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Google takes a stand against China

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great article..


After Google’s Stand on China, U.S. Treads Lightly


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Last month, when Google engineers at their sprawling campus in Silicon Valley began to suspect that Chinese intruders were breaking into private Gmail accounts, the company began a secret counteroffensive.


It managed to gain access to a computer in Taiwan that it suspected of being the source of the attacks. Peering inside that machine, company engineers actually saw evidence of the aftermath of the attacks, not only at Google, but also at at least 33 other companies, including Adobe Systems, Northrop Grumman and Juniper Networks, according to a government consultant who has spoken with the investigators.Seeing the breadth of the problem, they alerted American intelligence and law enforcement officials and worked with them to assemble powerful evidence that the masterminds of the attacks were not in Taiwan, but on the Chinese mainland.


But while much of the evidence, including the sophistication of the attacks, strongly suggested an operation run by Chinese government agencies, or at least approved by them, company engineers could not definitively prove their case. Today that uncertainty, along with concerns about confronting the Chinese without strong evidence, has frozen the Obama administration’s response to the intrusion, one of the biggest cyberattacks of its kind, and to some extent the response of other targets, including some of the most prominent American companies.

..it goes on to say our gov't hasn't done much.



this could become a very tangled mess indeed.

unfortunately, china's overwhelming possession of US treasury bonds basically means that in these dire economic times, they have us by the balls.

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In interviews in which they disclosed new details of their efforts to solve the mystery, Google engineers said they doubted that a nongovernmental actor could pull off something this broad and well organized, but they conceded that even their counterintelligence operation, taking over the Taiwan server, could not provide the kind of airtight evidence needed to prove the case.


The murkiness of the attacks is no surprise. For years the National Security Agency and other arms of the United States government have struggled with the question of “attribution” of an attack; what makes cyberwar so unlike conventional war is that it is often impossible, even in retrospect, to find where the attack began, or who was responsible.

The latest episode illuminates the ambiguities.


For example, the servers that carried out many of the attacks were based in Taiwan, though a Google executive said “it only took a few seconds to determine that the real origin was on the mainland.” And at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, there is little doubt that Beijing was behind the attacks. Partly that is because while Mr. Obama was hailing a new era of cautious cooperation with China, Google was complaining of mounting confrontation, chiefly over Chinese pressure on it to make sure Chinese users could not directly link to the American-based “google.com” site, to evade much of the censorship the company had reluctantly imposed on its main Chinese portal, google.cn.

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There were some very targeted email account entries in Gmail that looked through draft boxes and so on. I also get the feeling that Beijing has wanted to fuck google off for ages. However it is not trade protectionism as Baidu, the largest domestic search engine is over 51% US privately owned. They just want to have complete control over the information that comes in to the country...., hence no youtube, facebook or Twitter in China as well.


Suffice to say, the Chinese government has nightmares about the ability of the internet to inform people, to connect people and to coordinate the people to do anything other than support the government. All information and social connections need to be controlled by the Party...., or the Party needs to improve its performance. No prizes for guessing which option they are taking.

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what pisses me off about this is they want to get mad about the chinese govt reading emails (rightfully so) but they bow down and let the imperial ministry of the NSA do it in america.

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Yeah, I think there are more rational business issues here rather than that of censorship and hacking of emails. Baidu has a very commanding market share in CHina and whilst Google's share was slowly growing there is not a huge amount more it can do in China. So, it gains good publicity in the rest of the world and cuts itself out of a very perilous operating environment.


You have to remember that the hacking also involves the theft of large amounts of proprietary information, business strategy information and technology. When you operate in another country you have to employ people from the local labor market. Doing that increases the risk of physical penetration and material theft. Google was facing both these issues in a very stark manner and I believe that that in concert with the low capacity for expansion in China are the main reasons for threatening to pull out.


Google knows that this looks bad for Beijing on the domestic scene and are hoping to exact some concessions out of the authorities there. However I cannot see that happening and their bluff will be called and Google will eventually leave China.

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what pisses me off about this is they want to get mad about the chinese govt reading emails (rightfully so) but they bow down and let the imperial ministry of the NSA do it in america.


it seems though, it was AT&T that allowed it...


What the NSA Secret Surveillance Mess Means to Google


There's plenty of Google fallout from a bombshell lawsuit alleging telephone behemoth AT&T helped the National Security Agency illegally monitor millions of its customers.


To catch some people up, electronic privacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation sued phone behemoth AT&T in January. As part of its suit, it uncovered documents attributed to Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee.


