Google to end censorship in China, threatens to pull out

By on January 12, 2010, 7:52 PM
In response to a series of cyber attacks, Google has announced that it will stop censoring search results in China -- and if the Chinese government doesn't like it, Google will exit the market.

In mid-December, the company discovered a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on its corporate infrastructure that originated from China, and the attackers made off with intellectual property of Google's. Upon further investigation however, it became evident that many other companies were similarly targeted, ranging such industries as finance, technology, Internet, media, and chemical.

Google believes the purpose of the attacks was to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists -- a goal that was largely unmet. The search giant notes that only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to things such as the date the account was created, rather than the content of its emails.

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What's more, Google's investigation revealed that accounts of dozens of US, China, and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been "routinely accessed by third parties." These accounts have not been compromised through a security breach at Google, but instead via phishing scams or malware.

Naturally, the search giant has already taken preventative measures within its infrastructure, but the nature of the attacks has pushed Google to go a step further. When the company launched Google.cn four years ago, it believed the benefits of its service outweighed the "discomfort" of censoring results, vowing to monitor conditions and alter its approach as laws and other restrictions came into play.

That is precisely what the company is now doing, saying "These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered -- combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web -- have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China."

Google says it is no longer willing to censor results in China, and it will discuss the possibility of providing the country with unfiltered results. If that isn't viable, the company threatens to shut down Google.cn as well as its offices in China.

This news could be the start of a snowball effect. For instance, if Google offers uncensored results in China, how would Microsoft, Yahoo or other Web companies react?




User Comments: 31

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

Google should stop censoring material in other countries and screwing with the hit counters for certain videos on YouTube.

Guest said:

Congratulations Google! The only company with balls enough to do what we all must do, stop feeding an atrociously evil empire called China. This regime has done nothing for the world other than import toxic cheap refuse economically, physically, and intellectually. "China" represents everything the world would like to and must put behind it once and for all. China is the epitome of greed, deceit, pollution, corruption, inhumanness and, above all, stupidity. Their two-faced politics and freedom-crushing antics seem to know no boundaries. They treat some of our greatest human heroes like criminals and will murder, oppress, and try to eliminate by any means necessary any wisdom, be it religious, cultural or philosophical, that interferes with China's mindless bottomless thirst for control.

It is time we all stand up to China and let their so-called "leaders" know that we've given them their chance to join us in trying to bring the world forward and they have disgraced us. I, for one, will avoid "Made In China" like the plague until they stop behaving like grade 1 children (actually, this is an insult to grade 1 children). Watching their feeble minded intimidation reminds me of so many "B' movies - even my 7 year old son finds them farcical.

I will be looking at Google products with greater interest from now on.

I'm expecting the Chinese goons to be all over this post...

Puiu Puiu said:

Congrats Google. I wonder how many companies will follow suit after this. And i wonder how many yahoo/live mail accounts where hacked ^_^

treeski treeski said:

This is obviously a GREAT thing for Google to do. Hopefully other companies (not just search engines) will also hop on the band wagon. I'm afraid that this wont have a huge effect though, and that the Chinese government will simply let Google go. According to another article, Google is only the 2nd most popular search engine in China, and it's not even close to first.

Guest said:

congratulations google! The only company with balls enough to do what we all must do, stop feeding an atrociously evil empire called china. This regime has done nothing for the world other than import toxic cheap refuse economically, physically, and intellectually. "china" represents everything the world would like to and must put behind it once and for all. China is the epitome of greed, deceit, pollution, corruption, inhumanness and, above all, stupidity. Their two-faced politics and freedom-crushing antics seem to know no boundaries. They treat some of our greatest human heroes like criminals and will murder, oppress, and try to eliminate by any means necessary any wisdom, be it religious, cultural or philosophical, that interferes with china's mindless bottomless thirst for control.

It is time we all stand up to china and let their so-called "leaders" know that we've given them their chance to join us in trying to bring the world forward and they have disgraced us. I, for one, will avoid "made in china" like the plague until they stop behaving like grade 1 children (actually, this is an insult to grade 1 children). Watching their feeble minded intimidation reminds me of so many "b' movies - even my 7 year old son finds them farcical.

I will be looking at google products with greater interest from now on.

