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US Lawmakers to Keep Google Out of China?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the internet-is-just-one-big-foreign-policy-tool dept.

Communications 491

caese writes "USATODAY is reporting that lawmakers in the US are proposing legislation that would keep Google and others out of China. From the article: 'Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"

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491 comments

Who's being repressive? (3, Interesting)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708591)

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"

Seems almost ironic doesn't it?

Re:Who's being repressive? (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708639)

> > Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"
>
>Seems almost ironic doesn't it?

See the earlier thread on politicians making themselves exempt from the CAN-SPAM law while they were drafting it. The logic boils down to "it's not spam when we do it!".

Likewise, it's not repression when we do it. The conjugation of the verb "repress" is as follows:

We protect.
Our allies monitor.
Our adversaries repress.

Re:Who's being repressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708643)

I am confused, it's a human right to have Yahoo! and Google? Goddamn stupid hippies just keep popping up...

Re:Who's being repressive? (2, Informative)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708694)

I am confused, it's a human right to have Yahoo! and Google? Goddamn stupid hippies just keep popping up...

No... it's not a human right to have Yahoo and Google, that you are correct.

But is it right for the US govt to say who Yahoo and Google can do business with?

Re:Who's being repressive? (1, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708817)

9th and 10th amendment, my friend. Do you speak it?

9th - All powers not specifically granted to the federal government in this document are reserved for the states

10th - Any right not given to the government (see above) here, or prohibited by the states, is automatically given to the people

Re:Who's being repressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708674)

Seems almost ironic doesn't it?

Thanks for playing. Come back when this search returns tanks instead of happy flowers and buildings.

Re:Who's being repressive? (-1, Flamebait)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708676)

Yep. Especially since any rational businessman would stay the hell away from China to begin with. Foreign trade in general is not profitable [technocrat.net] , at least for American businesses, and hasn't been for 30 years now. Why would anybody want to do business in China?!?!?!? They're just a bunch of con artists taking our natural resources to create crappy products and charge us a lot of money to ship the natural resources east and the finished products west.

Re:Who's being repressive? (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708982)

That's not measuring the profitability of foreign trade. Most companies took their lumps and learned that business in China isn't exactly the same as business in the US (funnily we took the same lumps in Japan 20 years ago, and South America 100 years ago etc). Now Chinese operations are quite profitable (as a sales market not just a workshop). GM made several hundred million on operations in China, Motorola gets 15% of their sales there. Cisco recognises it as a large and profitable market.
Just because we import more than we export to China does not mean that our exports are unprofitable, quite the contrary.

Re:Who's being repressive? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708678)

speaking about repressive:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-202332089 0224991194&q=loose%20+change/ [google.com]

in short:

Duluth, MN (PRWEB) January 30, 2006 -- A group of distinguished experts and scholars, including Robert M. Bowman, James H. Fetzer, Wayne Madsen, John McMurtry, Morgan Reynolds, and Andreas von Buelow, have concluded that senior government officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened on 9/11.

They have joined with others in common cause as members of "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" (S9/11T), because they are convinced, based on their own research, that the administration has been deceiving the nation about critical events in New York and Washington, D.C.

These experts suggest these events may have been orchestrated by elements within the administration to manipulate Americans into supporting policies at home and abroad they would never have condoned absent "another Pearl Harbor." (Don't forget that Dubya supposedly wrote in his diary that night "We have just had another Pearl Harbor"- If anyone believes that King george wrote that all by his lonesome or even wrote it that night, I have a bridge for sale in the AZ desert)

They believe that this White House is incapable of investigating itself and hope the possibility that Congress might hold an unaccountable administration accountable is not merely naive or wishful thinking.
They are encouraging news services around the world to secure scientific advice by taking advantage of university resources to verify or to falsify their discoveries. Extraordinary situations, they believe, require extraordinary measures.

If this were done, they contend, one of the great hoaxes of history would stand naked before the eyes of the world and its perpetrators would be clearly exposed, which may be the only hope for saving this nation from ever greater abuse.

They hope this might include The New York Times, which, in their opinion, has repeatedly failed to exercise the leadership expecedt from our nation's newspaper of record by a series of inexplicable lapses. It has failed to vigorously investigate tainted elections, lies leading to the war in Iraq, or illegal NSA spying on the American people, major unconstitutional events. In their view, The Times might compensate for its loss of stature by helping to reveal the truth about one of the great turning-point events of modern history.

Stunning as it may be to acknowledge, they observe, the government has brought but one indictment against anyone and, to the best of their knowledge, has not even reprimanded anyone for incompetence or dereliction of duty. The official conspiracy theory--that nineteen Arab hijackers under control of one man in the wilds of Afghanistan brought this about--is unsupportable by the evidential data, which they have studied. They even believe there are good reasons for suspecting that video tapes officially attributed to Osama bin Laden are not genuine.
They have found the government's own investigiation to be severely flawed. The 9/11 Commission, designated to investigate the attack, was directed by Philip Zelikow, part of the Bush transition team in the NSA sector and the co-author of a book with Condoleezza Rice. A Bush supporter and director of national security affairs, he could hardly be expected to conduct an objective and impartial investigation.

