In a way though it's a real shame, because China has so many smart people, it has such potential to be a thriving peaceful modern nation. It's perhaps ironic that the lust for power and control at the top of China is exactly what stops China from becoming a more powerful player on the international stage. It has a big population, but it can't unilaterally take on the world despite seeming to believe otherwise.

sh17? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753586)

a full-tihme GNAA themselves mto be a

Don't piss em off too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753602)

Hope they don't piss off china too much, I'd like not to get nuked when I'm at Google I/O in May...

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753610)

i see countries lining up .. to set up launch pad web sites to support the chinese websites .. I'm sure Canada and France are already courting them ... oops there goes hosts.deny ..

That Ices Open Systems for Me (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753636)

This is going to go down as the biggest piece of corporate "do-gooding" since Henry Ford did the $5 day. I can't even begin to calculate how much Google went up in my mind for doing this. They may have lost a bunch of potential customers, but for what its worth, they've just got me for life.

Whatever their motives, Google did the right thing, and in a big way. I didn't see Microsoft stepping up to the plate like that, Apple didn't step up to the plate like that, and I'll remember that when I choose platforms.

Re:That Ices Open Systems for Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753688)

Unless you happen to live in China, and want to use google.

Re:That Ices Open Systems for Me (1)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753966)

They haven't left yet. They just complained about it. $5 says nothing changes on any end of this, except maybe a cash transfer.

Re:That Ices Open Systems for Me (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754108)

> This is going to go down as the biggest piece of corporate "do-gooding"
> since Henry Ford did the $5 day.

That wasn't "do-gooding". That was a rational business decision.

Re:That Ices Open Systems for Me (5, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754116)

As others have mentioned, Google didn't do this because it's the good thing to do. They did this because it makes good business sense. If it had been financially advantageous to remain in China and even court their government more closely Google would have done that instead.

I'm really tired of people casting corporations in such simple-minded light. Corporations exist to make money, and usually do so within the boundaries of the law. The people running these companies certainly may hold a particular set of morals, but ultimately they have to make decisions based on what's best for the company.

I think the important thing here is that China isn't nearly as important as Americans seem to believe, especially in the business world. Business idiots, in particular, seem to have a hard-on for China, despite the fact that they get burned time and time again. It's true that China has a massive population, but how many of those actually have disposable income? And of those who do have money to spend, how many of those have the money or inclination to spend on foreign goods as opposed to what's made by Chinese companies?

The advantage China enjoys over many other developing nations is that they're far further along in their economic development and are approaching a developed nation status. And that's assuming their economic growth isn't over-inflated as many are beginning to suspect. Certainly the Chinese are very nationalistic and ambitious, but that's really only advantageous for themselves and not the rest of the world. There are many other nations around the world seeing significant growth which have the chance to become very strong competitors for China, there's India, much of southeast Asia, South America, especially Brazil.

When it comes down to it, China needs the rest of the world far more than the rest of the world needs China. Five or ten years ago I suspect Google's management would have decided staying in China was worth the risk. Today, that's obviously not the case.

And there's something else to consider, some companies are more entrenched than others and some have more to lose in China. it's probably a lot easier to successfully knock off Google's products than it is Apple's or Microsoft's. There are dozens, of search engines, hundreds if not thousands of web apps and countless social networking sites. And there's a lot less loyalty to any particular tool than you find in the West. Something new comes along and as long as it's halfway decent people start using it. As quickly as companies fail there are many more right behind ready to take their place. All this is, without question, hurting Google's chances in China. There's no reason for Chinese to use Google, but there is certainly a lot of incentive for Chinese companies to steal what they can. And the Chinese government sure as hell isn't going to enforce foreign copyrights.

Assumption of guilt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753658)

When it comes to China now-a-days, there are no assumptions other than guilty. How about Google paying Chinese authors fairly for scanning electronic books? This is evil Google using politics to influence business. Google simply cannot compete with Baidu in China. So, go ahead leave China.

suspicious timing (2, Funny)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753678)

a little suspicious that they release this right after all the bad press about nexus one customer support, hmmm?

Re:suspicious timing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753776)

Time will tell if Google finds China hacked into nexus one custom support and provided poor service.

A corporation challenges an entire country? (2, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753716)

One fascinating aspect of this story is how Google, just a private corporation, is able to credibly threaten an entire country -- and a near-superpower one, at that! That used to take the kind of might only a government could wield.

