Google Comes out of the Closet
Technology June 9, 2010; Associated Press
There is little chance that Google has even an ounce of positive influence anywhere in Europe at the moment. They are being investigated by 6 or 8 countries for what Australia called "The most serious breach of privacy in the history of the world'.|
France is assessing Google a fine of 10,000 Euros per day for each day their illegal books remain online. They are being sued for thousands of copyright viiolations by authors and publishers and governments in every country from China to Canada to Europe to South America. And Google is asking its friends in Europe to do it a favor and 'press China'? My God.
Well, how nice, except that this doesn't particularly affect Google though it surely does affect US foreign policy goals, since one of the ways the US inserts itself into the internal affairs of other countries is through the media.
And Google's lawyer said he had "had heard some support in discussions" with various European Governments. Now, if that isn't wishful thinking, I don't know what is. This Google company is becoming more dangerous by the month.
And since Google's lawyer mentioned yet again his suspicions that China was hacking into the G-Mail accounts of 'human-rights activists', let's deal with that one.
So, let's say you are Google and I have a G-Mail account with you. To obtain that account, I needn't use my real name nor any other real identifying information, and I don't even need to apply from my own IP address. I can obtain that mail account while sitting at an airport in Portugal.
And now someone (maybe) did try to hack into some G-Mail accounts. So how do you, being Google, KNOW which accounts of the hundreds of millions might belong to a 'human-rights activist' in China?
In fact, you have NO information about any of the mail account holders, much less the content of those emails. Unless, that is, you've been hacking into them yourself and reading the mail.
Now, being Google, and having such a wonderful search engine, it wouldn't be so difficult for you to search through all the emails from Chinese users going through your servers and look for text strings that might identify such people. And it wouldn't be difficult for you, being Google, to pass along that information to someone who might make good use of it.
We know that Google shares information with various branches of the US government and that they have very close internal ties with the CIA and the US State Department, including exchanges of staff. And since it isn't in dispute that the CIA has been active in Tibet for more than 50 years, and it is not in dispute that the riots in XinJiang last year were at least partially orchestrated by Rabiya Khadeer's office in Washington - which is financially supported by the CIA - that raises some interesting questions.
We already know that Google inserts 38-year cookies on all our computers - a violation they consistently refuse to address. And we already know that Google saves all our search terms and clicked links for periods of 30 or more years. I think it would be awfully naive to believe this is done only for selling advertising.
So is it possible that it is Google and the CIA, and NOT the Chinese government, who are looking for 'human-rights activists' by hacking into the email files of Chinese users? That seems much more likely to be true, since China has such limited access to those email accounts, and since we have only Google's word for the claim that anybody hacked into anything (from outside).
At the risk of appearing cynical, my guess is that there is indeed something that the Chinese government doesn't want coming into China - and it isn't pornography or dissertations on democracy. More likely, China doesn't want to give the US government and military an easy access point for 'interfering, disrupting, controlling' any aspect of communications within China.
And China doesn't want the US government using search engines and social media as foreign policy tools to destabilise China, or to cause social unrest and possibly worse.
We know from a flood of media reports that the US government did precisely this in Iran during the recent elections, and we know that Facebook and Twitter are already well into the CIA fold. And it seems not even open to debate among thinking people that the US would be most happy to remove a potentilal competitor from the world scene.
Google's lawyer said, "... it was increasingly hard to do business there in accordance with our values..." I'm sure that's true, and if it weren't so serious, this would be funny. And the 'values' would be what, exactly? Fomenting more unrest in Tibet? Instigating even more riots in XinJiang? How terrible of China to interfere with Google's pursuit of their 'do no evil' values.
And Google was concerned that they were in danger of becoming "part of the same apparatus". Too bad they don't have the same concern about becoming "part of another apparatus" that's even more dangerous to the world.
The article below is an astonishing piece of work, even just for the fact that any responsible journal would print it.
BRUSSELS—Google Inc.'s top lawyer said Wednesday the company is asking the U.S. and European governments to press China to lift Internet censorship, describing it as an unfair barrier to free trade.
David Drummond told reporters that Western countries should defend the free trade in information with the same kind of rules that they use to complain of China's below-cost sale of products.
He said government talks are "the only way that it's going to change, that this tide of censorship or this rising censorship is going to be arrested."
Google, the world's largest search engine, sparred with Chinese leaders earlier this year when it stopped self-censoring its search results in line with Chinese rules after it said Chinese hackers had tried to plunder its software coding and hijack the Gmail accounts of human-rights activists.
Since late March, Google has been redirecting search requests from mainland China to Hong Kong, which doesn't have the same restrictions.
"The cyberattack was sort of the final straw because we felt that it was increasingly hard to do business there in accordance with our values," Mr. Drummond said, describing the company as in danger of becoming "part of the same apparatus" of Chinese state censorship.
"Censorship, in addition to being a human-rights problem, is a trade barrier," he said. "If you look at what China does—the censorship, of course, is for political purposes but it is also used as a way of keeping multinational companies disadvantaged in the market."
"It should be obvious that the Internet sector is very important to the west and so we should be working on seeing that that kind of trade is protected," he said.
Mr. Drummond wouldn't comment on whether he believed the U.S. could take a case under World Trade Organization rules against China, which can ultimately allow the U.S. to seek trading rights in compensation for any proven harm to its companies.
Instead, he said new trade rules may be needed to cover the Internet.
"Under a lot of trade rules, there's still this notion that domestic media markets should be off limits to trade and that's got to change," he said.
He said he had heard some support in discussions with the U.S., French and German governments and with the European Union executive for pressing Google's case and Chinese restrictions on the Internet in bilateral and multilateral talks.
The European Union persistently raises human-rights issues with China, usually without much success. Indeed, a Chinese state multibillion dollar buying spree to Europe last year pointedly shunned France after President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to boycott the opening of the Beijing Olympics over unrest in Tibet. China refuses to hold talks with the Tibetan government in exile.
—Copyright 2010 Associated Press