They have discovered that The 9/11 Commission Report is replete with omissions, distortions, and factual errors, which David Ray Griffin has documented in his book, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions. The official report, for example, entirely ignores the collapse of WTC7, a 47-story building, which was hit by no airplanes, was only damaged by a few small fires, and fell seven hours after the attack.
Here are some of the kinds of considerations that these experts and scholar find profoundly troubling:

* In the history of structural engineering, steel-frame high-rise buildings have never been brought down due to fires either before or since 9/11, so how can fires have brought down three in one day? How is this possible?

* The BBC has reported that at least five of the nineteen alleged "hijackers" have turned up alive and well living in Saudi Arabia, yet according to the FBI, they were among those killed in the attacks. How is this possible?

* Frank DeMartini, a project manager for the WTC, said the buildings were designed with load redistribution capabilities to withstand the impact of airliners, whose effects would be like "puncturing mosquito netting with a pencil." Yet they completely collapsed. How is this possible?

* Since the melting point of steel is about 2,700*F, the temperature of jet fuel fires does not exceed 1,800*F under optimal conditions, and UL certified the steel used to 2,000*F for six hours, the buildings cannot have collapsed due to heat from the fires. How is this possible?

* Flight 77, which allegedly hit the building, left the radar screen in the vicinity of the Ohio/Kentucky border, only to "reappear" in very close proximity to the Pentagon shortly before impact. How is this possible?

* Foreign "terrorists" who were clever enough to coordinate hijacking four commercial airliners seemingly did not know that the least damage to the Pentagon would be done by hitting its west wing. How is this possible?

* Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, in an underground bunker at the White House, watched Vice President Cheney castigate a young officer for asking, as the plane drew closer and closer to the Pentagon, "Do the orders still stand?" The order cannot have been to shoot it down, but must have been the opposite. How is this possible?

* A former Inspector General for the Air Force has observed that Flight 93, which allegedly crashed in Pennsylvania, should have left debris scattered over an area less than the size of a city block; but it is scattered over an area of about eight square miles. How is this possible?

* A tape recording of interviews with air traffic controllers on duty on 9/11 was deliberately crushed, cut into very small pieces, and distributed in assorted places to insure its total destruction. How is this possible?

* The Pentagon conducted a training exercise called "MASCAL" simulating the crash of a Boeing 757 into the building on 24 October 2000, and yet Condoleezza Rice, among others, has repeatedly asserted that "no one ever imagined" a domestic airplane could be used as a weapon. How is this possible?

Their own physics research has established that only controlled demolitions are consistent with the near-gravity speed of fall and virtually symmetrical collapse of all three of the WTC buildings. While turning concrete into very fine dust, they fell straight-down into their own footprints.

These experts and scholars have found themselves obliged to conclude that the 9/11 atrocity represents an instance of the approach--which has been identified by Karl Rove, the President's closest adviser--of "creating our own reality."

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA James Fetzer 218 724-2706

Re:Who's being repressive? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708679)

You think you are special? The only reason that you got first post is because the amazing, sexy Trip Masterbater Monkey let you have it. We all know that despite the fact that everyone is sick of his first post whoring, he keeps doing it! Hell, he even subscribes to gaurantee that he can get his inane "here is a quote from TFA, so mod me +5!!!" first posts. What a monkey slapping, anal licking bitch!!!!! Anyway, all bow to the Masterbater of Tripping Monkeys....

Re:Who's being repressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708712)

Right, but what else is new? Anything and everything government does necessarily comes at the expense of freedom. Government is the agency which holds the unique "right" to employ coercion as a means to an end; anyone else who does so is a criminal. Even a minimal libertarian government, strictly limited to protecting against actual coercion, would have to be funded through coercion.

If only the average individual understood this, instead of blindly swallowing the idea that government is somehow "voluntary" on the part of the citizen. You cannot volunteer to be subject to coercion, just as you cannot coerce a person to volunteer! The concepts are exactly opposite and mutually exclusive.

Re: Who's being repressive? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709007)

> Right, but what else is new? Anything and everything government does necessarily comes at the expense of freedom. Government is the agency which holds the unique "right" to employ coercion as a means to an end; anyone else who does so is a criminal. Even a minimal libertarian government, strictly limited to protecting against actual coercion, would have to be funded through coercion.

> If only the average individual understood this, instead of blindly swallowing the idea that government is somehow "voluntary" on the part of the citizen. You cannot volunteer to be subject to coercion, just as you cannot coerce a person to volunteer! The concepts are exactly opposite and mutually exclusive.

Yeah, 'cause Joe Citizen would be sooo much happier under an anarchy.

Re:Who's being repressive? (0)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708766)

Seems almost ironic doesn't it?

Not really, soon the State Department will realize and officially deem the USofA as "repressive to human rights".

Now that would be ironic.

For those that are not in touch with current events, read about PATRIOT Act, unwarranted email searches, unwarranted phone taps, unwarranted detainment without being charged nor right to legal council, not to include the laundry list of things we have lost over the past 4 years or so years.

Re:Who's being repressive? (2, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708862)

I will say one thing: at least we still have enough rule of law to fight to preserve the rule of law. When was the last time you heard about the Chinese government not being legally able to implement a domestic policy?

Is it? (4, Insightful)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708988)

It's called "sanction." What's ironic is how long China has been free from sanctions.

Would it seem "repressive" to say "State Department moves to block Google from installing servers at Natanz uranium enrichment site in Iran?"

USA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708593)

Oh the irony...re: secret prisons, guantanamo, etc. Go USA!!!