The documents, like the one Wired Magazine's Web site published, describes a number of supposedly "secret rooms" at various AT&T offices like room 641A at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco.


"High-speed fiber-optic circuits come in on the 8th floor and run down to the 7th floor where they connect to the 'Common Backbone,' " Klein wrote. "In order to snoop on these circuits, a special cabinet was installed and cabled to the 'secret room' on the 6th floor to monitor the information going through."


What do these rooms do? Again according to the Klein document: the rooms "give the government full access to millions of e-mail messages, Web browsing sessions and phone calls."


That's potentially a lot of Google Internet searches, Gmail e-mails, Gtalk instant messaging and phone calls the NSA could be capturing. In fact, that's a lot of capturing of any brand of Internet communcations, regardless of whether it's hosted by Google or others doing buisness on the Net.


Can anybody do anything about the allegedly illegal spying?


The whole operation could come to a halt should the EFF win a preliminary injunction requiring AT&T stop turning over the information. That won't likely happen until at least late June.


On May 17, there were two hours of lawyerly verbal jousting about what to do with the Klein documents, ranging from sealing the records to not sealing them or redacting portions.


In the end, EFF lawyers won the right to continue using the records, which in turn seemingly boosts the EFF's shot at an injunction.


Following a court hearing in San Francisco, Klein said, "I believe I have signficant information to bring to the table. I have struggled for months to bring it to the light of day."


For Google's part, it will have to launch a more proactive fight if the EFF legal effort fails to stop the NSA's operation.


Maybe Google, MSN, Yahoo et al. will object to any direct NSA request to turn over any search sessions, and then launch their own legal battles when the NSA subpoenas the records. In short, Google would channel its inner Google Boy.


But that might not work. In theory, the NSA could then just turn to AT&T, or any other telcos it works with, to find any of the red flag Google search terms of the day.


There are a lot of other options. It'll be interesting to see which one, if any, the likes of Google choose.

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so people like the ACLU filed suit against AT&T to stop them.

this is the culmination:


A federal judge in San Francisco has tossed out a slew of lawsuits filed against AT&T and other telecommunications companies alleged to have illegally opened their networks to the National Security Agency.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker on Wednesday ruled that, thanks to a 2008 federal law retroactively immunizing those companies, approximately 46 lawsuits brought by civil liberties groups and class action lawyers will be dismissed.

Congress has created a "'focused immunity' for private entities who assisted the government with activities that allegedly violated plaintiffs' constitutional rights," Walker wrote in a 46-page opinion. That has not, he said, "affected plaintiffs' underlying constitutional rights."

Wednesday's ruling is a bitter defeat to groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, which are coordinating the lawsuits over warrantless wiretapping. They had hoped to convince the judge that the law improperly infringed upon the separation of powers described in the U.S. Constitution and handed too much power to the executive branch.

The 2008 law, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, was approved by a Democratic-controlled Congress last summer. As a senator, President Obama voted for the measure even though he had previously pledged to oppose it.




ugh. disappointing.







now they want everything...


NSA Must Examine All Internet Traffic to Prevent Cyber Nine-Eleven, Top Spy Says

January 15, 2008


The nation’s top spy, Michael McConnell, thinks the threat of cyberarmageddon! is so great that the U.S. government should have unfettered and warrantless access to U.S. citizens’ Google search histories, private e-mails and file transfers, in order to spot the cyberterrorists in our midst.





i suppose this is off topic though.

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so this should be interesting:



Google quits censoring search in China

By Doug Gross, CNN

March 22, 2010 -- Updated 1959 GMT (0359 HKT)




CNN) -- Google on Monday announced it has stopped censoring search results in China.

The announcement came amid speculation that the search giant would pull out of China entirely and sets up a showdown with the Communist leadership there.

In a 3:03 p.m. ET post on its official blog, Google said it stopped running the censored Google.cn service on Monday and was routing its Chinese users to an uncensored version of Google based in Hong Kong.

"We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement," said Senior Vice President David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, on the blog.

Google hopes the move "will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China," Drummond wrote.

"We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services," he added.

Google said it would be carefully monitoring to see if access to the site is blocked in mainland China.

Google launched Google.cn, its China effort, in 2006 amid complaints that its devotion to Web freedom was being subverted by a willingness to comply with Chinese censorship in return for access to a huge potential customer base.

The company, whose slogan is "don't be evil," countered that by operating in limited form, it gave Chinese users more information than than they would have had otherwise. Google also hoped its presence would speed a move toward online freedom in China.

In January, Google announced that the company and at least 20 others were victims of a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" originating in China in mid-December, evidently to gain access to the e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

The company said the attacker or attackers gained access to the header -- or subject-line information -- from the e-mails of two human rights activists through the Google network.

As a result, the company said, it was no longer willing to abide by the filters that the Chinese government demanded on certain searches before allowing Google to operate in the country.

For a brief time afterward, Google.cn was retrieving results for sensitive topics including the 1989 crackdown at Tiananmen Square, the Dalai Lama and the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

But about a day later, search results appeared to return to normal.

Google -- with it's China-specific Google.cn search engine -- has become the preferred search tool for about 13 percent of Chinese Web users, according to a state-sponsored survey.

Baidu.com, a government-friendly Chinese search engine, dominates the market in mainland China with about 77 percent of users preferring it, according to the survey.

Google's announcement had been widely anticipated. Internet companies operating in China face a March 31 deadline to renew licenses to operate in the country, according to the Beijing Communications Administration.

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sorry caps lock.


Normal google is partially blocked already. You get one or two searches and then it's gone. There has been a massive amount of bad publicity for google in the government run and regulated press here since this broke. They have set the public opinion with a lot of shit talking and now the majority of Chinese people surveyed..., by the Chinese, say that google is disrespectful to Chinese laws and should leave and they they don't care if google is not in china, blablablah...


The Chinese public are VERY easily led in their opinions on anything. When your education levels are low, information is curtailed and manipulated you quickly become a sheep.

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what i want to kno is why exactly has the US

govt been selling its debt the the chinese in the

first place? Is it that far of a stretch to consider

China as Americas biggest enemy? Its like going

to a lousy neighborhood and finding the grimiest

scumfuck available, giving him the keys to your ride

and asking him to keep an eye on it for you

-if what google says is true that constitutes

an enormous breach of security. 20 years ago

this kind of intrusion would have required a

bit of human effort. The MMS or whatever

other chinese spy agency would have needed

people on the ground, people working at all of

these companies with access to information. Technology

has enabled them to do the same job from Asia.


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no one else with that kind of capital is willing to take that kind of risk.

they got us by the balls, because they have the dough and the credit.


and chrisotf, i know, you're right. it's just interesting because i think it portends a looming problem for them: how to maintain their vice-grip on info, in the info age.

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i realize its somewhat of a relationship at

this point. In a sense they own our debt

and therein lies the risk you mention.

The biggest thing preventing them from

snuffing out our economy would be that they

would have to absorb the debt themselves right?

what a mess

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The Chinese have no interest in using the debt as a weapon.


The worst thing they could do for the US is stop buying it.


If the Chinese sold off large chinks of their holdings the US currency would drop in value. But that also means that the value of the Chinese' investment would drop, shooting themselves in the foot. The US economy is MUCH larger than the Chinese and would recover but the Chinese econ may not.


Secondly, if the US currency value did drop that would make US exports more attractive to the rest of the world, increasing econ activity in the US, increasing employment...., etc. That would not be unnacceptable for the US right now. The US oil imports would become costlier as would other imports but you also have a 3 month strategic reserve and massive oil production yourself that can help ride out the storm. You are a net food exporter so that wouldn't affect inflation, etc. etc.


The Chinese need to keep funding US debt so the US can continue to buy Chinese exports. They lower the US currency the more the US slows down on buying Chinese stuff and the Chinese export economy takes a massive hit. The Chinese have to buy US Tbills.



Some might say that it's the US that have the Chinese over a barrel instead!

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ha, I meant "large chunks" not chinks!


Freudian slip....


Aw, yer not supposed to point it out, I was gonna make a 'phat tso' joke... and then I was gonna ramble about kung-fu theatre on the UHF channel Sunday at noon...



Oh, and as long as we're in the region, Hey North Korea, FUCK YOU, on the real!

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Go Daddy, the domain name company has also quit China.


Indian PM said Dell was getting ready to relocate to India, Dell said they weren't.


Recent survey from the US chamber of commerce said that increasing numbers of US businesses are re-evaluating doing business in China because it is such a difficult environment to work (constant threat of having you proprietary info stolen, corruption, bribery, intrusive government, unfair legal system, etc.) around 37%, if I remember correctly.


The whole Stern Hu-Rio Tinto case hasn't helped either. Of course they were taking bribes, but that's the standard for business in China. They got arrested because China wanted a bigger discount in iron ore negotiations, missed out on share rights and of buying RT outright...., all in the matter of a few months. Now people prefer to do their meetings/negotiations in Singapore and other places out of reach of the local authorities.