I'm expecting the chinese goons to be all over this post...

¯你的-¥感到非常抱歉!你很-¥,
®你7岁的¿子也很-¥!中国人
'¯友-的,热爱'平的,¿'£-
*的战争有"场不¯美国人¯"的'?
£"¯¥反省的¯你们!'"
中国很幸福!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

that last post, I did a translate on the chinese writing but it came back with this:-

¥ ¯ ¹ ä ½ ç¡ "æ-çŸ ¥ à ¸ 63; ¥ ° © ž¥ ¸ ¸ æŠ ± æ €! ä ½ ¥ ¾ æ-çŸ ¥, æ ³ ¨ ¥ ® ¡ä ½ 7¥ ² ç¡" children ¥ ä ¹ Ÿ¥ ¾ æ-çŸ ¥! ä ¸ Þ 69; ä º º æ ° 'æ ~ ¯ ¥ <¥-"ç¡", ç'ç ± ¥''¥ ¹ ³ ç¡ ", è ¿' ä» £ ä ¸ - 0028; ç¡ "æ ~ ä º € æ" € ¥" ª ¥" º ä ¸; æ ~ ¯ ç ¾ Ž¥> ½ ä º º ¥ ¯ ¼ æ ¼ "ç¡" 1602;? ç"Ÿæ £ ¥ º "è ¯ ¥ ¥ ç" à ¯ ¡ 0; æ ~ ¯ ä ½ ä» ¬! æ'ç "Ÿ¥" ¨ ä ¸ & # 22269; ¥ ¾ ¥ ¹ ¸ ç |!

anyone else get this?

BMfan BMfan said:

It means that the chinese children from the year 1602 to the year 22269 will be censored

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

that last post, I did a translate on the chinese writing but it came back with this:-

¥ ¯ ¹ ä ½ ç¡ "æ-çŸ ¥ à ¸ 63; ¥ ° © ž¥ ¸ ¸ æŠ ± æ €! ä ½ ¥ ¾ æ-çŸ ¥, æ ³ ¨ ¥ ® ¡ä ½ 7¥ ² ç¡" children ¥ ä ¹ Ÿ¥ ¾ æ-çŸ ¥! ä ¸ Þ 69; ä º º æ ° 'æ ~ ¯ ¥ <¥-"ç¡", ç'ç ± ¥''¥ ¹ ³ ç¡ ", è ¿' ä» £ ä ¸ - 0028; ç¡ "æ ~ ä º € æ" € ¥" ª ¥" º ä ¸; æ ~ ¯ ç ¾ Ž¥> ½ ä º º ¥ ¯ ¼ æ ¼ "ç¡" 1602;? ç"Ÿæ £ ¥ º "è ¯ ¥ ¥ ç" à ¯ ¡ 0; æ ~ ¯ ä ½ ä» ¬! æ'ç "Ÿ¥" ¨ ä ¸ & # 22269; ¥ ¾ ¥ ¹ ¸ ç |!

anyone else get this?

Ran it through Babelfish. Got this...

To you felt ignorantly was sorry! You are very ignorant, are doomed you 7 year-old son to be very also ignorant! The Chinese people are friendly, deeply loves peace, which field does the modern world's war have is not the American directs? What should engage in introspection truly is you! I live in China am very happy!

Think I prefer your translation. I didn't know the Chinese were Scientologists.

@BMfan

I don't know whether to laugh or cry

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Dumb united states as usual (I won't say Americans, I feel disgraced).

Always sticking their noses where no one asks you to (Not exactly the topic of the news coverage, but in response to the nascar loving Guest who thinks everyone should think like you). Haven't you learned enough with what happened and is still happening in Irak?

To Dividebyzero, please do so. You call them Scientologists but they rather live the way they do than to be insulted and instaurated from one regime to another from someone they don't like.

It's the way they have always lived and of course there is discomfort there always is anywhere, I doubt you can name me one single place where everyone lived happily ever after (No disney quotes please).