Make Peace in the Middle East you Hipocrite! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708686)

comparing APPLES to ORANGES

        "We don't intend retaliation over the drawings of the prophet. We just want to show that freedom is restricted in the West," said Davood Kazemi . . . executive manager of the contest.

The Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest may be a great exercise to demonstrate how restricted so-called free speech is in the West, but cartoons about the Holocaust are not a helpful comparison to the ones aimed at insulting the prophet Muhammad.

The latter insult a man revered by over a billion people, the vast majority of whom live in peace, minding their own business, while the former questions facts and figures of a historical event continuously brandished politically to exact reparations for its victims.

The former can be triggered either by curiosity, conflicting facts, or a desire to refute accusations; the latter cannot be explained by anything other than contempt and animosity for an entire population who revere the prophet.

Questioning the Holocaust is like questioning how many people were killed in the American civil war, or whether or not slavery truly existed in America (as they describe in textbooks), or who scalped who first, American Indians or Spanish settlers.

True, people are emotionally invested in one particular version of events over another. And, indeed only one version of events can actually be true (only God knows what it is). But, persons who believe different versions need not necessarily hate one another (although they might depending on how much is riding on one version being true).

In contrast, you CANNOT launch a full frontal attack on the founder of a religion without hurling hatred and contempt at his followers. It cannot be explained as an innocuous exercise in free speech or a fair exercise in debating or challenging historical facts.

It's like comparing apples to oranges.

Caught up brutally beating Iraqi teens (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708915)

Caught up brutally beating Iraqi teens- Watch the Video
2/13/2006 3:10:00 PM GMT

Advertisement

PRISONER 1 is hauled in wearing a dark blue T-shirt, blue jeans and white trainers

The News of the World unveiled yesterday a video exposing rogue squad of British soldiers savagely beating a group of young Iraqi civilians- with 42 brutal blows.

The video is expected to revive the world's anger sparked in April 2004 by the horrific abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib jail near the Iraqi capital.

The shocking video obtained by the British newspaper, shows British soldiers kicking, punching and striking young Iraqi civilians with batons.

In the tape, described as a "secret home video" and apparently filmed for fun by a corporal, an unidentified cameraman is heard laughing and urging his colleagues on, the BBC said on its website.

The minute long attacks, which included 42 blows, took place at the troops' home base.

The February 12th report titled "Shamed By 42 Brainless Blows" said that "The video -- later shown to the corporal's pals at their home base in Europe -- was exposed to the News of the World by a disgusted whistleblower."

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708600)

1) Good luck chums, worst case Google et al form shell companies to own the servers in china

2) Congress would better use their time investigating the human rights abuses commited by this Adminitration instead of pointing fingers.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (4, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708661)

1) Good luck chums, worst case Google et al form shell companies to own the servers in china

No, worst case they move their corporate HQ out of the US, (and set up a shell company in the US, to handle that business) thereby not only no longer having to worry about the new laws, but also moving their taxable revenue outside the US. As well as a fair portion of their jobs.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708765)

No, worst case they move their corporate HQ out of the US, (and set up a shell company in the US, to handle that business) thereby not only no longer having to worry about the new laws, but also moving their taxable revenue outside the US. As well as a fair portion of their jobs.

Given the repeated insinuation that American Software Engineers are worthless in comparison to the great and glorious India Institute of Technology graduates (after all, why else have an H-1b program to make Americans unemployed and bring them here), I think that end for Google or any other software company is unaviodable at this point- the stockholders will require it (after all, why should they pay a $45,000/year salary when they could get by paying a $5000/year salary for the same job?)

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1, Flamebait)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708869)

Given the repeated insinuation that American Software Engineers are worthless in comparison to the great and glorious India Institute of Technology graduates (after all, why else have an H-1b program to make Americans unemployed and bring them here), I think that end for Google or any other software company is unaviodable at this point

Well, outsourcing your lowest-level jobs to India is one thing. Moving there and having your new board of directors babbling "durka durka durrr" all day is something entirely different.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

rbochan (827946) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708662)

Or worst case: google et al shut down and start running from other countries exclusively, taking their lucrative tax revenue and shareholder profits with them.

great idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708605)

Let's have excessive government regulations to keep them out of countries that we deem to have excessive government regulations.

Anti free trade (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708606)

When have embargos worked? VEry rarely I presume. There's no point in this. Also why target high tech .. what about walmart?

No I am not in favor of cutting off trade in any case.. people should have the right to buy goods from wherever they like.

Re:Anti free trade (1)

Ced_Ex (789138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708664)

When have embargos worked? VEry rarely I presume. There's no point in this. Also why target high tech .. what about walmart?

No I am not in favor of cutting off trade in any case.. people should have the right to buy goods from wherever they like.


I'm thinking Cuba. That country has turned into shits because the US has forced every company it deals with to stop trading with Cuba in order to punish their Communist regime. It is really unfortunate as well, since the average Cuban is very nice and carry no ill will towards the US despite the embargo.

"cutting off trade in any case" (+2 insightful ?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708724)

So you'd trade with the third reich during WWII ????

You libertarians are sooooo cooooool.

Most favored nation (1)

tonywong (96839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709013)

Doesn't China already have MFN status? Why not just revoke that instead?

Re:Anti free trade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14709014)

They worked well enough in the 30's when the US embargoed the sale of oil to Japan.

