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> China and the Internet, what is our role?
bucket
post Feb 14 2006, 02:23 PM
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I am sure most of you are now aware the Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have all agreed to participate in restricting freedom in order to do business in China.

They have admitted that..

QUOTE
Google last month launched Google.cn, a version of its No. 1 search engine that prevents Chinese residents from seeing, for example, photos of tanks confronting Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989. Also last month, Microsoft acknowledged shutting down a blog run by a Chinese journalist critical of the government.

Last fall, Yahoo acknowledged giving information to Chinese officials that led to a 10-year prison sentence for a journalist accused of divulging state secrets. Last week, Reporters Without Borders, a journalism group critical of Yahoo's cooperation with Chinese officials, accused it of working with the Chinese government in another case that led to a dissident being jailed. Yahoo said it was unaware of the case.

source

The article I quoted from is about a new bill being drafted that will make it no longer legal for companies to keep servers in nations the State department deems too repressive.

It seems more or less a protective measure against reversed engineering than one on favor of Human Rights, but it would make it more difficult for companies to tailor to these restrictive censorships.

But what is our Government's role in all this? Should we be seeking to end companies collusions with governments who restrict and even punish freedom of speech? In fact our government does actively pursue freedom of information in China through programs like this one....FreeGate:
QUOTE
Voice of America (VOA) and human rights organizations also are paying DIT to help evade the censors and get their message out to the Chinese masses. Says Xiao Qiang, who teaches journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and runs the China Internet Project: "These tools have a critical impact because the people using them are journalists, writers, and opinion leaders."

source


Do you support laws being written to restrict US companies involvement and cooperation with information housing and distribution in nation's that our government feels are repressive to Human Rights?

If not how do you feel we could better address our concerns and champion our principles of freedom?


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psyclist
post Feb 14 2006, 03:05 PM
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I personally see this bill as a waste as they wont protect anything. Moving servers from one location to another wont keep them from being exploited. You don't have to have physical access to a server to access the data. If they're worried about reverse engineering, theirs nothing stopping them from buying the same server out on the market and figuring out how it works.

I fully support trying to improve human rights in any country. However, I don't think this is the way to do it. Why punish Google and Yahoo while Wal-Mart and other companies continue to buy and sell tons and tons of crap to China? If you really want to support human rights, cut off all ties until they get it together. And why stop at China, how about Saudi Arabia too? Of course the problem with this is obvious but are we going to champion human rights or not? I don't see putting a leash on Google or Yahoo as doing much of anything.

This post has been edited by psyclist: Feb 14 2006, 03:06 PM
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bucket
post Feb 14 2006, 05:00 PM
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QUOTE(psyclist)
If they're worried about reverse engineering, theirs nothing stopping them from buying the same server out on the market and figuring out how it works.


It isn't the servers themselves that is the concern..but rather the information on the servers.

From the article....
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights. Moving servers would keep personal data they house from government reach.

See when we discuss Human Rights in regards to this issue it is not just freedom of speech but also the concept of privacy that is not "granted" by these countries.

I think this story takes on an even stranger twist with the fact that Google has denied the Bush admin access to the data of what people search for online citing privacy rights, and yet somehow in China these principles of theirs relax?

Again from the article....
Google's site launch came days after it rebuffed a U.S. Justice Department subpoena demanding that it turn over data on how millions of users search the Internet.

In contrast, Yahoo, Microsoft and America Online all cooperated with Justice.


QUOTE(psyclist)
I fully support trying to improve human rights in any country. However, I don't think this is the way to do it. Why punish Google and Yahoo while Wal-Mart and other companies continue to buy and sell tons and tons of crap to China? If you really want to support human rights, cut off all ties until they get it together. And why stop at China, how about Saudi Arabia too? Of course the problem with this is obvious but are we going to champion human rights or not? I don't see putting a leash on Google or Yahoo as doing much of anything.


I asked if you didn't agree what did you think could be done instead?