Whats the whole deal in the "if they don't think like I do they must!", take a look at Cuba, Irak, some third world countries, its the way it has been for a long long time and if they can't develope (I don't think they should live censored, but I won't impose something they should believe) on their own and you force it you will get an Irak 2.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

just to note that was me translating it from googles own translater. And I do prefer my version! it looks like a chinese since bod was having a scientific rant at the guest! lol

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Sorry I didn't mean since I meant Science! lol

matchu said:

Guest said:

Congratulations Google! The only company with balls enough to do what we all must do, stop feeding an atrociously evil empire called China. This regime has done nothing for the world other than import toxic cheap refuse economically, physically, and intellectually. "China" represents everything the world would like to and must put behind it once and for all. China is the epitome of greed, deceit, pollution, corruption, inhumanness and, above all, stupidity. Their two-faced politics and freedom-crushing antics seem to know no boundaries. They treat some of our greatest human heroes like criminals and will murder, oppress, and try to eliminate by any means necessary any wisdom, be it religious, cultural or philosophical, that interferes with China's mindless bottomless thirst for control.

You need to take a chill pill. The Chinese aren't evil. And it's certainly ufnair to say that they are greedy, deceitful, polluting, corrupt, inhumane and stupid. I take personal offense at that. I would report you to TS, but you're hiding behind the all-powerful 'Guest' tag. Don't you just love the Internet?

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I find it a little sad that the US media portrays China as an evil empire and as a control freak, a country with over a billion people needs some regulation of its people. And at least China is controlling its own people, not going into other countries and trying to tell them how to run their country (and oil reserves).

Anyway back on topic, Baidu is by far the largest search engine in China and Google pulling out of the Chinese market would be akin to Yahoo pulling out of the US/Europe, i.e. nobody would really care.

xempler said:

Guest said:

Congratulations Google! The only company with balls enough to do what we all must do, stop feeding an atrociously evil empire called China. This regime has done nothing for the world other than import toxic cheap refuse economically, physically, and intellectually. "China" represents everything the world would like to and must put behind it once and for all. China is the epitome of greed, deceit, pollution, corruption, inhumanness and, above all, stupidity. Their two-faced politics and freedom-crushing antics seem to know no boundaries. They treat some of our greatest human heroes like criminals and will murder, oppress, and try to eliminate by any means necessary any wisdom, be it religious, cultural or philosophical, that interferes with China's mindless bottomless thirst for control.

It is time we all stand up to China and let their so-called "leaders" know that we've given them their chance to join us in trying to bring the world forward and they have disgraced us. I, for one, will avoid "Made In China" like the plague until they stop behaving like grade 1 children (actually, this is an insult to grade 1 children). Watching their feeble minded intimidation reminds me of so many "B' movies - even my 7 year old son finds them farcical.

I will be looking at Google products with greater interest from now on.

I'm expecting the Chinese goons to be all over this post...

Wow, congratz on winning the "uneducated ignorant hick trailer award".

Oh because in America there is no such thing as...and I quote..." greed, deceit, pollution, corruption, inhumanness and, above all, stupidity"

I'm willing to bet you voted for George Bush and has a picture of him hanging in your trailer.

Guest said:

In all my travels I have noted that there is good and bad in all corners of the world. And a distinction should be made between the people of a country and its government. China and the USA have had issues with heavy-handed government controlls.

Getting back on topic, as it relates to this article, there is no need for censorship in any corner. Let people say their peace...you may not like what they say, but at least you know where they stand on an issue.

All the best!

ebolamonkey3 said:

Google actually has a stake in Baidu, and also Xunlei, one of the more popular Chinese P2P programs that uses search services provided by Google.

Guest said:

My cousin went to China in June 2008' to teach the ruling parties children how to fit in with American's. ?? Why do this? Maybe maybe there getting ready, look out American's. Keep a eye on the road.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Good job, Google. No place for censorship or the hacking of personal accounts by any government.

And I say GOVERNMENT, not the Chinese people. I have a number of friends who were born in China, have migrated to the U.S. and Canada and frequently return to China. These are great - I mean GREAT - folks who have the utmost respect for humankind and some of the most generous people I've met. They also live here for a reason - can't stand their country's government.

So don't presume that just because a government is broken, their people are too.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Good job, Google. No place for censorship or the hacking of personal accounts by any government.

And I say GOVERNMENT, not the Chinese people. I have a number of friends who were born in China, have migrated to the U.S. and Canada and frequently return to China. These are great - I mean GREAT - folks who have the utmost respect for humankind and some of the most generous people I've met. They also live here for a reason - can't stand their country's government.

