Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Google's Brin Says He Is "Always Optimistic" About China Solution

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

Google’s Sergey Brin took the stage at the TED conference this morning for a brief discussion about the search giant’s recent declaration that it will pull out of the country if it has to continue to censor results.

Google has been quiet about its plans in China since it said a month ago that it was contemplating leaving the country over a range of issues centered on onerous censorship laws there.

Explaining Google’s “new approach” to China in a Jan. 12 blog post, chief legal officer David Drummond wrote:

“We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

While not adding a lot more to what has been said, Brin did shed some light on his own and Google’s thinking.

While the Google (GOOG) co-founder would not directly blame the Chinese government for the security attacks on his company, or for others, he did note that the entity was so huge that there was no telling where they came from.

“It might represent a fragment” of the government, he said, although he did not give any specifics, in a short Q&A interview with curator Chris Anderson at TED, which has been taking place this week in Long Beach, Calif.

Brin also noted that he wished all those who underwent cyberattacks, as Google claims it has, would go public.

“If all companies came forward, we’d all be better,” he said.

As to where Google goes from here, after declaring its “intent” to withdraw from China, Brin said the company would definitely not censor political results in the future.

That said–nearly a month after the original statement, Google does continue to censor search results in China.

This will end, Brin seemed to indicate, although he did allow that other kinds of censorship around porn or gambling barred by Chinese law, similar to what Google does in other countries, would remain in place.

Brin said he did not know how the situation would turn out or if Google would come to some kind of compromise.

But he said he is “always optimistic” about some kind of detente with China.

“We want to find a way to work within the Chinese system,” said Brin, but without having to censor political results. “A lot of people might think I am naive and that might be true.”


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald