John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Beijing: “Google is Not God”

Google’s principled stand in China has very quickly turned into an ugly clash with the country’s government. On Wednesday, The People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, lobbed a searing editorial at the company, decrying its arrogance and accusing it of collaborating with U.S. intelligence agencies. It was accompanied by the cartoon above (is that supposed to be Eric Schmidt?). Its title: “Google is Not God.” An excerpt:

For Chinese people, Google is not god, and even if it puts on a full-on show about politics and values, it is still not god. Actually, Google is not a virgin when it comes to values. Its cooperation and collusion with the US intelligence and security agencies is well-known, which aroused spats with Europe. If some information is “unfavorable”, Google must delete it under the order of relevant US agencies. The data of its search results is also “stored for inspection.”

After Google launched an attack on China’s censoring, American officials and media responded vigorously. Is it still a corporate incident or commercial action? All this makes one wonder. Thinking about the US’ big efforts in recent years to engage in Internet war, perhaps this could be an exploratory pre-dawn battle.

A blistering attack, though Google (GOOG) clearly invited it by directing Chinese searches to an uncensored search engine based in Hong Kong, essentially using Beijing’s “one country, two systems” policy against it.

There will undoubtedly be more like it in the future, especially if Google continues to tweak the Chinese government as it did today by indexing Twitter posts on its Chinese search site in open defiance of the country’s ban on the microblogging site.

[Image credit: China Daily]

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik