I was going to write another case study on the intrinsic hypocrisy in the rhetoric of freedom – how “freedom” is uttered when useful, and completely ignored when not – using Google’s recent “firing” of an employee who had written a memo that some deemed not politically correct as a basis of discussion.
The common western narrative is that China’s government is oppressive and fear that its citizens would discover freedom and democracy through those websites. On the social-economic level, they imply that China’s leadership lack confidence when dealing with the western world. The underlying message is that that those rich multi-billion corporations are somehow purveyor of freedom and democracy. Google even used “Don’t be evil” as its formal corporate motto. Continue reading Why did China ban Google? And why do the West try to shut down the Confucian Institute?→
Have you ever wondered how a map would look like if it showed Internet freedom versus the NSA dragnet recently revealed by Edward Snowden? Well, it would look like the following map. Click to have a look first and then come back to this post.
Whenever a for-profit – or even non-profit – organization professes to do good, to be a society’s guardian – as Google has – I feel queasy. It’s not that I think Google (or more generally corporations, NGOs, charities, even churches) is inherently evil. It’s just that no non-government entity owes society at large a fiduciary duty 1 per se, as governments do.
Take as a case study Google – that self professed guardian of Freedom.
The purpose (legal duty even) of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders. The obligation of non-profits is to their sponsors and donors … and incestuously to itself. The duty of churches is – well if you are pious – to God, although often a God who cares only for a segment of society, who may be so hateful of the rest as to condemn them all to eternities of hell. ↩
The following is a live demo of Google’s Project Glass at the Moscone Center in San Francisco earlier today, with Google co-founder Sergey Brin hosting. (Click here for another demo showing how Google services are integrated.) It’s essentially computer in a pair of glasses, able to see what you see and meshes your smartphone’s display into it. It’s not that the technology is new, but the fact that Google is bringing it to the masses and integrating with Google Hangout and other of its services that make it ground-breaking. Corporations with deep pockets can make big bets like this. Being an industry leader and having reaped so much profit gives you opportunity to invest. While we don’t like Google’s politics, as a technology and Internet services behemoth, it’s an amazing company.
Well, at least indirectly. Google in its exit from the Chinese market for search tried to bolster it’s “do no evil” motto by trying to demonize China’s censorship laws. We have written quite a bit about Google in the past – some directly and others indirectly (see our other ‘Google‘-tagged articles). In this article, I would like to simply show how Google participates (willfully or not makes no difference) in this one-sided mass barrage of attacks in the Western press against Syria. Continue reading Listen up, Syria, Google wants you invaded→
As you may know, there is a heated high-profile war being waged in the U.S. now over a new bill called SOPA (“Stop Online Piracy Act” in the House) and PIPA (“Protect Intellectual Property Act” in the Senate). The bills have been temporarily put on hold, but the issues highlighted by the controversies will not go away.
News of the uncovering of the “biggest-ever” series of cyber attacks by McAfee seems to be spreading through the media like wildfire. In thisWashington Post article, it is reported:
A leading computer security firm has used logs produced by a single server to trace the hacking of more than 70 corporations and government organizations over many months, and experts familiar with the analysis say the snooping probably originated in China.
Some might wonder how is it possible that Google still commands about 15-20% search market share in China despite its google.cn service essentially shut down there. The reason is because many Chinese netizens, 450 million and growing, are still using google.com for English language searches. Actually, according to Analysys International, a Beijing market research firm, Google enjoys 19.2% in revenue share in China versus Baidu’s 75.8%. For this reason, Baidu and Microsoft have just announced combining efforts to take on Google on that market segment. Continue reading Baidu and Microsoft teams up against Google and a view on censorship→
Google has been up to making empty allegations against China since it decided to withdraw last year. In its latest salvo, it accused the Chinese government of a phishing attack on Gmail accounts. As predicted, such allegations are spreading like wild fire in the Western media. In fact, the innuendos are narrated into facts, and it is always amazing to see how this propaganda machinery works.
It claimed the phishing attacks “appears to originate from Jinan, China.” The Lanxiang Vocations School which was at the center of Google’s last year claim of Gmail attacks is also in Jinan. Apparently, the hairdressing students at Lanxiang no longer find this spotlight funny.
Regardless of your personal views about Wikileaks exposing secret U.S. documents, you will find this exclusive interview by Russia Today of Juliane Assange fascinating. He also weighs in on Google, Facebook, the Guardian, the New York Times, and media in general.
Unlike what most Americans believe, the world outside the U.S. is getting increasingly tiresome of Google’s practices. Xinhua has just reported Google’s Seoul office raided by police. This was due to suspicion of Google’s AdMob unit illegally collecting private mobile user information. Google made many headlines in their confrontation with the Chinese government. See Allen’s article, “Google vs. China – Good vs. Evil?” Continue reading South Korea Police raids Google Seoul office→
Over the past week and a half, I have been accessing my Gmail account from within China at various places. Since Google insinuated the service being interfered with by the Chinese government, I thought I report first hand what I experienced. While in Guilin, I only could connect couple of times in hotels without resorting to using VPN. The Gmail’s login doesn’t show up or following entering username and password, the connection times out. While at a relative’s home, access to Gmail was without any problem. While in Beijing, I have not had any problems either.
While a user of Gmail, I still honestly feel the Chinese government should block Gmail if Google does not respect China’s jurisdiction over users from within Chinese borders when using the service. Let’s say, there are two terrorists plotting to blow up some building or bridge in China. They used Gmail to coordinate their attack. If Google does not comply with Chinese courts in turning over information on these terrorists, then I think it is very appropriate for the Chinese government to block the service from within China altogether. Continue reading Gmail, respect jurisdiction or accept blockage→
On December 4, 2010, the New York Times published this article, “Vast Hacking by a China Fearful of the Web.” Well, if you actually spend just a little bit of time looking for facts supporting what the headline claims, you will not be surprised this is a tactic often employed by the U.S. media to smear other countries. There is no fact supporting the headline. They are all insinuations.
My retorts may come across to some as rants, because frankly, I think that’s all this article deserves. You will realize this article is really not trying to honestly make a case for the headline. It presumes the readers have already bought into it. This is a thinly veiled propaganda piece. Sadly, when it comes to China in the U.S. media, this is what we see. As this same propaganda is parroted throughout America, I feel compelled to chime in. America is better without it, because Americans are torn in all directions. She needs to reign in the budget deficit and reinvigorate herself to be more competitive. Continue reading The New York Times Propaganda: “Vast Hacking by a China Fearful of the Web”→
The EU begins officially to investigate Google for alleged anti-competitive practices. According to this aljazeera report,
European Union regulators are to investigate whether Google has abused its dominant position in the online search market in what will be the first major inquiry into the internet giant’s business practices.
The competition watchdogs formally announced their investigation on Tuesday after complaints by rivals that Google gave their services “unfavourable treatment” in unpaid and sponsored search results.
Authorities will investigate whether Google’s services are being given preferential placement in search engine results, some of which may lead to consumer spending.
One of the complainants, British search site Foundem, said in a that its revenue “pales next to the hundreds of billions of dollars of other companies’ revenues that Google controls indirectly through its search results and sponsored links”.
Separately Tuesday, prosecutors reportedly seized records from the operator of the video-sharing site YouTube to try to determine how the footage was posted online.
Further details of the records were not immediately known Tuesday evening.
YouTube is a subsidiary of Google Inc. of the U.S.
Although the Google camp has expressed willingness to cooperate with the investigation, the prosecutors believe it would be difficult for the search site to voluntarily submit user information, given its policy of keeping such data secret, the sources said.
Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, was recently on Charlie Rose talking about the China censorship issue. As you recall, Google threatened to pull out of the Mainland China market insinuating Chinese government backed hacking (no evidence to date) and threatening non-compliance with Chinese censorship laws. When China didn’t budge, Google shut down the search service on google.cn. Instead, on google.cn, there is a fake search box, and when a user clicks, it redirects the user to the Hong Kong google.com.hk site. According to this AP article, since then, Google dropped in revenue search share in China from 30.9% to 24.2% with bulk of the loss added to Baidu’s gain. Remember, this is revenue share, and given Google’s reach for the generally more English language capable Chinese population and Google’s over-all better monitization, Google’s user share within China is likely in the low teens or single digit percentage wise (my opinion).
Is Google siding with Japan’s claims at the expense of China? Search for “Diaoyutai” or the Chinese character equivalent, “钓鱼台群岛,” you’ll not be able to find the disputed islands. Circled in red below is where a pin should be placed. Nothing shows up.
Nine small businesses have joined a lawsuit accusing local business review start-up Yelp Inc. of extortion and fraudulent business practices.
The newest plaintiffs were officially added Tuesday in an amended complaint filed by two law firms…. The new plaintiffs include a Chicago bakery, a Washington, D.C., restaurant and a California furniture store, among others.
The original plaintiff in the putative class action suit, a veterinary hospital in Long Beach, Calif., said it had asked Yelp to remove a negative consumer review that violated Yelp’s site guidelines. According to the complaint, San Francisco-based Yelp initially removed the review but it reappeared and Yelp later declined to remove it and other negative reviews. The suit alleges that Yelp’s sales representatives repeatedly contacted the hospital offering to hide any negative reviews if it bought advertising from Yelp.
In the amended complaint, the owner of Chicago’s Bleeding Heart Bakery alleged that Yelp offered in exchange for a paid sponsorship to push any bad reviews to the end of the bakery’s listings on Yelp’s site. The bakery owner alleged that one of Yelp’s sales representatives said they would personally remove reviews identified by the owner as “bogus.”
“Yelp’s practices are extortionate and especially harmful to small businesses, such as our clients, who are particularly vulnerable to reviews posted on the site,” said Jared H. Beck, co-managing partner of Beck & Lee, referring to the original plaintiff and the nine new ones.
Google search may have left China, but does Google owe responsibilities to the people of a place it has recently left?
This is not an academic question, especially since many believe that Google’s exit will hurt average people in China. According to this CNN article,
Businesses and universities could be substantially affected by the departure of Google from China.
Most of the country’s nearly 400 million Internet users may not be affected by the closure. But academics, university students and other researchers rely heavily on Google’s search services to access information not available through Chinese search engines, like Baidu.com, China’s most popular search portal. Small businesses that depend on Google applications such as Google Docs and Gmail may also suffer, analysts said.
As Google prepares potentially for a highly politicized exist of China, we’ll hear a lot more accusations on how closed China’s Internet is. The presumption of Google’s move would be that China’s Internet is closed while the rest of the world (in which Google still does business) is open.
Of course, anyone who has even remote experience with China’s internet (and Chinese society for that matter) will understand the Internet in China is amongst the most dynamic in the world, as well as amongst the most explosive and important.
Champagne corks are undoubtedly popping in Redmond on reports that Google is planning to close its Chinese search service.
Google will try to maintain its other operations in China but this is unlikely to succeed. Any foreign business requires the approval of the Chinese government. Google has shown itself to be in opposition to the Chinese government — this is an untenable position.
This also means that Google will unlikely be able to take part in joint ventures with others in China. In early February, Reuters reported that Google is a member of a consortium led by Disney, to buy a large stake in Bus Online, a large Chinese advertising company.
It’s difficult to see how this deal will go through with Google as a member, if it is an opponent to the government.
About 5 months ago, Jon huntsman was interviewed by Wall Street Journal and seems positive to bring China-US relations to the ‘next level’ as mentioned in my piece here.
January was a bad month between China-US relations. First there was the google incident. Then the US announced the $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan. Now China wants the beloved panda Tai-Shan back (I’m kidding about the Tai-Shan part.) Though the arms sales seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you go to Chinadaily’s website, there is no less than 10 articles and opinions about this spat. Continue reading (Letter from pug_ster) China-US relations at all time low?→
Google’s recent drama in China has endeared itself to some human rights activists, democracy advocates, even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Many have applauded Google for taking a “principled stance” against the evil empire of China. I find such rhetoric comical. Continue reading Google vs. China – Good vs. Evil?→