Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Will Google’s Newest Compromise Appease China?

Can Google stay in China without censoring its search results? The company has been trying to do so for the past three months. But that may be ending soon. Or not.

Since March, Google (GOOG) has been automatically routing visitors from, its official Chinese landing page, to, where it runs an uncensored search engine based in Hong Kong. But the search giant says China wants to put a stop to that end run.

New solution: Instead of an automatic redirect, Google will add a button linking users to the Hong Kong site.

It’s hard to see how this can appease Chinese authorities. But then again, it’s a bit amazing that China allowed Google to get away with the redirect in the first place. As Joesph Tartakoff notes, China has the ability to shut the whole thing down whenever it wants, but hasn’t done so yet. Which is a good reason to take any public pronouncements on the matter, from either side, with big chunks of salt.

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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