The House will be holding a hearing on this tomorrow....

Executives from Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Google Inc., and Cisco Systems Inc. will testify tomorrow before the human rights subcommittee of the House Committee on International Relations. The hearing will consider whether the companies have gone too far in censoring the Chinese Internet, and handing over information about Internet users under investigation by Chinese authorities.

source




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psyclist
post Feb 14 2006, 05:09 PM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Feb 14 2006, 12:00 PM)
It isn't the servers themselves that is the concern..but rather the information on the servers.


Right, and I said, you don't have to have physical access to get the information off the server. What good is changing the physical location other than improved physical security for the box?

If the reason is that the Chineese government will access the information of Americans, well, we do the exact same thing. If a US company working abroad collects information, that information is subject to the rules of the Patriot Act So is every country going to start kicking out US companies?


QUOTE(bucket @ Feb 14 2006, 12:00 PM)
I asked if you didn't agree what did you think could be done instead?

I tried to make the point that we'd probably have to do this all or nothing. What good is regulating a few companies when others get off the hook? Is it the right thing to do? I don't know for sure but trying to send a message by regulating google and yahoo isn't going to do anything.

This post has been edited by psyclist: Feb 14 2006, 06:08 PM
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Lesly
post Feb 14 2006, 05:53 PM
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Do you support laws being written to restrict US companies involvement and cooperation with information housing and distribution in nation's that our government feels are repressive to Human Rights? If not how do you feel we could better address our concerns and champion our principles of freedom?

I've been reading about this story. I brought up the implications of restricting free speech in China on another message board. The response was depressing: If American companies don't play by China's rules other companies will step in and reap the financial rewards. So glad our priorities are in order.

I don't believe the bottom line should guide corporate principles, but the standard should apply evenly. U.S. congressmen complaining about Yahoo cooperating with China's secret police when it won't hold the president to the same high standard? Give me a break.

On the technical side I don't know much about networking. It sounds like DIT and UltraReach will work as long as Google and company aren't banned by China. If any of the search engines decide not to bow to China's demands will DIT and UltraReach work as well on a smaller search engine or work at all?

I'm not sure what the solution is. It is analogous to Cuba. The embargo hasn't kep Castro from allegedly tucking away millions (some estimate billions) of dollars in a Swiss bank account, while common Cubans suffer. European countries doing business in Cuba alleviated some of that.

QUOTE("The Boston Globe")
''It seems to me we're better off to have them there," he said. DeLong added that US firms had no business trying to dictate human rights policy to the Chinese: ''I don't think that American companies really ought to have their own foreign policy."

That's precisely why the government will draft a corporate foreign policy for you.

QUOTE("The Boston Globe")
[The Chinese government is] "genuinely dedicated to improving the well-being of their people." But DeLong said that the decay and corruption of post-Soviet Russia shows how difficult it is to combine economic growth and political liberalization. The Chinese, he said, have decided to emphasize economic growth first, while moving more slowly on political reform.

I don't know if DeLong is right. If it comes down to it I'd choose limiting our corporations' access to profit than enriching and empowering an oppressive government, then waiting for that government to liberalize itself. Then again I'd also ban the sale of tasers to most Mid East countries, including our "allies."

This post has been edited by Lesly: Feb 14 2006, 06:36 PM
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Doclotus
post Feb 14 2006, 06:43 PM
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Do you support laws being written to restrict US companies involvement and cooperation with information housing and distribution in nation's that our government feels are repressive to Human Rights?If not how do you feel we could better address our concerns and champion our principles of freedom?
I have to admit, once I got over my outrage about this, I realized a potentially far greater value in allowing these restrictions to happen. Yes, it is reprehensible that Yahoo would help Chinese authorities prosecute a man who did the unthinkable act of speaking his mind. But consider this:

Sunlight is the greatest disinfectant of all. Allowing companies like Google, Yahoo & Microsoft to operate there gives us far better insight into the machinations of that repressive regime than we would have had otherwise. Each repressive act gets more and more press. Eventually, the people of China won't take it anymore. Revolution. Maybe not in a year, or two, but eventually the government fails the people long enough and the whole world watches as China reacts.

Imagine a Tiananmen Square today, in the age of the Internet.

Yes, following the dollar is reprehensible, but I can't help but wonder if a greater good is being served here. This legislation won't help.

Doc
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Fife and Drum
post Feb 14 2006, 08:31 PM
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QUOTE(Lesly)
I don't believe the bottom line should guide corporate principles

Lesly, you and I agree on almost everything and I'm critical that the corporate bottom line often overrides the corporate conscious. But Iíd like to take a snip from your Boston Globe story.

QUOTE(Boston Globe)
The Chinese, he said, have decided to emphasize economic growth first, while moving more slowly on political reform.

As Iíve read about ĎprogressĒ in countries like Qatar and India Iíve noticed a striking similarity. Younger, wealthier citizens are starting to make social changes and the extra cash in their pockets is often noted as the catalyst (similar to the 60ís here in the states).

As their standard of living increases and disposable income rises they have a tendency to purchase Western products and embrace Western culture. My manager who had to take a family emergency trip to India emailed me over the weekend and couldnít believe how much has changed since his last visit two years ago.

With carefully consideration I like the partnering approach and believe by focusing on the economic status in China the liberties and freedoms will follow. Not only is this similar to the 60ís movement but itís very much like the founding of this country.

Do you support laws being written to restrict US companies involvement and cooperation with information housing and distribution in nation's that our government feels are repressive to Human Rights?

Not necessarily, and Bucket I think you hit on one of the keys in your opening sentence:

QUOTE(Bucket)
all agreed to participate in restricting freedom in order to do business in China.

It appears they at least will have more freedoms than they do now, real change isnít going to happen over night.

When I first read the question I found similarities with the Mohamed cartoon fiasco. In American and other free thinking societies we have the right to publish our satire but that doesnít always make it appropriate, we must be sensitive to other cultures and we have to place context around our actions. We can't flip a switch and expect things to change. Whether weíre concerned over the law of the land or the law of religion we must find a way to engage the other side and plant the seeds of freedom.

A concept our forefathers called diplomacy or middle ground.

With China I donít believe social/political freedoms will come before economic freedom. I think itís a sound approach to economically enrich the lives of the Chinese and hope itís the stepping stone to political freedom.

If we partner with them in business then it raises the interaction level with American citizens and our culture. My company is currently doing huge business in China and several co-workers have spent considerable time over there.

Many have commented that in the right situations the Chinese would let their guards down and ask question after question about life in the states and of course one of their favorite subjects Yao Ming (NBA player here in the states).

In our life time China will become either a reliable partner or formidable nemisis and progress is being made, slowly but itís progress and it should be nurtured.

And it certainly beats the alternative.
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bucket
post Feb 14 2006, 10:52 PM
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QUOTE(psyclist)
Right, and I said, you don't have to have physical access to get the information off the server. What good is changing the physical location other than improved physical security for the box?


I never said that this would completely make any system safe BUT physical location does account for something doesn't it? I mean if I was the Chinese Secret Police and I was tired of certain internet users doing what they weren't supposed to do I think it would be a lot easier for me to enter the Google office, confiscate the machines and by force retrieve the information I would need in order to find those I wished to persecute. So in that sense yes I would imagine that physical location, as is the case for all high secure systems would be somewhat important.
My husband works on machines that have two armed guard checkpoints on entrance and are located two stories underground.


QUOTE(Lesly)
On the technical side I don't know much about networking. It sounds like DIT and UltraReach will work as long as Google and company aren't banned by China. If any of the search engines decide not to bow to China's demands will DIT and UltraReach work as well on a smaller search engine or work at all?


From how I understand it the DIT and UltraReach distribute the software Freegate which disguises sites for the readers to then log onto. They then email enmasse these site locations to people in China. In the article the man who was too frightened to tell us anything about himself, said that the sites usually get shut down within 72 hrs. I believe it my husband says he believes China is crazy active on the web and that is where their army is running "exercises"

I don't think their operation relies too much on Google.CN. Perhaps Google.com but I would imagine the Chinese government will no longer allow access to Google.com now that they have Google.CN to offer.

Which brings me to a point I wanted to make that I feel also addresses your argument Fife and Drum...
Sure this information being made available, begins what will at current pace be a very slow and arduous push towards liberalisation, but prior to Google's buckle into China's demands....China was reluctantly offering Google.COM (on and off) to it's citizens because it was the only alternative. Now that they have this mock set of freedom being constructed on the internet for them by American companies...the pressure has been greatly lifted. Not to mention Fife and Drum ...India disproves a lot of your argument.

As I said to my husband I had wished they would have stood their ground and the alleged promise to "do no evil" and say either take Google as is or don't take it at all. The people in China who would find no Google would have not only a far more stark reminder of their lack of freedom and the costs this restriction has, as that is what was already happening and it was pressuring the Chinese government into allowing access. They would also know that the American people don't support their repression and that none of this repression was occurring at our hands. We can't say that now can we?

Now I don't think we should make legislation just yet, I am waiting to hear what is said at the hearing tomorrow to get a better idea of all of this.

Here is info for the hearing tomorow:
February 15, 2006:
10:00 a.m., 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
Hearing: The Internet in China: A Tool for Freedom or Suppression?
Hearing Notice, The Honorable Christopher H. Smith, Mr. James Keith, The Honorable David Gross, Mr. Michael Callahan, Mr. Jack Krumholtz, Mr. Elliot Schrage, Mr. Mark Chandler, Ms. Libby Liu, Mr. Xiao Qiang, Ms. Lucie Morillon, Mr. Harry Wu, Ms. Sharon Hom

This post has been edited by bucket: Feb 14 2006, 11:01 PM
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Cube Jockey
post Feb 14 2006, 11:25 PM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Feb 14 2006, 02:52 PM)
QUOTE(psyclist)
Right, and I said, you don't have to have physical access to get the information off the server. What good is changing the physical location other than improved physical security for the box?


I never said that this would completely make any system safe BUT physical location does account for something doesn't it? I mean if I was the Chinese Secret Police and I was tired of certain internet users doing what they weren't supposed to do I think it would be a lot easier for me to enter the Google office, confiscate the machines and by force retrieve the information I would need in order to find those I wished to persecute. So in that sense yes I would imagine that physical location, as is the case for all high secure systems would be somewhat important.

*


It seems there is a little bit of a misunderstanding about what google and other search engines actually do. The web sites which contain information the Chinese government doesn't want you to see are not owned or controlled by Google. They might potentially come up in a search based on the PageRank™ and the search terms you used.

All google is doing is filtering our certain web sites and search terms the Chinese government doesn't like (other search engines work essentially the same way). Even if Google wasn't in China these web sites would still likely be blocked because the Chinese government has an extremely sophisticated firewall system (developed with the help of large American telecomm companies and Cisco - so really if you want to be outraged at someone you should take that up with companies like Cisco and At&T) that can block pretty much whatever they wanted to.

Even if google's servers were physically located outside of China that wouldn't matter, the Chinese could block all access to Google and other search engines if they didn't comply with their requirements. Up until recently that is exactly what they did. The search engine companies decided to comply so Chinese would use them, they were not previously available.

Now regarding this bill, it is pointless and counter to our principles. The idea behind this bill shows the ignorance that Congress has about technology and is about as ridiculous and impractical an idea as banning pornography on the internet.

I'm still trying to form my opinion on what I think about the whole thing but my initial opinion was one of anger towards these search companies. But that aside this bill is not only a bad idea, it shows a complete lack of understanding of technology.

