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back to article Google may exit China after 'highly targeted' attack

Google plans to curb its controversial practice of censoring search results in China after uncovering a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" designed to steal information about human rights activists from its Gmail service and at least 20 other large companies. The attack that hit Google in mid-December originated in …

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hmmmmmmmmmmmm,

perhaps Google doesn't own the internet afterall. I mean if the puny Chinese can bring down goliath, then Goliath is going to be mightily ana++y f+++ed if it wanst to (ahem) enter N.korea, Cuba or dare one even say it Laos.

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North Korea, Cuba & Laos

Don't be silly.

There's no money to be made in those countries.

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Pirate

Puny Chinese?

Puny Chinese? Where has your head been located until now? They've been graduating high-level IT people for some years now and not much is impossible for them to accomplish, given a direction and the desire. With a mania for control and a mandate to best everyone else in the world, a central government-led 'implementation' will make Google's accomplishments look pale indeed.

Google wants to dominate the Internet. China wants to dominate. Period. Which marketing plan do you think is going to shape your world more?

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WTF?

not really ...

You think the central government of the PRC can make a better search engine and a more profitable advertising company than Google? I don't think Google succeeds from a "desire to control" and a "given direction," but from good ol' American innovation. I don't see anyone else using Baidu ...

I'm pretty sure the central government of China is good at building long walls, paying for Olympic stadiums, and subsidizing steel manufacturing.

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Baidu

Of course, since most of the world population is in China, they probably don't care that Baidu (whether its any good or not) isn't used by anyone else....

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Stop

Sarcasm

Please look up "sarcasm" and then reread the post you replied to.

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...I don't see anyone else using Baidu ...

That's because you don't live in China or Japan where they have a huge market.

http://www.productwiki.com/home/article/baidu-expands-to-take-on-google-in-japan.html

State-run stats but

"Baidu's usage share to be 74.3% nationwide, compared with Google's 14.3%."

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Go

There goes the share price

A BIG call.

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Ethics? Let's hope so!

Could this be the first example of capitalists acting ethically? Let's hope so! I'll believe it when it happens, though. At least they're bringing this stuff to light!

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Flame

No

This is a PR stunt. OK, the attack isn't a PR stunt, but Google's response is. They want to cover themselves in glory and lloks like the bastion of freedom so that people pay less attention to the amount of information they are collecting and the monitoring Google applies.

Opt-out is useless.

You will be assimilated.

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Terminator

Ethical Capitalists?

Don't be naive - capitalists act in the interests of acculmulating capital. Ethics is merely a window dressing - a sideshow and distraction. Make no mistake, the US during the last century has extended and continues to exercise hard military power across the world to protect the interests of capitalism - promoting in effect the political and corporate vested interest of keeping the minority wealthy ruling elite at the top of the materialist stack.

> At least they're bringing this stuff to light!

What they don't discuss is the extent to which they filter / censor / edit their search results in other regions. When you are the dominant gateway to the worlds online information - which to a certain extent influences how people think / act - what kind of power to propagandise and promote certain worldviews / interests does that give you?

I wonder whether this is a PR smokescreen to cover the story this week that google suggest is probably rigged. Are google search results edittorially governed? Are they filtered based on arbitrary criterea? What are the criterea? Who decides? Who profits?

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Which capitalist?

While I certainly applaud Google's actions here, its worth pointing out that China's economic model is capitalist too with most (all?) of the state industries sold off some years ago. The people that bought them already ran them, so no-one really noticed much difference...

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Nope

More like a fit of pique

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/11/googlebooks_and_china/

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Unhappy

In the morning the realism kicks in

You're absolutely right, of course - capitalism is utterly without ethics, and any ethical things that happen are merely a side-effect of a financial decision. I think I was feeling hopeful in my late-night daze! Still, it's keeping China's repressive government in the headlines, so that's a silver lining.

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wow

Good news about Google at last! Hats off to them if they really do this, about time some big corp maintained any moral standard.

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Stop

Another dummy

Except it's about money, not ethics.

It's doing what the analysts wanted and withdrawing from a no-win market. Now watch Google's share price rise because it isn't losing billions in China.

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Grenade

Time to grind up the PR machine, ummmmmmm

This has a terrible reek of agitprop about it. When did "Sophisticated cyber attacks from China" become news? Yeah uhuh...mmm. Perhaps this only became apparent to Big G after they began loosening the reins? Or has it just started becoming uncomfortable? Yeah .... uhumm.

I'd dearly love to see Google walk out of China on principle, because you could then color me: "mildly impressed" with "reactionary attitudes rule, OK?" and I could perhaps re-inforce my faith in something. But I am guessing this is just the first chess move in a game where the world's populace will undergo yet another important step towards its inevitable, well-planned, well-monitored Orwellian cloud -computing, amoeba-like passive future. Or perhaps I am just being churlish, and should wait to see whether any evil is done (in other words, see no evil..). I've currently got 5 to 1 on China, so come on Google and prove me wrong!

And for the truly and unabashedly paranoid, let's imagine a game where China symbolically caves in to Google's symbolic pressure and become the "reformed guys" (after some symbolic resistance of course). They could then gainfully employ the hundreds of thousands of state employees already hard at work monitoring and reading every single text message coming in, out and inside of China.

Outlandish, you say? But it would appear that staffing problems are already cropping up in the new Western surveillance society. Perhaps oppression could replace plastic toy production as a new growth industry when everyone is unemployed. After all, you can only consume so many plastic toys. And how pathetic will that be? A fitting tribute to what is left of Western civilization. But before this golden future happens, I humbly suggest that we all download and view Brazil again before it is forbidden.

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Big Brother

Western Staffing Problems

"But it would appear that staffing problems are already cropping up in the new Western surveillance society"

no problem .. just outsource that stuff to India

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Big Brother

Not that kind of staffing problem, Flybert

Predator video feeds probably won't be outsourced to India, just yet. I do agree that there is more to this than meets the eye. Perhaps Google is just working on its newest business plan

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Black Helicopters

Before I forget

Live free or watch a screen 24/7 ..... you choose.

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'highly targeted' attack

They typed "dissident chinese name and address" into Google?

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WTF?

So Google will get out of China?

I'd be surprised if Google really left, but I'd be even more surprised if the government let them stay without censorship... I wonder what they are trying to achieve with their bold statement? It's not like leaving China will put them out of reach of hacking attempts...

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Black Helicopters

Don't be evil?

If Google pull out of China on principle (thus reducing their market in breach of their mandate to shareholders) I may have to re-evaluate my flagging opinion of them... unless the Chinese operation is proving unprofitable and Google are simply trimming deadwood under the guise of upholding human rights - which is more likely, methinks.

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Paris Hilton

Better approach to mandate

If a market is inherently hostile to the operations of the company, it would be in the best interest of all involved to focus resources on a less hostile environment. Thus, I see no breach of mandate to shareholders.

It is a maxim I follow day-to-day: for every bad customer I can get rid of, I can service two good customers. In short, if Google can tell China to take a long walk, it can focus its efforts on other markets and make better profits by doing so.

Paris, hostile pullout.

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Anonymous Coward

$600m last year

Uhm, they made $600 million last year, so yeah, deadwood...

Google is Pure icon please!

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Anonymous Coward

Do no evil?

Good to see that Google might be starting to live up to their slogan. Not the way for China to foster good will and trade.

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FAIL

Baidu

I notice how little mention was made to the fact that Google is the largest stakeholder in Baidu.

Even if they pulled "Google" out of China, they aren't pulling Google out of China.

What a show.

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WTF?

Biggest stakeholder?

I seem to have stumbled upon an article saying quite the opposite, but perhaps I am just lacking sufficient information?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/23/google_sheds_baidu_stake/

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@thejinxed - Google Doesn't Own Baidu

Where did you get the information that Google was the largest shareholder in Baidu?

Google held a 2.6% stake in Baidu that it offloaded in 2006.

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Paris Hilton

Huh?

I can't figure out the relationship between the (stop the press! breaking news!) Chinese hackers and Google's decision to stop censoring in China (which is tantamount to pulling out of China). I mean... why would one cause Google to decide the other?

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WTF?

The Giant Kill bot has reached its limit!

It seems the Giant Kill bot known as Google has reached its limit and has decided to pull out of china!

Some say Google has blood on its hands, Its more like its on thier hands, thier cloths all over the floor and on all the walls and its slowly pooling under the sofa!

Mark my words, something really bad is comming and Google are pulling out to try and save thier own ass.

Can we now shave the heads of Google employees?

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Stop

Block 'em

As far as I can, I block all traffic from China.

AC: The PRC secret service might read El Reg

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Black Helicopters

@AC Posted Wednesday 13/01/10 5:01

>The PRC secret service might read El Reg

not only that: they read el Reg's web server logs also...

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Couldnt agree more

Why is China not not block completely and utterly? Physically remove any comms links from China. Its not like the serve any useful purpose. Hacking and spam severed overnight, and its probably the very best way of getting the chinese population to stand up for their human rights. I geninely cant understand the need for a web link to china. We dont even understand the character set. The restof the world would be a better place if China were left to run their own internet (and entire tch sector) rather than stealing everyone elses.

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WTF?

Wow

I hope you're joking but depressingly I bet you're not.

You eat "Freedom fries" don't you?

What you are saying is that despite the Chinese being censored by their own government, you thought you would help their Govt out with a little sensoring of your own. Nice.

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Black Helicopters

..and

have your MAC address for checking against hardware for when they come knocking on the door!

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Dead Vulture

Eat your heart out, Orlowski :D

So how you gonna spin this one against Google ?

No matter rhe real motuves, they get bonus points for the fact that they publicly criticize China when everyone from governments to large companies has been treating it with kid gloves and doing its best not to upset it.

I really don't get all the blind hate for Google when they've been a major engine of innovation. They are the reason your mailbox size in counted in GB instead of MB. They pushed many free products, forcing many others to follow suit. Their papers inspired better open source products like Hadoop. Their push to get cheaper and more efficient data centers has many other companies trying to follow in their footsteps - and they get to save some money and we get to breathe air that is a little less polluted. They created Android and brought some competition and pushed innovation on a market that would otherwise be thoroughly dominated by Apple. And there are many other examples.

Of course you need to keep an eye on them and not just trust them, cause after all every corporation is going for profit. But harping on every little thing that they do or say became really annoying.

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FAIL

What do you mean, "how are you gonna spin it..."?

Google has willingly helped China track political dissidents since it first showed up there -- not to mention the _domestic_ intelligence-gathering they've been doing in the USA, and the user information they'd be more than glad to hand over to the US Govt at the merest sight of the infamous National Security Letter.

No need to spin. It's all about PR. If Google can score some DNO PR points by doing this, they'll do it without even bothering to reform its US _domestic_ surveillance and intelligence-gathering operation.

So... Google did this, Google did that, Google did the other thing. Oh, and I love that last dig about Apple "dominating" the market. Shill much?

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@Mike Flugennock

"Google has willingly helped China track political dissidents since it first showed up there -- not to mention the _domestic_ intelligence-gathering they've been doing in the USA, and the user information they'd be more than glad to hand over to the US Govt at the merest sight of the infamous National Security Letter."

You are regurgitating soundly disproven fallacies. I'll bet you can't come up with any non-tinfoilhat sources for your BS claims. Bummer to be trapped in a world where all of the stuff you believe to be true comes from idiots and hate-mongers, isn't it?

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Coat

Confused... does Dan know the difference between RoC and PRC?

Why, in the midst of an article about attack on the Gmail accounts of advocates of human rights in China, is there a reference to attempts to steal source code from Silicon valley companies, originating from Taiwanese internet addresses?

The latter appears to be simple industrial espionage between allies (Taiwan, the Republic of China is an ally of the USA, and source of high-tech components and devices). Or is there some evidence for a convoluted conspiracy theory - I know, Iran is hacking into Taiwanese computers to launch the attacks so they i) steal US technology, ii) foment suspicion between USA and Taiwanese tech companies, iii) increase US paranoia about everything Chinese.

OK, solved that one for you. I'll get my coat, it's the one without the black helicopters.