The tragic irony is that a people who are laid back, forgiving, traditional, and perhaps undereducated in general, those who we would refer to as "a simple people" will always prove a successful target for oppression and dictatorship.

We shouldn't feel "too left out" of the "oppression bandwagon", despite the fact we are "better educated and democratic". Here in the USA, we have Wall Street, the RNC, Sarah Palin, **** Cheney, and Fox news to do the dirty work.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Seriously, to all the guys who think living in China is like living under some sort of opressive, corrupt dictatorship you should maybe go and visit China to see how it is first hand. I think you would be surprised to see that it's pretty much the same as living in a Western country, except that if you're browsing the news some bits of information may be misleading, biased or left out. Oh wait, Fox does that too...

Guest said:

Put up any anti-US government video on YouTube and you will immediately find out that Google through YouTube will censor it. Even if it gets over 100,000 hits, it will be prevented from showing up in the featured videos section and the number of hits will always be artificially deflated.

Guest said:

In the US it's the combination of Fox, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and other "special" interest groups that spin a matrix of lies to the public. If a person were to have an opposing view to "their agenda" they be censored immediately.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I don't really know anything about China, but personally I believe any censorship is wrong, no matter what country or group is doing it. So I like that Google is taking a stand on it and saying 'No - you get our service uncensored or you can shove it."

As far as the comments of the US censoring or spinning things, yep they do it. I get tired of watching the news b/c so much is bs or angled to make this party or that group look bad. All depending on who is broadcasting the report. Its getting so that you are getting as good of news from Comedy Central as you are from the news channels - and that's sad.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

In the US it's the combination of Fox, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and other "special" interest groups that spin a matrix of lies to the public. If a person were to have an opposing view to "their agenda" they be censored immediately.

Exactly like the president is trying to do with Fox by baring them from news coverage, and to Rush Limbaugh and other conservative commentators. So much for open and transparent :-). So in short we arn't that different then China after all. By the way i spent 3 months in China and learned a lot about their culture. There is indeed some oppression of ideas and people (not much different then here), there is also a lot of good things going on. But most of what we don't understand about China has nothing to do with their government - it is the Chinese culture that would remain the same regardless of who was in charge.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

A personal note on news coverage in general.

I'm a 20-year military combat veteran, been around the world a number of times, participated in a few "adventures." I always thought the best and most accurate news coverage of events I saw first hand came from the BBC.

Returning home to the U.S., much of the news coverage of foreign events I was involved with were absolutely laughable in their accuracy and slant. Just a word to the wise...

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm actually surprised that Google, as far left wing as they are, is doing this. I hope to see more of it. It's about time someone with the financial clout that Google has told the communist Chinese government to shove it.

(Now if we could only convince google to stop their censorship practices of conservative videos on youtube here in the states, that would be a neat trick)

Guest said:

BBC has lost it's credibility on 9-11 when they reported Building 7 fell down when it was still standing behind the reporter. Not surprisingly that video has been heavily censored for obvious reasons.

lfg18 said:

I really hope Google uncensors their result, people in china have the right to get information, and well of course there is censorship all around the world so it's not a matter of just one country.

Guest said:

Is there anybody know BAITU(www.baidu.com)?

Guest said:

You are a fool if you think China isn't pursuing lofty ambitions at the expense of the rest of the world. If you don't think so, then ask yourself why China has expended a vast amount of resources exfiltrating defense information and intellectual property within the last several years. That isn't done for peace. That's done for war.

Guest said:

Guest on January 12, 2010 10:22 PM I'm expecting the Chinese goons to be all over this post...

the one who said these word why dont u stfu and use ur brain and thank people for what they did instead of trying to go with flow and insult others u racist. Without china we wont even have computers since they make most of the componants that ati,nvidia,intel,sony,nintendo and microsft(xbox) uses. with out them u wont have a computer, led tv etc. country on this side might start making them but they will take over 20 years before they reach there standard. also in percentage china has around 80% gifted and talented people unlike our side which only has about 30%.i would say china should just ban google there lots of search engine google is a stupid search engine and slow deacreasing in use while the new one increase (bling) even msn used to use google but changed to bling.

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