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[liberationtech] Google Bows Down To Chinese Government On Censorship

Martin Johnson greatfire at greatfire.org
Wed Jan 9 22:41:44 PST 2013


Maxim - what part of the story is not true?

I don't see how Google could have "lost to Chinese Cyber experts in being
able to keep this censored keywords system up". As far as I know, up until
early December when Google decided to disable the feature, it was working
fine. I also don't know how "Chinese cyber experts" could have disabled the
function. All the code was embedded on the front page. The only way I see
that would make it possible would be to rewrite content of the HTML file at
the GFW level. I don't know that the GFW does that kind of rewriting on any
website.

Agree on HTTPS, unfortunately.

Martin Johnson
Founder
https://GreatFire.org - Monitoring Online Censorship In China.
https://FreeWeibo.com - Uncensored, Anonymous Sina Weibo Search.
https://Unblock.cn.com - We Can Unblock Your Website In China.


On Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 5:01 AM, Karl Fogel <kfogel at red-bean.com> wrote:

> Maxim Kammerer <mk at dee.su> writes:
> >On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM, Martin Johnson <greatfire at greatfire.org>
> wrote:
> >> This latest move was fully controlled by Google and can as such only be
> described as self-censorship.
> >
> >The impression I am getting from my contacts at Google is that this is
> >not true. That is, Google apparently lost to Chinese Cyber experts in
> >being able to keep this censored keywords system up, and decided to
> >drop it altogether. PR team then, for whatever other reasons, decided
> >to keep complete silence on the subject.
> >
> >Of course, one can then ask why didn't Google simply force HTTPS on
> >Chinese users to begin with, but they probably considered complete
> >block of Google by GFC too real a possibility, and were too afraid to
> >lose market share.
>
> [not directed at Maxim, just a general thought on this topic]
>
> Rushes to judge Google about its handling of China should probably be
> tempered by the knowledge what the Chinese government really wants is to
> push local companies like Baidu.  The government's protectionist policy
> for Chinese web & technology companies just happens to mesh nicely with
> their censorship policy in this case.
>
> So if Google pushes too hard, the overall result will just be to give
> more market share to Baidu, which doesn't really help the cause of
> freedom for Chinese Internet users either.
>
> Google's executives understand this very well.  There's a good argument
> to be made that the things they could do to look brave and principled
> are not the things that would actually help information freedom in China
> in the long run.
>
> Please note that I'm not making a "shades of gray" point, just a
> "complexity" point.
>
> Best,
> -Karl
> --
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