Are they stopping (2, Insightful)

orrigami (769691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708611)

the export of cheap goods from China to the US. I know censorship is a bad thing, but it seems like finally some US companies selling stiff to china instead of the other way around. Which is good for the US, No?

Re:Are they stopping (1)

JourneymanMereel (191114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708945)

And could a move like this backfire? Could Google decide they'd rather be based in a country that didn't restrict who they can do buisness with and move to, say, Canada. I don't think that would really be in our best interest.

Re:Are they stopping (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709019)

Exactly. This is a stupid measure.

If they were serious about doing anything to China, they would threaten to put some tariffs on Chinese imports into the U.S. -- perhaps equal to whatever China puts on U.S. goods? There would be a certain amount of poetic justice in that. (Actually, I'd be all for doing that just as a general rule, with every country.) Or if we agree that's unworkable, we could go for an industry that they haven't really started yet, so that it wouldn't affect American consumers too much -- how about the Chinese auto market? I suspect it would only take a few hundred dollars of tariffs per unit to make them less competitive than the Koreans or the Japanese. I can't imagine that the central planners there haven't started to take automobile exports to the U.S. into consideration for the next few years -- all that predicted revenue would disappear from the sheets overnight.

Do I think we have the balls to do that? Sadly, no.

But to stop a U.S. high tech firm from exporting things to China, especially given that high tech is one of the only areas where the U.S. is even close to competitive with the Third World, seems a little like shooting ourselves in the foot.

I think what Cisco, Google, and Yahoo (among many others) have done is deplorable, and I'm particularly incensed at Google's brazen hypocrisy. But as a country which exports so little in relation to our imports, I'm not sure this is the way to make a point to the Chinese government.

Why just internet companies? (2, Insightful)

jsnitsel (253325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708612)

Seems kind of discriminatory to only go after internet companies. Anyone who does business there is supporting the system as much as Google, etc. are. I really think it is just some politicians trying to score some cheap points.

They help censorship (4, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708720)

Plain and simple. This is a censorship issue. It isn't a "we like china" or "we dislike china" issue. When Google or Microsoft or Yahoo sit down with the Chinese and decide to open up shop they have to censor, and part of that is having programmers who work on censoring software. Are you really comfortable with the fact that Google is using money they make off of you to write censorship software? They are only improving the state of censorship in China and who knows maybe someday that censorship software might just end up censoring you, or censoring something you want to access. Makes me sick.

Re:They help censorship (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708861)

Which is morally correct, no google, or a censored google?
In a country where everyone knows the government censors everything already?

We need to keep Google out of the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708622)

I don't like Uncle Sam in my search records any more than the commies. The commies actually never promised to protect and defend my constitution, so I have less problem with them than the spies and nannies in my midst.

Only in the US (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708625)

This could only come out of the US. Sure, I don't agree with the techniques and laws of the countries in question, but trying to pass legislation on where a private or publically held company can open its business to... that's just ridiculous. Its also going to be interesting to enforce. Suppose Google splits off google.ca (Canada) as a seperate company (maybe it already has). Then google.ca opens/runs/maintains google.cn. What can the US gov really do about it?

Re:Only in the US (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708716)

I see where you're coming from, but most nations already have laws restricting whom one can and can't do business with. Typically it's about militarily significant technologies being exported to countries that might want to use it for something other than agriculture or making really neat CG movies. So the idea is nothing new. Stretching it to this point is pretty silly/pointless, though.

Why Internet Companies? (5, Insightful)

garoo1980 (893796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708631)

I wonder why the US government doesn't ban all US based companies from dealing with China, if they want to be pro human rights for a change. Its so hypocritical for them to ensure that US information isn't housed in China and use human rights as a cover. IF human rights were a truly important issue companies like WALMART wouldn't be allowed to trade with them. That would make an actual difference

Re:Why Internet Companies? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708709)

Sounds like a plan to me. But as long we're in Politics.slashdot.org, does that mean you won't mind if I take a cheap shot at Bill Clinton, who helped extend them "most favored nation" trading status and who may have (according to some people- conspiracy theorists? or no?) sold them all sorts of military technology?

Re:Why Internet Companies? (1)

garoo1980 (893796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708778)

Eek. I hadn't heard that. I know you can go one of 2 ways with countries you disagree with. You can 1) trade with them and hope the interaction will gradually rub off on them, or 2) throw up embargos and force a much more immediate change. I'd say with China and Cuba the first method has worked better, but hardly. Both are failures really. I look at it more simply, I just don't want to deal with a government that kills its own people. We should be dealing with India. They have a huge population also, better training, and a half descent record

Re:Why Internet Companies? (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708887)

I look at it more simply, I just don't want to deal with a government that kills its own people.

You are aware the United States carries out the death penalty, yes?

Re:Why Internet Companies? (1)

garoo1980 (893796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708970)

I didn't say the US should be excempt either :P

Re:Why Internet Companies? (4, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708965)

Bill Clinton, who helped extend them "most favored nation" trading status

And what about that pinko Nixon -- he kowtowed to Mao in 1972.

And that fellow-traveller Reagan: "...a few countries must obtain an annual presidential waiver or extension of a waiver to continue their NTR status. China is the most important country in this group which must obtain an annual waiver to maintain NTR. The waiver for China has been in effect since 1980."

Re:Why Internet Companies? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708917)

I wonder why the US government doesn't ban all US based companies from dealing with China, if they want to be pro human rights for a change

Because China has more men able for military service than our entire population.

