Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Google takes on China

It will take a while for all the implications to play themselves out, but Google's decision, in effect, to defy the Chinese government's censorship rules last week strikes me as pretty consequential. It's become likely, as news has trickled out, that the immediate catalyst was the discovery not only that Gmail accounts of possible Chinese dissidents had been hacked, but that some 33 U.S. companies, including large defense contractors, had been hacked.

Google made the decision to lie down with the dog of the Chinese government, agreeing when it entered the Chinese market to censor certain things (like the 1989 unpleasantness at Tiananmen Square) from its search engine for Chinese customers. Its decision to defy that censorship order may or may not be the final outcome. Google might leave China, or China just might have to become more open and less censorious. I figure the latter has to happen sooner or later, but it could be quite a bit later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or is the government in China starting to resemble the pre-WW1 government in Germany, authoritarian and nationalist?