No longer.

The web levels everyone -- and I mean EVERYONE -- to one, lowest common denominator: access.

Re:A corporation challenges an entire country? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753876)

Yeah. That's how I get to reply your comment while saying nothing particularly useful.

Re:A corporation challenges an entire country? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753962)

Google is NOT just *a* corporation. They are a powerhouse. The web couldn't yield this kind of influence on China, but this corporation can.

Re:A corporation challenges an entire country? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754010)

How is Google credibly threatening China?

Google: If you don't quit trying to hack us we're leaving.

China: Finally, we can block that frakking western search engine properly.

Re:A corporation challenges an entire country? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754068)

It's not just that, it's the bully picking on all the kids on the playground until one of them just says "stop!". It doesn't matter which kid says it first, after the first kid does it the bully's days are going to be a lot more difficult. Everyone in tech circles has suspected for years that the Chinese government is involved in these activities (my company forbids taking company hardware into China for instance), Google is the first one to publicly call them out in a way that the US government and the world cannot ignore.

2012 here we come (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753746)

in during google brings about the next world war and the end of the world within the next two years.

mod do3n (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30753834)

as possible? How they learn from our that Fr3eBSD is it will b1e among

how do you think this is going to play out? (1)

drougie (36782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753846)

To kick off a speculation thread, off the top of my head:

1) Google sticks to its guns.
      A) Google's Internet operations including search and mail along with its Chinese staff are expelled from China.
            a) Baidu, citizens and the government live happily ever after. Google lives happily ever after too but elsewhere.
            b) This escalates and sparks more of what Hillary started, things heat up and this gets a little crazy in the name of human rights and fighting espionage.
            c) The natives become restless and the Revolution will not be Youtubed.
      B) The Chinese government says screw it and allows Google to continue doing its thing but uncensored.
            a) This will stand as exceptional treatment for Google.
            b) Yahoo grows some stones and follows suit sharing the same consequences as Google.
            b) The Great Firewall will essentially be dismantled, hoo-ray.
2) Google loses its footing and caves to pressure of the Chinese government and market, resumes censorship.
      A) Google loses major face, Chinese officials feel virile.
      B) Google still successfully makes their point in spite of backpedaling and does not regret these decisions.
      C) Google is unable to recover significant marketshare which Baidu had scooped up in its absence.

Okay that's all I got. I think 1-B-a is the most likely outcome, Google living on in China but uncensored with the Great Firewall and government policies standing and still being enforced for everyone else as the Chinese continue to remain mute about this. Any other outcomes you all can come up with? Lay down some odds too. Let's make this interesting.

Re:how do you think this is going to play out? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754024)

1-B-a sounds incredibly optimistic. The Chinese government is only able to survive because of heavy censorship. Sure, a large part of the population still supports that censorship, but there are few things more effective at pissing people off than piecemeal censorship. Moreover, China knows from the history of the fall of the Soviet Union that when you start relaxing censorship, things have a tendency to get bad very quickly. Thus, 1-B is extremely unlikely. I can't reasonably input which of 1-B-a,1-B-b or 1-B-c (you have 1-B-b twice but what you meant is clear) is least likely but none of those three seem at all probable.

The Borg (4, Insightful)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753848)

The Chinese are all about assimilation of technology. And most companies are happy to help. Boeing, you want to sell us planes, then you have to build some components here. Bring in your fancy machine tools and expertize.

here comes ... (1)

pitdingo (649676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753866)

Here comes months of Congressional hearings which will result in yet another bureaucracy with a name along the lines of: The Department of CyberEspionageChildDefendingPatriotAnti-TerroristJusticeBringers

Clinton + internet? No Al Gore jokes? (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30753918)

For the love of Ceiling Cat! Put down your poker chips and blow up dolls! Somebody get the big truck! We gotta unclog the tubez!

By Neruos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30754052)

Who would you rather be?

A. An idiot, with a big gun and lots of money, whos paying your rent for you.

or

B. The renter with no money, who is smart and has a gun but it's locked away and you can't find the key and is scared to use it.

Why trump the corporate espionage angle? (1)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30754122)

Google's post states that the target of most of the hacking they intercepted are chinese dissidents and human rights activist. Corporate espionage is bad, yes, my heart goes to all those executives whose companies will lose $$$s, but there are more important issues at stake, the lives and freedoms of people who want to be free.
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