What about licensing deals? (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708650)

A lot of those companies may not have their own servers in the nations in question, but they license technology to partners in the region to handle their day-to-day stuff. For example, Yahoo has a partnership with Alibaba.com. Let's say Google say "ok, we won't move our servers there." But they license everything out to a regional partner, and help them set it up. Is this a law that has a very clear loophole prior to even getting going? As such, does it make it another "feel good" law, the kind that we seem to be getting over the last 15 years or so?

Re:What about licensing deals? (1)

garoo1980 (893796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708889)

They can do it. In the late 90's the US passed a law that punished any foreign company that did work for Cuba. The US has had a trade embargo against Cuba for 50 years, but it only affected US based companies. The new law prevented a Canadian company from doing business in the US if it was doing business in Cuba. The extention of this would prevent Google from operating in the US if it was dealing with China

back at ya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708660)

I hear European Union is collaborating with asian authorities to keep Everything out of the US.

Who'll win..?

Minimum standards (4, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708670)

Since I'm a Free market capitalist republican with Libertarian tendancies I would, most of the the time ask congress to keep their hands off of what a company does. But...after thinking about this I REALLY do think that if a company is based the U.S.A. it should have to abide by minimum standardars that represent what our country stands for (reguardless if you think the U.S. is hypacritical or not!). Some of the things they should have to abide by if they still want to be based out of the U.S.

1. Child Labour laws
2. Free Speech
3. Environmental regulations

I would'nt expect them to have to obey ALL of the laws of the U.S. and the localality where they are setting up shop, but going to another country does should not give a company a way around laws here (in the U.S.).

If they refuse then they can base their company in the Bahamas or some other country and take whatever fallout comes.

just an opinion

Re:Minimum standards (1)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708789)

I would'nt expect them to have to obey ALL of the laws of the U.S. and the localality where they are setting up shop,

Why not? Are US laws so unreasonable?

IIRC Swedish companies have to follow swedish and local laws.

Re:Minimum standards (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708852)

Perhaps corporations can be forced to certain standards in the same vein that a US citizen still has to follow certain laws even outside the country - like not visiting Cuba (w/o permission), or acts of treason.....

Anyway, I'm still sitting on the fence. If a US company doesn't exploit certain realities in other countries (lets say child labor), what is to stop, say an Irish company from doing the same and selling a similiar product to Wal-mart for less. It might be helpful to look at the factors that caused Child Labor to pretty much stop in the UK and in America.....

Re:Minimum standards (1)

garver (30881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708992)

what is to stop, say an Irish company from doing the same and selling a similiar product to Wal-mart for less.
The Irish people.

Re: Minimum standards (1, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708928)

> I REALLY do think that if a company is based the U.S.A. it should have to abide by minimum standardars that represent what our country stands for (reguardless if you think the U.S. is hypacritical or not!).

I presume you mean our myths about what we stand for, instead of what we actually stand for.

Re:Minimum standards (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708931)

1. Child Labour laws ....grumble....

2. Free Speech ....hmmmm....tutut.....grumble.....

3. Environmental regulations

AHA!!! COMMUNIST!!!
Disregard 1 and 2. On with the profiteering!!!

Re:Minimum standards (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708952)

All you've done then is to open the door for other companies with lower standards to move in. If you really want to change the way another company operates, the way to do is not by hampering your own companies. Suppose some eithical company, lets call them USAEthletics, only makes shoes by following all of the US's labour, environmental, and other laws. They're shoes wholesale cost $80. Another company, Vike, based outside of the US, makes shoes as cheap as they can, using child labour, etc. They're shoes wholesale at $20. Now, you go into the store, see two pairs of shoes, same overall quality. One pair costs $80, one costs $320. Even if there is some bad publicity with the Vike brand, but I'll bet that the store barely stocks the USAEthletics brand because they'll rarely, if ever sell.

Typical free market capitalist republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708994)

As long as that free market is enginnered to our standards and for our benifit. I bet you're also one of those limited-government republicans like our current president. There is way too much relativism in modern conservatism.

And the real reason? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708677)

Don't put the servers overseas 'cause they have oppressive governments!

Aha. But ... it's all right to have them assemble cheap junk for us to buy, no matter how oppressive their government are.

Could it be, just maybe, that the reason isn't the oppressive government but rather that those bastards don't wanna let you sniff into their search records, hmmm?

USA playing big daddy again (3, Insightful)

ravee (201020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708680)

After the cold war and the break up of soviet union, it has increasingly become a habit with the USA governments to try and play big daddy to all the nations.

This trend is really disconcerting for people living outside the US. As far as china is concerned, it is entirely a different story. Communism and capitalism can be equated to the devil and the deep sea. Both are not good for the nations. If one ideology generates oppression, the other inculcates greed.

So... (1)

scifience (674659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708688)

So, why don't we ban them from the US, too? Our human rights record has not exactly been spotless, lately.

Re:So... (1, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708801)

The US government, for all its problems on the human rights front, is by and large, and infinitely friendlier nation to its citizens than China. While I think, even on the Internet front, the US needs to back off a bit, to compare China's large-scale censoring of the Net to anything the US does is ridiculous.

The real problem here is that this move is idiotic. US Internet companies will simply open up shell companies (if they haven't done it already) to operate their branch sites on soil that the US deems non-rights compliant. In short, it's a waste of time. Congress has much better ways to makes its displeasure with China's continued human rights abuses known than forbidding Google to operate in China.

