[iDC] Google in China: Protecting Activists by Protesting Industrial Policy?

Sean Cubitt scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Thu Jan 14 03:34:09 UTC 2010

Some further thoughts: the most publicised aspect is the hack on dissident
gmail accounts, and the censorship story, but Drummond, issuing the Google
statement, also talks about 20 companies in the IP sector (media,
technology, software, chemicals as well as internet) hacked in the same
exploit which accessed Google's root code and whacked it via a DNS hack
through rackspace to  Taiwan (the statement says 20 companies; other reports
including WSJ have 34). It's root code that has Google worried, and I get
the impression it isn't the search algorithm but the google accounts (blogs,
books, YouTube and gmail have all been issues in China-Google face-offs in
the last year). Could be hackers mobilised for standard industrial
espionage. Could be government wanting to access google accounts (maybe they
want to build a better blog search?)

Baidu -- market dominant in .cn -- shares went up 13% on the news about
Google. Google shares went down 1%. JP Morgan reckon Google's China business
is worth 600m in 2010, and estimates  global profits at 26 billion

Baidu was hacked on Tuesday by the Iranian Cyberarmy in another DNS prank

Sina.com had 60,000 tweets last night, about 50/50 for and against

Several Chinese blogs had links to a story on people's China Dai;y news
which was gone by the time I looked. (The CP argues that the Golden Shield
protects netizens: big stories in the People daily News are on 'cybermafia'
renegade PR companies doing anti-viral marketing - spreading bad news
through paid blog commenters to run down companies and brands. Protecting
the populace from the internet is not far from even enlightened politicos
like Kevin Rudd who wants internet censorship in Australia. )

Xinhua, gov't news agency, however, had the perfect quote from an anonymous
government official. He said he was seeking information from Google.

The age of irony is not over yet


On 14/01/10 9:23 AM, "John Hopkins" <jhopkins at tech-no-mad.net> wrote:

>> "The Google syndrome caps growing complaints by foreign businesses over
>> a deteriorating business environment.. . . Younger bureaucrats are more
>> nationalistic and skeptical of the value of letting in foreign
>> companies. . . Last year, for example, foreign executives said bidding
>> practices for wind energy were rigged to exclude foreign companies."**
> not to mention summary arrest of foreign managers ... RE, for example: the Rio
> Tinto arrests (ongoing story) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8141766.stm
> The rising nationalism will not stop at crooked business deals, kick-backs and
> extortion, but is already an active driving concept behind China's dealing
> with 
> (global) raw material availability -- they will take what ever they need where
> ever they can get it ... They have the capital to do it directly or via
> corrupt 
> or aggressive politico-economic means.
> If Google isn't simply being progmatic, maybe they should be!  They will lose
> out to the Chinese without a heavy dose of
> Marxist-Confucio-capitalist-pragmatism in their 10-year-plans...
> jh
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Prof Sean Cubitt
scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Media and Communications Program
Faculty of Arts
Room 127 John Medley East
The University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3010

Tel: + 61 3 8344 3667
Fax:+ 61 3 8344 5494
M: 0448 304 004
Skype: seancubitt

Editor-in-Chief Leonardo Book Series

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