Google Needs to Come Clean About Its Chinese Plans

By panarky - 11 hours ago

Showing first level comment(s)

It is simply not possible to both cooperate with the Chinese (or, to a lesser extent, any other) government against its citizens and remain transparent. Part of this type of cooperation includes a requirement by the government for opacity. This is easier for less-principled and/or more closed companies. You can only not-cooperate transparently (and even then, only sometimes).

The real problem is you can't have a we'll-publicly-disagree-but-do-it-anyways approach with China like you might elsewhere. There's a reason a CEO might make a public post disagreeing with the approach of one government yet will forever remain mum concerning another.

Just stop requiring growth at all costs, chalk up the China (and military) market as a loss, and continue operating at your massively profitable status quo. It may seem like it's a double standard when other companies have access to those markets sans media backlash, but just recognize the differences are known out here in the masses.

kodablah - 8 hours ago

Fact 1: Google only pulled search business out of China. adsense/adwords/maps works fine in China

Fact 2: Search engines are more and more irrelevant these days. All interesting new content are either from Weibo or Wechat (or other closed garden)

Fact 3: all reports about "Google returning to China" are based solely on the "Intercept report"[1] as source. I suggest everyone take a look at it. I think there's a huge misunderstanding. Maybe it's in-app search for some domain business only instead of web-wide search?

Fact 4: Firewalls in China has a hierarchical layers of blocking. Some times the plain text http is effected, sometimes it's the DNS, sometimes it's the tis certs, most of the time it's heuristics (e.g. SVM model to classify traffic) and random. There are also collateral blocking, like a blocking a CDN. You can't guess exactly which one piece of information was the culprit. And it all varies in places and time. All "blocking" are based on empirical assumptions, no one have ever done a large scale, down to the packet level study of it. Administrative notices of taking down articles are blurry as hell. Sometimes there's even corporates faking govn't orders to remove some review as PR move. So it's very hard to suggest if an "article" should be blocked or not. The chinese govn't utilize this method to force everyone to "self-censorship" and some business are making a profit of it.


est - 10 hours ago

Why does Google anymore need to come clean than any other American business that does business with China?

scarface74 - 7 minutes ago

> Eight years after Google initially took a stand against Internet censorship by exiting the Chinese search market

Wried, don't just mention the censorship reason. The bigger picture is [0][1]:

1. China government demanding content deletion by "Red-Header Files" (Government document) rather than law (As it will make the censorship too apparent), and it's violated Google's policy. NOT because of Google is an anti-censorship enthusiast as many people think they are.

2. During that time, Google (including Gmail) also under attack (with possible internal help) by a group of hackers who Google claims are sponsored by the government.

Now, 8 years later, things changed a lot. Especially after the implementation of the China Internet Security Law (中华人民共和国网络安全法)[2] which makes censorship a public responsibility ...




rqs - 9 hours ago

I'm an American, own and operate two Chinese companies (an operations/engineering consulting company and a factory). I was here when Google left.

From the end user's viewpoint, internet censorship has only become more strict. While VPN access has never been totally unavailable, it can be painful to use. I've changed my browsing habits to settle for using Bing more than I otherwise would have. At the same time, I'm thankful at least Bing is here. At least, Bing provides reasonable access to search results for technical queries in English. Like, returning helpful answers to Stack Overflow programming questions. Baidu is useless for this.

From a business point of view, to give you some sense of my perspective. I'm not operating with corporate deep pocket money, own 100% of my company, bootstrapped, sales between $1-$3M USD/year for past five years. At this point, I guess I fit into a class of entrepreneur best labeled "multi-national small business owner". It is a tough segment to try to operate in. It requres a complex business structure with entities in several countries (now in China, Hong Kong, and USA). Lots of filings and tax issues to deal with. Being an American makes it even harder with rules and regulations.

So I read this article from the viewpoint of my own biases and experiences (as we all do).

What struck me was, the EFF takes a pain to focus on "the public, Google’s users, and Google’s employees". Further, they ask - "What sacrifices will Google make to its own operating practices in order to enter the Chinese market? Will it have to comply with China’s internal strict regulations, and how will these compromises affect its offerings outside of China?"

From my view, first let me just be frank, China does not give a fuck about Google. If Google comes to China, it will not change China's policy in any way. If Google does not come to China, it will have zero impact on China's policy, in any area.

So to address the first question EFF raises. Yes, with every company that comes to China, the company must adapt to China, not the other way around. There will be many sacrifices and changes to operating practices. As there are for every company that enters China.

For the second question. Yes, to compete here in China, Google will have to adapt to China's strict regulations regarding the things they do not want to be discussed. But, China is well aware of how to operate with separate sets of rules. Hell, they invented "One country, two systems" by integrating Hong Kong. It will not affect Google's offerings outside of China. But while inside their walls, you got to follow their rules.

Last, Google has direct competitors that are in China. This EFF article makes no mention of "shareholders" or "business". But, Google has the responsibility to their shareholders to enter new markets to compete where there is a void. It is not Google's responsibility to fight China. As far as human rights, censorship, etc, that is not Googles fight either, but one thing is certain, choosing to avoid China cannot help things in the future. If you are not here, physically inside China operating, there is zero chance you can have an impact, should the time ever arise.

Net/net. I think it is better for all parties to have Google back in China.

bobjordan - 8 hours ago

Why? It’s not like they’re using slave labor. Google will reveal their plans if and when it suits them.

gonyea - 8 hours ago

I'm seeing a lot of anti Chinese propaganda these days. I come from a small country whose first priority is always the economy so it seems awfully shortsighted. China isn't going to disappear you know. Best learn to get along.

phobosdeimos - 4 hours ago

Since Google has compiled with EU censorship why is this a big deal anymore? Or are we admitting to having double standards when it comes to China?

dingo_bat - 4 hours ago

This disproportionate focus on China is being used as a distraction from the all encompassing surveillance currently run by the NSA, GCHQ and Google, Facebook and others which is a far bigger and ongoing threat to democracy and citizens here. China's actions are limited to China.

There is hardly any activism against the invasive surveillance of SV companies or protests against the NSA. This forum itself has its fair share of apologists for surveillance capitalism. Where are the protests in front of Google and Facebooks campuses and in Washington?

So if people don't care about these issues at home how can they care about them in China? This is simply not credible or serious.

China's actions don't impact you, your governments and companies here do. In the absence of any mainstream activism, just singling out China for outrage and anger is duplicitous and comes across as motivated more by politics than any genuine concern for the issues.

throw2016 - 7 hours ago

Why are we going as far as China? Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, among others need to come clean about their censorship of conservative voices right here in their back yard. All the folks who rallied for net neutrality are now cheering for the coordinated Big Tech assault on free speech. This needs to be talked about. Agree or disagree with the voices they are silencing (ie. Alex Jones), what is happening these days is a dangerous precedent.

aviv - 9 hours ago