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They have to support freedom of speech. Isn't this what a search engine is all about - feature the most relevant results? Not really possible if you have censorship.

Stated from the Guardian:


Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, told the New York Times that he believed efforts by governments such as China to control online speech were likely to fail, adding: "I think that in the long term, they are going to have to open."

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Somehow this is one of my favorite threads in crossfire.

Props christo-f

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indeed christo-f, thx for the contributions.

it'll be interesting to see what happens to the net over the next 20 years.


look at what happened to tv, and how it's changed everything.

the net will have at least as big an impact imo.


unfortunately, google is far from the most popular search engine in china.


Baidu, Inc. (Chinese: 百度; pinyin: Bǎidù, NASDAQ: BIDU), simply known as Baidu and incorporated on January 18, 2000, is a Chinese and Japanese search engine for websites, audio files, and images. Baidu offers 57 search and community services including Baidu Baike, an online collaboratively-built encyclopedia, and a searchable keyword-based discussion forum.[3] Baidu was established in 2000 by co-founders, Robin Li and Eric Xu. Both of the co-founders are Chinese nationals who have studied and worked overseas before returning to China. Baidu.com Inc. is registered in the Cayman Islands.[4] In January 2010, Baidu ranked 8th overall in Alexa's internet rankings.[5] In December 2007, Baidu became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index.[6]


.....According to the China Digital Times, Baidu has a long history of being the most proactive and restrictive online censor in the search arena. Documents leaked in April 2009 from an employee in Baidu's internal monitoring and censorship department show a long list of blocked websites and censored topics on Baidu search.[18]







i'm not an economist, but imo, we hardly have the chinese over a barrel

they are in danger of growing too big too fast but they don;'t have much to worry about as they become the world's largest manufacturer.

we also have a MUCH larger economy yes, but their's is growing at a faster rate, and our is barely growing at all.


some predictions have them becoming the world's largest economy in 2026, so time will tell.



China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest producer of manufactured goods by next year, according to forecasts by economics consultancy firm Global Insight Inc. done on behalf of the Financial Times.


China will account for 17% of the world’s manufacturing value-added output next year, versus the United States’ 16%, the FT reported.


In 2007, the United States accounted for 20% of manufacturing output worldwide, while China made up just 13.2%. Also, last year, Global Insight predicted the United States would hold its top position until 2013, but a severe economic downturn has expedited China’s rise to the top.

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That severe global turndown has drastically increased the fragility of China's economy.


Last year Chinese banks lent out over RMB 11 trillion at the direction of the government in order to keep businesses from going bankrupt and increasing unemployment. A massive amount of these loans did not go in to paying workers wages, buying energy efficient plant, upgrading technology, expanding capacity, etc., it went it to the property and stock markets. China now has two MASSIVE bubbles that when they burst the value will very likely drop lower than the purchasing rates and a lot of those loans will be unpayable and the banks will have to write off a large amount of capital from their books.


Sound familiar?


That's just one instance of the fragility of the Chinese economy and there is a benchmark as to what happens to economies that focus on employment and turnover rather than efficiency; Japan in the 1980/90s and the "Tiger economies" in the 1990's.


When the crisis hit China in 2009 laws were passed in many provinces that more than 10% of your workforce was not allowed to be laid off without government permission. In other words businesses were forced to become irrational and money losers whilst propped up by banks.



Also, China has a large export economy but look at what they export, extremely little of it is strategic. People can go without new handbags, happy meal toys and Disney products. In a downturn people can easily turn away from a majority of what China exports. Look at Australia as a comparison, it exports iron ore, coal, uranium, primary produce, etc. All strategic goods that industry and society cannot go without. That is another example of the fragility of China's economy when looking specifically at manufacturing and export sectors.



China is rising, no doubt about it. However China suffers massive economic disparities due to its geography, relies heavily on non-strategic exports for growth and the forecasts of its continued meteoric rise are only possible if growth in export markets continue and there is no environmental, natural and social calamities internally, all of which are very prevalent throughout China's 4000 year history.


I'm not saying that it won't happen, just that it is nowhere near a sure thing.

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This is actually a really nice thread. Also; Australians may have necessary exports, but some politicians (I'm talking about a little weiner called KEVIN RUDD [our current PM]) are pretty daft. I believe that Uranium is being sold to the Chinese. Smart move, eh? With no one to regulate what they do with it, theres probably a new cold war coming :P. Just my thoughts.


I want to see what happens with China's economy however, as what everyones said seems to be true. Keep us informed :D.

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