This post has been edited by Cube Jockey: Feb 14 2006, 11:27 PM
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bucket
post Feb 14 2006, 11:54 PM
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QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
It seems there is a little bit of a misunderstanding about what google and other search engines actually do.


I understand how Google works...do you ? Because they do have all kinds of services other than just web searching. I have no idea what is or is not available in the Chinese market..well no not true I know you can't do searches on freedom or democracy.

You can make discussion groups, they call it Google Groups, which usually include making an account which if my small female brain is working properly usually means you have to supply an email account.
Along with Gmail, Blogger etc. .... all Google services.

Besides this debate isn't just about Google and if you read the articles I have provided..it is not just Google's activity that this subcommittee is looking into...and yes Cisco has been asked to testify to the committee tomorrow also.

I already put this information in a past posting, in bold type no less, but here it is again....

Executives from Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Google Inc., and Cisco Systems Inc. will testify tomorrow before the human rights subcommittee of the House Committee on International Relations. The hearing will consider whether the companies have gone too far in censoring the Chinese Internet, and handing over information about Internet users under investigation by Chinese authorities.



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Cube Jockey
post Feb 15 2006, 12:06 AM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Feb 14 2006, 03:54 PM)
I understand how Google works...do you ?  Because they do have all kinds of services other than just web searching.  I have no idea what is or is not available in the Chinese market..well no not true I know you can't do searches on freedom or democracy.
*


Yes Bucket as a matter of fact I do know how it works and have a few friends that actually work there. Must you be so condescending in every single post you make? It is getting really old.

QUOTE(bucket)
You can make discussion groups, they call it Google Groups, which usually include making an account which if my small female brain is working properly usually means you have to supply an email account.


Yes I understand that, Google Groups has been out for a while. I also know about a lot of other services google offers, even some that are fairly underground right now which you probably don't know about, but how is that relevant?

It does not matter if Google has servers physically within China or not. If they want to do business with the Chinese they must follow the rules the Chinese set. Up until recently they and other search providers didn't and so they were blocked and inaccessible from China. Recently many of these search providers agreed to play by China's rules to get in. The location of their servers is irrelevant.

There isn't a middle ground here, either you play by China's rules or you don't, it is that simple. As long as one understands that then this debate is really about whether or not the US Government intends to ban companies from doing business with China or not, but not all of them (we still need our cheap clothes from Wal-Mart) just companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

You'll notice that nowhere in my post am I commenting on the ethics of censorship or doing business with China, the jury is still out there for me and I said that. What I am saying is that if you believe there is some sort of way for these companies to continue doing business with China and not engage in censorship then you don't understand the situation. No law passed by Congress can change that and no testimony before the senate will change it.

This post has been edited by Cube Jockey: Feb 15 2006, 12:11 AM
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bucket
post Feb 15 2006, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
Yes I understand that, Google Groups has been out for a while. I also know about a lot of other services google offers, even some that are fairly underground right now which you probably don't know about, but how is that relevant?


Read the articles and you will know. The legislators wish to keep personal information out of the hands of Chinese authorities because they have already, with the cooperation of American companies, used this information to locate and persecute Chinese citizens. I am guessing the logic is if the servers who collect and house all this data (Google collects gobs of data on us all, that is it's entire business model) should be more secure and safe from government tampering and access and one way to help secure this is physically. I asked my husband about this and he says that is the first step when securing systems...physical security.


QUOTE(Cube Jockey)

It does not matter if Google has servers physically within China or not. If they want to do business with the Chinese they must follow the rules the Chinese set. Up until recently they and other search providers didn't and so they were blocked and inaccessible from China. Recently many of these search providers agreed to play by China's rules to get in. The location of their servers is irrelevant.


That is not the least bit true. Even Google admits they made the move to a local presence because Google.com was unreliable and not up to standards, but it was accessible.