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FAIL

Or...

China is using Taiwanese addresses for those exact same reasons. Plus there's the small matter of ongoing animosity over the legal and political status of Taiwan, meaning that sullying Taiwan's international reputation is perhaps quite high up the PRC's list of priorities.

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Troll

ooh...

I hadn't thought of that.</sarcasm>

It could be any one of those, so a little more evidence would be useful. Incidentally, what makes you think that it isn't a little industrial espionage by tech companies? Isn't industrial espionage almost a required part of responsibility to shareholders for tech companies worldwide?

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WTF?

Nuh Uh

Nobody's saying it's not industrial espionage. All I'm saying is you can't dismiss one obvious explanation (which your original comment does; sorry if I misunderstood but it seems fairly unequivocal to me) just because there's another which happens to be a bit less black helicopter. Plus: corroborating evidence is there. Fair enough it's circumstantial but it's there. It's not like anyone's jumping to wild conclusions.

And before anyone weighs in saying I've bought Google's PR bullshit please note this has nothing to do with them or their motives which, frankly, both stink.

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Gold badge

Wait and see

I want to see that actually happen before I believe it - and that includes subsidiaries, side corporations and other tricks to keep hanging on to a bigger potential market than anywhere else.

As demonstrated by plenty politicians, talk is cheap.

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Alien

Things are getting out of hand

Roll on the singularity

http://singularity.com/

>But I am guessing this is just the first chess move in a game where the world's populace will undergo yet another important step towards its inevitable, well-planned, well-monitored Orwellian cloud -computing, amoeba-like passive future.<

Well said sir - or ms.

As for Google vs China: Well China has Tibet and Tianeman Sq - one more strike and out guys whereas Google just make obscene amounts of money (the capitalists wet dream), and, as far as we know, don't torture people who disagree with their viewpoint, so they're still winning on points...

And considering their internet footprint, their data aggregation, cloud and quantum computing, they may be the instigation of singularity.

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WTF?

There must be much more to this story...

...than people might think.

Google will reach nothing when talking to the Chinese government. Do they seriously think they can change the regime? So, if they continue to do business in China, we know the results will be censored. If they pull out, they lose much more than just search market share. They lose their growth story. They lose access to the single most important growth market. They lose market value at home.

And they will be damaging hardware manufacturers as well. Anything with embedded Google products will not go on sale before the Google stuff is removed. That laptop with Google as default search? That handset with Chrome OS? Google's hardware "partners" will be delighted. (And forget about launching the Google phone over there anytime soon.)

So, if you give up all this, there must be another reason.

Do they have a PR problem in the west? Do people in the west finally switch to other services, thanks to statements made by Eric "Mr. Privacy" Schmidt?

Or is it just plain hubris (as always with Google) who think they can run the world?

Also, if they worry about government agencies accessing information stored on Google servers, maybe they should pull out of the U.S. as well? ;-)

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FAIL

Don't be naive

If Google are pulling out of China it's because they're not profitable.

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FAIL

Don't be naive → #

Agreed.

My bet is its a pure business decision with a political PR win tagged on.

In China Google's market share is tiny and the average income of the Chinese consumer is low meaning that the value of product advertising is likely realised to be less than anticipated.

In the liberal west there is implicit value in google's capacity to influence consumers but this is depreciated in the context of the CCP's rigid control.

Google can leave China. The CCP won't care. Any Chinese who dares complain will be thrown in gaol for a couple of decades.

What's the point of google when they only permit access to a handful of carefully vetted sites anyway?

http://www.theonion.com/content/china

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Anonymous Coward

Squealing tantrums

Serves them right, the amoral wankers.

They've played fast and loose with ordinary people's access to information and now they've been bitten on the ass.

Good.

Couldn't happen to a nicer company.

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Big Brother

who else?

For the last few days IMDb has been unavailable from Shenzhen - connection requests timing out from various IPs, usually the milder form of censorship - one of the attacked? It would really suck if googlemail is blocked in the process, though. I don't want to use Hu's friends yahoo! or hotmail, dammit!

My handle says it all ... life is strange in the PRC.

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