Google's Threat to Quit China Fires Up Blogosphere

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Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment.

Where to start? How about Peter Scheer:

It's not every day that a public corporation engages in what amounts to civil disobedience. But that ... is what Google has done in halting censorship of search results on ... in defiance of China's laws. ... [It] creates an awkward situation for Chinese officials.


[But] Baidu and its American investors get a free ride. This is puzzling, especially since inaction by Baidu is not merely a position of neutrality, but greatly strengthens the government's hand in its dealings with Google. ... [What if] Silicon Valley VC Bill Draper, whose firm once owned as much as 28% of Baidu, organizes major US investors to pressure Baidu's Board to stand together with Google against China's censors. That would be extraordinary---corporate civil disobedience squared. MORE

Danny O'Brien comments for the EFF:

When Google first launched a filtered search engine in China, EFF was one of the first to criticize it; we'd now like to be one of the first to commend Google for its brave and forthright declaration to provide only an uncensored Chinese language version of its search engine. Our hope is that other tech companies will follow Google's lead.


The Internet is global, but it relies on a physical infrastructure that is vulnerable to national policies and clumsy attempts to block and censor. ... Malicious attacks will continue against those who seek to use uncensored services and secure communications in the exercise of human rights. Google has stepped up to this challenge: now it's up to technologists and policymakers to build the tools and to apply the political, economic and cultural pressure. MORE

Preston Gralla agrees:

Now it's time for Microsoft's Bing to follow suit. ... This is one of the most courageous moves I can remember any tech company taking. ... Google is opting for morality over profits in this case, clearly living up to its motto "Don't be evil."

Microsoft should follow suit, and do the same thing with Bing. There are more important things in this world than profit, freedom being among them. Microsoft should join Google and stand on the side of the good. MORE

Andy Plesser and Ken Auletta pontificate:

Google co-founder Sergey Brin, the son of persecuted Russian Jews, has been the driving force in the the company's showdown with China.


Recall the 2008 shareholder meeting where a motion was presented to demand an end of doing business in China over censorship. Brin abstained from the vote while Larry Page and Eric Schmidt voted it down. MORE

Meanwhile, bigredradio says, "It's about time":

Everybody seems to walk on egg shells as to not cause friction with China because of the "possible" loss of customers they get access to. I applaud Google for this. Just because China has 1.3 billion people does not make them all good customers. I know a lot of software developers who would rather stay out of China because after the first license is sold, it's pirated and re-distributed by their competitors.

So my point, why compromise your ethics for a hostile business environment that might lead to further problems and minimal increase in the balance sheets. Way to go Google! MORE

And metrometro offers this wake-up-call scenario:

"Hey COO, we need to locate a remote technology office. This will support the economy of Brazil, China, India, Poland."

"Let's choose... ANYWHERE BUT CHINA, because they will steal our stuff." MORE

This story, "Google's Threat to Quit China Fires Up Blogosphere" was originally published by Computerworld.

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