Google's official reasoning....
Google users in China today struggle with a service that, to be blunt, isn't very good. Google.com appears to be down around 10% of the time. Even when users can reach it, the website is slow, and sometimes produces results that when clicked on, stall out the user's browser. Our Google News service is never available; Google Images is accessible only half the time. At Google we work hard to create a great experience for our users, and the level of service we've been able to provide in China is not something we're proud of.

This problem could only be resolved by creating a local presence, and this week we did so, by launching Google.cn, our website for the People's Republic of China. In order to do so, we have agreed to remove certain sensitive information from our search results. We know that many people are upset about this decision, and frankly, we understand their point of view. This wasn't an easy choice, but in the end, we believe the course of action we've chosen will prove to be the right one.

source


QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
There isn't a middle ground here, either you play by China's rules or you don't, it is that simple.


So apparently there was a middle ground but Google wasn't happy with this "experience".

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
As long as one understands that then this debate is really about whether or not the US Government intends to ban companies from doing business with China or not, but not all of them (we still need our cheap clothes from Wal-Mart) just companies like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.


No this debate, which I started, is not about the government wanting to ban companies from doing business, that would be sanctions and I don't see any one calling for sanctions. It has to do with the fact that American companies have in fact been instrumental and assisted a dictatorship in restricting freedoms to such a degree that we believe they are in fact helping to commit human rights abuses. That is why the hearing is before the subcommittee of Human Rights.
So what is our role in all this? <-----that is what the debate is focusing on.

And I think the concept or idea about products that are brought in or imported from nations like China should follow some sort of standard or ethics in regards to Child labor or other Human Rights abuses is very common. So exactly how is this proof of hypocrisy? I think like most consumers in America would prefer to not buy sneakers made by abused little children they would also not like to see American technology being used in China for the purpose of restricting freedoms or prosecuting government critics.

Why is it that Google should get a free pass when we have been extremely reluctant to allow others?

This post has been edited by bucket: Feb 15 2006, 03:01 PM
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Doclotus
post Feb 15 2006, 02:55 PM
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Apparently some of the sunlight is working...
From NYT:
QUOTE
BEIJING, Feb. 14 ó A dozen former Communist Party officials and senior scholars, including a onetime secretary to Mao, a party propaganda chief and the retired bosses of some of the country's most powerful newspapers, have denounced the recent closing of a prominent news journal, helping to fuel a growing backlash against censorship.

A public letter issued by the prominent figures, dated Feb. 2 but circulated to journalists in Beijing on Tuesday, appeared to add momentum to a campaign by a few outspoken editors against micromanagement, personnel shuffles and an ever-expanding blacklist of banned topics imposed on China's newspapers, magazines, television stations and Web sites by the party's secretive Propaganda Department.

The letter criticized the department's order on Jan. 24 to shut down Freezing Point, a popular journal of news and opinion, as an example of "malignant management" and an "abuse of power" that violates China's constitutional guarantee of free speech.

I know this isn't specifically related to the internet issues, but I definitely think its related.

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Fife and Drum
post Feb 15 2006, 04:19 PM
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QUOTE(Bucket)
It has to do with the fact that American companies have in fact been instrumental and assisted a dictatorship in restricting freedoms to such a degree that we believe they are in fact helping to commit human rights abuses.

Even if they had allowed these companies to initially setup their equipment and search engines with 100% access it wouldnít be too difficult for the Chinese government to control a global catalog for every ISP (assuming they control the ISPís). That would allow them to restrict DNS resolution and in affect control the content of the web.

I have no doubt they would have eventually accomplish their goals of internet censorship, itís just a matter of doing it with our without us. We canít under estimate the value they have actively engaged our companies to give them assistance

But the larger question regarding American/China economic partnership is why does Google have to be the fall guy? Because they are directly involved with censorship? If China is still not meeting the American standard of freedom why should we allow any of our companies the right to do business?

In my mind itís either all or nothing, anything short is being hypocritical. If you purchase any product thatís made in China youíre indirectly supporting censorship.

