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  1.  (7573.1)
    There were cyber attacks on Google, looking for information on human rights activists. That, along with the even more severe censorship steps taken in China recently have caused Google to take a step back... and think about not filtering at all.

    We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech. In the last two decades, China's economic reform programs and its citizens' entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nation is at the heart of much economic progress and development in the world today.

    via, also all over EFF, Lifehacker, etc

    Welcome to another Future, kids. I'm interested to see where this goes, and while wary of Google (as always), glad they're taking a side in freedom of information overlapping with privacy.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJan 13th 2010
    *shrug* China (the government) will say that they had nothing to do with it. Lacking any real evidence, the issue will slowly fade away.

    Even if Google pulls down, it's not going to really impact things much IMO.
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeJan 13th 2010
    I've been wondering for awhile whether there has been any hackers that have attempted to bring down China's internet filter systems? Is it even possible?
  2.  (7573.4)
    IIRC the filtering is part of the routers, right up to the big custom routers that handle backbone traffic. So I think it’s safe to assume that it won’t be easy to knock a router’s filter out without also knocking out the router, and I guarantee you it’s all redundant. To do it you’d have to steal or hack enough different pieces of hardware to get around the redundancy and be able to study them and develop a worm that could own the entire network—a pretty tall order for anyone outside organized crime or certain governments.
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeJan 13th 2010
    @Puckett- nerd stimulus plan?
  3.  (7573.6)
    Not really feasible because either you need someone on the inside or you need an exploit for each different model of hardware.
    There are ways around the firewall though in china. Just expect to get arrested if you get caught using them.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2010
    What I take away from this is that the Chinese government feels they no longer need western technology or western investment and can treat Western companies with contempt.
    • CommentAuthorRyan C
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2010
    I'm impressed Google is standing up to it. I imagine there is quite a bit of money involved here. It's very rare for a company (especially her in America) to do anything that might hurt its bottom line or lessen it's shareholders earnings.
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2010
    I'm also impressed Google is standing up to China. That's no small thing. Via NPR I found this blog post which (says the China-based NPR reporter, Louisa Lim) is the common opinion inside China. Interesting, though I don't think it's terribly illuminating to what's really going on.

    If you don't mind me speculating for just a bit because I have zero proof of this: Google doesn't do much without contingencies. I believe them when they say they dont want to be evil and thus was a little confused when they agreed to some censorship in order to get access. But that was as much for getting a foothold in China as competing internationally with Yahoo! i honestly couldn't guess what the contingency is to potentially getting kicked out of China. I envision a major expansion elsewhere on the planet for big G or else some other sideways/sneaky-yet-awesome way around the Great Firewall. The idea that the Google head honchos just threw up their hands and are willing to take a loss here goes against what I've come to expect from Google.

    Tangentially this also makes me think of the interesting switch from imagining that in the future we were all going to be speaking Japanese and selling grandmother's gold fillings for a Hello Kitty purse to imagining that in the future we'll be speaking Mandarin and choosing between the beige or tan Mao suit before going out on the town.
  4.  (7573.10)
    The idea that the Google head honchos just threw up their hands and are willing to take a loss here goes against what I've come to expect from Google.

    You’re assuming that the motivations aren’t financial. If Google isn’t making much there anyway then dealing with the state censorship and spying might be pushing the profit down so low that it isn’t worth the effort. Google might just have made a financial decision and is spinning it as a moral choice for positive PR.
    • CommentAuthorRyan C
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2010
    @James Puckett - I'm so bitter about corporations and yet I did not even think of that. Well done. I'm on board with that idea.
  5.  (7573.12)
    treat Western companies with contempt.

    Nice that someone has the balls to.

    I think people are unconciously onto something here which the Google thing is a small but noticable symptom. That is that the reliance on America for trade and economic expansion is ending. Corporations are finding cheaper workforces and less stringent Health and Safety rules in the developing world, hungry for all the tat and rubbish they've had dangled in front of them for the last 40 years. The Western Bloc, almost bankrupt, fighting in two ludicrously expensive wars and still assuming it is the big kid on the block is becoming increasingly redundant. Google isn't as big a deal in China as one may think and this is, as I say symptomatic of a re-emergence of it as a Superpower. Perhaps by the time it does so, it will be the only one, since the U.S. seems to be increasingly becoming a Banana Republic.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2010
    As with many things, i suspect the situation isn't quite as clear cut as some would like us to think it is.

    There's a nice article here: giving some detail on the technical side of things. Interestingly 'There was nothing in the binaries that indicated either way whether the code writers spoke Cantonese or Mandarin or were located in China.' but i suppose there wouldn't be, would there?

    Another article: gives some detail on the link with China: 'VeriSign iDefense said it has spoken to "two independent, anonymous sources in defense contracting and intelligence consulting." They told it the source IPs and drop server of the attack had been traced back to systems associated with agents of the Chinese state, or their proxies.'

    All as clear or as vague as you want it to be.

    Conclusions are a bit like the rocks at the bottom of a cliff. (Yes, i know, i'm sooo clever, me.)
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2010
    Google isn't as big a deal in China as one may think

    Several articles I've seen in the past few days say Google has roughly 40% of the Chinese search engine market and has most of the other 60%.

    So, yeah, it's not like there aren't alternatives.