That all being said, Google is still a friend to tyrants, happily profiting from China's fear of its citizens hearing the truth.

Internet company? (1)

JFlex (763276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708689)

...Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft...

Microsoft is an Internet company? Wow, i've really been out of it.

why only computers. (1)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708714)

How come internet companies have to stay out but Wal*mat gets slave labor?
Are we allowed to buy stuff cheap from there but not allow them to search?
Are servers rare?
The quote seems to indicate that we need them here and can't spare any.
Does China not have the technology in those servers?

It makes no sense.
It's like a kitten with a tuba.

Re:why only computers. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708820)

Oh, China most certainly has the tech to build those servers. They were more likely than not built in China. From the silicon on the mainboard to the metal of the case.

Re:why only computers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708902)

A kitten with a tuba tuna? Meow!

There's always around a law. (1)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708719)

FTFA: Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.

All a company has to do is develop a "joint" venture with a European, Asian, or even a Chinese company (i.e. government) and bingo! the "joint venture's" servers are now in China under Chinese Government's control.

I think the Chinese government, as a condition of doing business in their country, will not put up with this law - as in a company will not be able to abide by the spirit of the law. I'm thinking of starting a pool on haw fast this bill is squashed.

I've got next week.

minimum standards - spell checked version (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708722)

Since I'm a Free market capitalist republican with Libertarian tendencies I would, most of the the time ask congress to keep their hands off of what a company does. But...after thinking about this I REALLY do think that if a company is based the U.S.A. it should have to abide by minimum standards that represent what our country stands for (regardless if you think the U.S. is hypocritical or not!). Some of the things they should have to abide by if they still want to be based out of the U.S.

1. Child Labor laws
2. Free Speech
3. Environmental regulations

I wouldn't expect them to have to obey ALL of the laws of the U.S. in the locality where they are setting up shop, but going to another country should not give a company a way around laws here (in the U.S.).

If they refuse then they can base their company in the Bahamas or some other country and take whatever fallout comes.

just an opinion

You ARE aware (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708782)

...that the US might fail on 2 and most certainly will fail on 3?

But I'm sure a lot of US companies would support your idea. Hey, it's like asking them to outsource labour!

Art. I, Sec. 8 (1, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708732)

First, I'm opposed to anyone doing any business in China until they get their act cleaned up. In fact, I'd be for a such a law that bars American businesses from doing any business there.

Second, I don't see anywhere in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution [usconstitution.net] that allows for Congress to regulate the activities of private business in foreign countries. Therefore, I am opposed to the bill and for an amendment to the Constitution that will provide Congress with the proper authority to do so.

Is it a good idea? Of course. Is it constitutional? Not a chance.

Mod Parent Down (2, Informative)

stinerman (812158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708904)

I have my facts wrong. Clause 3 allows for this. I apologize.

Let us hope the gentleman from NJ is able to shepherd this bill through Congress and to Mr. Bush.

Re:Art. I, Sec. 8 (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708948)

First, I'm opposed to anyone doing any business in China until they get their act cleaned up.

Just so we're clear, what would constitute a "clean act" for China?

Google should just relocate to Guantanamo bay... (4, Funny)

Expert Determination (950523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708741)

...where'd they get all the benefits of the US without any of the disadvantages.

Just hurt our economy (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708742)

They'll just move their HQ to Canada or Mexico and keep on doing what they did before except it'll churn less money in the US economy. Free trade is in everyone's best interest (except the politicians, of course).

Move to china! (1)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708746)

Seriously, What a stupid thing to do! China can make them or any other US company truck loads of money. More potential for profit then the US, that's for sure. If I were google, I would just move to another country. Base it in Germany or something. Then you can use the favorable exchange rate to buy up small American companies in the states of the jackasses writing this stuff and close them just for spite. Then launch a media campaign explaining it's all their fault. At lease that's what I'd do.

I would legislate just the opposite... (1)

BalkanBoy (201243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708755)

since fighting China by military, or economic means is nearly futile, about the only way left is to disseminate information via the internet in all imaginable ways. If the net is a 'true democracy', then by 'painlessly' infiltrating it into the hands of 1.3 billion Chinese, we'd be 'waging' a successful war on China... which, lest you forgot, is still considered the last, dying, communist bastion of the world.

Write to your senators; prevent this travesty. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708757)

Don't let the United States Government encumber the internet with any more garbage legislation which has no chance of doing anything but stifling growth on the internet.

I believe in the free enterprise system. Google is an independent entrepreneur within the free enterprise system. China is attempting to become so (on its own terms). Let market pressure and the free enterprise system work this out. China cannot remain forever an island (I mean, really . . . look at the size of the place :^)

Human Rights? (1)

twifosp (532320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708762)

From the article: 'Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"

Yea right. More like keeping vital servers and technology out of China and other nations the State Department deems competitive to US economy. The last thing the US wants is for China have access to free information. If China ever got their act together and started emulating the US economy of our industrial age, they would take over the world economy in a heartbeat.

If this was about human rights, we would have stopped trading with China decades ago. No, this is about working with the Chinese Government to help keep its people down. It's what China wants, and it is what the US wants.

Spin spin spin spin, spin spin spin spin....