By the way Bucket, this is an excellent topic. thumbsup.gif
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bucket
post Feb 15 2006, 05:33 PM
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QUOTE(Fife and Drum)
I have no doubt they would have eventually accomplish their goals of internet censorship, itís just a matter of doing it with our without us. We canít under estimate the value they have actively engaged our companies to give them assistance


I am not so much concerned about our role or involvement in censorship, altho. I think it really really stinks. I am more concerned about the information on users...again Google's whole business is collecting data on how and what we do on the internet...being given or shared or even forcibly taken by the Chinese government. People in China get imprisoned and persecuted for freely using the web, should we be complacent in the fact that US companies help this form of political persecution?

I am sure if Nike had responded to the child labour issue by telling us ...
"This wasn't an easy choice, but in the end, we believe the course of action we've chosen will prove to be the right one." or hearing supporters of Nike tell us that they are just being considerate to other nation's cultures or that when doing business in China they are obligated to follow Chinese law. Would we accept these same excuses...who is being hypocritical?

And I understand your point that any support of China is a support for her human rights abuses, yes that is true. I started a debate here at AD about shared prosperity, and how we have to lower our own standards and principles in order to find a place we all share.

I do not support trade sanctions in situations such as these, I am a believer in shared prosperity and free trade but I also believe in fair trade and we should have some things or some principles that we will not compromise.

In some cases I believe prosperity will not be achieved unless we stand firm and that not every accomplishment is achieved by accommodating.

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psyclist
post Feb 15 2006, 05:45 PM
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Bucket, I think you're mixing two different points here:
QUOTE
Read the articles and you will know. The legislators wish to keep personal information out of the hands of Chinese authorities because they have already, with the cooperation of American companies, used this information to locate and persecute Chinese citizens. I am guessing the logic is if the servers who collect and house all this data (Google collects gobs of data on us all, that is it's entire business model) should be more secure and safe from government tampering and access and one way to help secure this is physically. I asked my husband about this and he says that is the first step when securing systems...physical security.


This is much different than Google censoring/not returning results for various searches. Any information that is collected by google which might interest the Chinese can alse collected by the Chinese. The information is going to be out there for anyone to pick up and keep track of as it's all going over the same copper wires. So the idea of the government breaking down Google's doors to get access to a server is probably far fetched. Of course, the bill you sited in the OP I guess was supposed to address this concern. This is of course why I (and CJ and I'm sure others) don't like it when politicians try to make laws about stuff they don't understand. Moving the servers from China isn't going to protect their people anymore than having them in the country.

The idea of google partaking in censorship for China is probably the real issue here but it doesn't seem like the bill does anything to address that. Should google bend to China's laws? Well, google does it for France and Germany, why should China be any different?

As for services such as email and blogging information being turned over, Google has this to say:

QUOTE
"Google will introduce other services in China, such as e-mail and blogging, only when we are comfortable that we can do so in a way that strikes a proper balance among our commitments to satisfy users' interests, expand access to information, and respond to local conditions.''


So, it seems such services may not even be available yet, or ever.


QUOTE
And I think the concept or idea about products that are brought in or imported from nations like China should follow some sort of standard or ethics in regards to Child labor or other Human Rights abuses is very common. So exactly how is this proof of hypocrisy? I think like most consumers in America would prefer to not buy sneakers made by abused little children they would also not like to see American technology being used in China for the purpose of restricting freedoms or prosecuting government critics


Right, this explains why Nike is hurting for cash, no one buys Nestle's chocolate, no one drinks coffee, and no one is wearing GAP jeans.

This post has been edited by psyclist: Feb 15 2006, 06:30 PM
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Cube Jockey
post Feb 15 2006, 06:03 PM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Feb 15 2006, 06:43 AM)
Read the articles and you will know.  The legislators wish to keep personal information out of the hands of Chinese authorities because they have already, with the cooperation of American companies, used this information to locate and persecute Chinese citizens.  I am guessing the logic is if the servers who collect and house all this data (Google collects gobs of data on us all, that is it's entire business model) should be more secure and safe from government tampering and access and one way to help secure this is physically.  I asked my husband about this and he says that is the first step when securing systems...physical security.