That's okay.... (2)

cttforsale (803028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708777)

We'll still buy Chinese goods, and send our atheletes to their games....

Localized servers or limited pay? (1)

djkuhl (902899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708779)

Google blames those problems on the fact that its servers are now housed outside China, crimping response time as users reach sometimes thousands of miles to servers in the USA. Accepting government content limits meant Google could win a license to operate within China and locate servers there, says Senior Policy Counsel Andrew McLaughlin.

Other friendly countries nearby that have better human rights policies: Japan, Philippines, and South Korea.

I suppose those locations would also make sense, if they never noticed an advantage of the government-controlled dirt cheap labor force in China. It's not a localization issue, it's a revenue and profit issue. Expect that any Google Japan, Philippines, or South Korea sites would locate in China, too.

But What About Free Trade??? (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708793)

Folks, it sounds more and more like a communist state here in the good old US of A every day. We're a CAPITALIST society! The way capitalism works is that you let the market decide. Them's the basics. Now if our government is going to go getting their nose in the business of companies that are making a lot of us a lot of money, then maybe it's time to oust the government. Google or any other large tech industry business has every right to bil... err... profit in any country in the world they see fit. Grandpa Bush [nhgazette.com] and IBM [ibmandtheholocaust.com] new that even in WWII. They didn't let little things like the holocust get in the way of profitable business deals. And why should they have? As I like to say, "ethical concerns always get in the way of progress".

So now we have the people that we put into office trying to step on the rights of companies like Google to succeed in business. We voted in people who have betrayed our trust. Instead of applauding these successful companies for their large profits and the wealth they bring to our country, they instead trample their right to profit in the name of some illusory moral concerns [christusrex.org] . If we, as a nation, had any balls we'd be voting these bufoons out of office before they start taking our guns away and throwing us in gulags.

It's all about money (1)

sabernar (245306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708795)

The US can't ban companies from doing business with China because China owns a LOT of our debt. Where do you think we're borrowing all this money from? Well, boys and girls, it's China (and some other countries). We can't ban all business with them because they can go ahead and call in the debt, which would be a huge economic disaster for the US.

mixed feelings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708800)

How about this...

You get an email account in the U.S. The U.S. company has servers in a foreign country hostile to the U.S. They read your email.

You query google but the server happens to be in China. Now China wants to look at your queries.

Is China going to honor your rights? No way Jose. Yet, I was a non technical user who thought these services where in the U.S.

Can they even export this stuff to China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708821)

Sorry to coward... I'm at the law library computer lab.

I heard or read here on the Interdoodle a few years ago that technically, Windows XP itself was not supposed to be exported, because it features DES Encryption, which is classified by the government as a "munition."

Am I remembering this accurately, or is it just FUD? I checked snopes and such and didn't see anything. And yet clearly WXP is exported all over the place, so for whatever reason, there isn't much in the way of enforcement here.

For my part, I'd like to go hands-off and let the companies do whatever they want, but the authority which makes that possible is the US Government, so some degree of adherence to that government's rules is reasonable to expect.

Huh? (1)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708822)

Let's see if I have this straight...

In order to oppose governments who repress their people, our government is going to repress its people [more].

It's not surprising; just wanted to make sure I got the gist of it.

Draconic (1)

Rapter09 (866502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708828)

I highly doubt that a country like China - with the possibility and skill that (not to seem *positively* racist) asian people seem to have in their studies and grasp of technology - would feel the burn of loosing Google or any other company for that matter before they make their own replacement. I think they're making the mistake of assuming the country NEEDS Google, not that Google needs the country (and I don't just mean this in direct relation to China, i mean it in a more broad terminology... any country besides China for that matter.) I can understand some of the reasoning behind it in a very roundabout way, but it's still a very draconic bill. It's the implications behind the thing.

Just in case China can't censor the internet (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708835)

It seems like search engines are generally going to lag slightly in censoring things behind how they index the web, so people searching for subversive information will tend to get only the most recent bunch of sites to come up, but they'll have an easier time getting information than if they didn't have search engines or if they only had search engines that included only sites previously approved by the government.

The real concern should be that search engines will keep records of searches and turn them over to the government. Google seems unwilling to do this (while other companies seem quite willing). And, of course, government-sponsored or locally-based engines will be more likely to turn over their data than foreign ones.

If this senator really wanted to help the Chinese people rather than the Chinese government, he'd propose banning keeping search records or revealing this information to outside parties.

Bogus headline: Keep the SERVERS out (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708848)

Even USA Today has it right in their headline "Bill would keep servers out of China". Slashdot appears even more tabloid with this headline implying the companies wouldn't be able to operate there. Guess what; I'm in China, I use US servers most of the time.

Yahoo has surrendered personal data on two dissidents at least that have lead to their arrests. Yahoo claims they had no choice. Well, if the data wasn't in China, they wouldn't have had that excuse, though they probably would have folded anyway.

Hum. (1)

mrseigen (518390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708854)

So Google and the other Internet companies can't have servers in repressive countries, but Nike and Wal-mart have the go-ahead for child labour? I'm a big opponent of Internet censorship myself, but let's solve the problem we've been putting off for awhile first before we hop onto that big ol' Information Superhighway and start legislating away.

not surprising (1)

bobalu (1921) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708863)

Chris Smith (R-NJ) is usually busy crafting legislation to gag 3rd world countries re. abortion services in family planning clinics.

To his credit he *has* been a strong supporter of veterans health care and the like, for which he was kicked off the committee chair because he wanted more money than the other Republicans wanted to give. Apparently they're big on allocating money to send the guys into harm's way but want to minimize the health care costs when the vets come back broken.

The Supreme Court (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708865)

I'd love to see companies fight this and take it to the Supreme Court. I'm very interested to know if they will decide the federal government has the right to mandate this. It could potentially end this debate once and for all.

FUD and Flamebait? (5, Informative)

QuestorTapes (663783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708903)

A few observations:

> USATODAY is reporting that lawmakers in the US are proposing legislation that
> would keep Google and others out of China.

Actually, no. First off, the bill hasn't even been drafted yet.

Secondarily, as I read the article, it wouldn't prevent anyone from doing business in China and other oppressive regimes. It would simply require the "vital computer servers" (currently not defined; remember, it hasn't been -drafted- yet) from being located physically within the opressive regime's geographic control.

> From the article: 'Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that
> would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft
> to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State
> Department deems repressive to human rights.

The part that wasn't quoted says: "Moving servers would keep personal data they house from government reach. But that also could weaken the firms' crucial Internet search engines."

It appears the intent of the bill is to prohibit situations where crucial equipment could be physically compromised by force, although since it hasn't been drafted yet, it could go further, of course.

I don't know anything about Rep. Smith, but this page:

http://www.house.gov/chrissmith/laws/laws.htm [house.gov]

Seems to indicate he has been actively interested in human rights under opressive regimes rather than gestapo internet control laws. Maybe he deserves the benefit of the doubt, at least until after he has finished a first draft we could look at?

Nice try Congresscritters (1)

cyranose (522976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708912)

If congress won't even stop US companies from relocating offshore to avoid US taxes, won't do a damn thing about the trade deficit WITH CHINA, they're going to somehow get up the courage to enforce American laws (which may or may not be set aside by the executive) on (what would become) foreign subsidiaries?

Can we say publicity stunt?

Next thing you know, they'll try declaring search engines "munitions."

Here's a better idea Congressthing, pass a law that the US will cut off ALL trade and diplomatic relations with China until they meet certain human rights standards.

Why should companies be penalized for something the US gov't isn't willing to do itself?

Typical hypocrisy (1)

Skynyrd (25155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708923)

So...
it's OK to send our manufactuing capability overseas
it's OK to uy most of our goods from overseas

it's wrong to sell them data

The fucking idiots we keep voting in.

This from a country (1)

Bazzalisk (869812) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708933)

which still has the bloody death penalty - by electric chair, no less!

Perhaps the EU should place a trade embargo on the US for similar reasons?

Great (1)

Mancat (831487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708949)

That's fine by me. We shouldn't be doing business with China AT ALL. They are our largest enemy. They would like nothing less than our absolute destruction. They've caused the destruction of America's manufacturing sector. As more business moves to China, we are giving them the ability to cripple our nation in one fell swoop, simply by stopping shipments of goods we depend upon them for.

But they make cheap stuff, so who cares, right!?

Look, I'm no xenophobe, but am I the only one out there that thinks that, even though they are our largest trading ally now, China has some other plans for us further down the road? I don't see any reason to trust them, but day by day we are more reliant on China to survive.

So, why keep funding their government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708955)

So, we won't let google go there, but Wal-mart can buy up something like 10% of their total exports?

How does that make sense?

It's because if joe-bob redneck can't get a $40 TV for every room in his house, those politicians won't get re-elected.

What a sad bunch of crap.

How would this help the Chinese people? (2, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708959)

I'm torn on this issue. On the one hand, the Chinese government is restricting free speech, and US companies are assisting in that effort. On the other hand, I believe that in general engagement is the best way to cajole repressive governments into better behavior. There are limits to this, of course. Discerning those limits is difficult. For example, why are we not similarly purturbed with American activities in Russia, even though everyone knows the last vestiges of Russian democracy are slipping away. How much of the current reaction to American tech companies' involvement with China is really a reaction to growing Chinese economic power?

Another question: Would pulling Google, Cisco, et. al. from China actually help the Chinese people at large, would it harm them, or would the end result be neutral? Would we be harming our own economic interests for some tangible end, or would it be a hollow gesture, akin to the "Free Tibet" bumper stickers that make us all feel good, but are essentially pointless?

It sounds like I'm begging the question, because right now I am leaning in favor of keeping the US government from interfering with tech companies that do business in China. But I am still profoundly uncomfortable with the idea that American technology is being used to smother dissent. So at the moment, all I have is questions.

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14708967)

So you want to keep the servers out of China. Well, to do business in China, you are going to have to comply with their rules:

1) Block search info
2) Hand over names of bloggers
3) What ever else

Great now your servers are in the US now their Gov. cannot take the hardware but if you don't play ball; then you get blocked anyway. This doesn't solve the problem; so stop putting band aids on when you have a cut artery

Land of the Free (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14708984)

How about requiring American corporations to keep their accounting computers in the US, where US laws can govern them? And while they're at it, how about Congress making some laws that actually stop Enrons, WorldComs and Andersons and their Kenny-boy Lay generation from robbing people?

Wouldn't the "Microsoft strategy" work better? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14709017)

"Embrace, Extend, Extinguish".

Encourage companies to trade with them, and encourage them to push the boundaries of what's allowed there. Let the people see what they're missing out on.

Tim

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