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Bucket for the last time, I have read your articles, please stop repeating yourself. I do not agree with your interpretation of them.

I'll state once again that having servers which are not local will not keep information out of the hands of the Chinese authorities. In order to do business in China you must play by China's rules. Yahoo and Microsoft have willingly censored information on blogs they host (microsoft) and turned over emails from their users (Yahoo). They did this because the Chinese government demanded it and the punishment for not complying would be getting kicked out of the country. The Chinese police didn't march into the datacenter and take them, they did these things willingly to preserve the business relationship.

Physical security does not matter one bit when the country you are doing business with can simply say "comply with this request or you aren't doing business here any more".

QUOTE(bucket)
Why is it that Google should get a free pass when we have been extremely reluctant to allow others?

I'm not sure I even understand what you are getting at here. Wal-Mart is one of China's largest business partners and you can bet they are engaging in all kinds of unsavory business practices over there, much of it is well documented. I don't see anyone complaining about that as long as they can buy their cheap goods. I personally don't agree with it and don't shop there but the vast majority of americans are ok with it. So I don't see where this "free pass" when we've raised objections about others comes into play.

This post has been edited by Cube Jockey: Feb 15 2006, 06:05 PM
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bucket
post Feb 15 2006, 10:39 PM
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QUOTE(psyclist)
This is much different than Google censoring/not returning results for various searches. Any information that is collected by google which might interest the Chinese can alse collected by the Chinese. The information is going to be out there for anyone to pick up and keep track of as it's all going over the same copper wires. So the idea of the government breaking down Google's doors to get access to a server is probably far fetched. Of course, the bill you sited in the OP I guess was supposed to address this concern. This is of course why I (and CJ and I'm sure others) don't like it when politicians try to make laws about stuff they don't understand. Moving the servers from China isn't going to protect their people anymore than having them in the country.


Not just anybody can collect, retrieve and organize data just like Google because Google is in fact a product that uses a patented algorithm. If the Chinese already had this ability to search, collect and organize data on the internet why bother with Google at all? Probably and I said this right from the start...in order to reverse engineer. The Chinese could care less about IP rights even tho it was part of their agreement to WTO membership. We have always been very reluctant and careful about what data and information can and can not be shared with China, and rightfully so.

Do you always feel this free about trade when it comes to China? How about the US arms embargo?
Business is business right?

QUOTE(psyclist)
The idea of google partaking in censorship for China is probably the real issue here but it doesn't seem like the bill does anything to address that. Should google bend to China's laws? Well, google does it for France and Germany, why should China be any different?

The bill will be released sometime tomorrow..so I have read. Then we will all have a better idea.

Also from what I have read this bill will establish a legal standing in which anyone can sue companies like Google, or Yahoo et al. if it is believed they assisted a government in the brutal beating or imprisonment of yourself or a family member.

QUOTE(Cube Jockey)
I'll state once again that having servers which are not local will not keep information out of the hands of the Chinese authorities. In order to do business in China you must play by China's rules. Yahoo and Microsoft have willingly censored information on blogs they host (microsoft) and turned over emails from their users (Yahoo). They did this because the Chinese government demanded it and the punishment for not complying would be getting kicked out of the country. The Chinese police didn't march into the datacenter and take them, they did these things willingly to preserve the business relationship.

Physical security does not matter one bit when the country you are doing business with can simply say "comply with this request or you aren't doing business here any more".


You are still missing the point and question I posed for this debate..what is our role in all of this? Does the government of America have a role in this business relationship...and the pursuit of greater internet freedoms in China? Google and co. seem to think so. They said so over and over again today.
ďLet me make one final comment about the role of the U.S. government. We urge the U.S. government to take a leadership role on a government-to-government basis.
---Yahoo senior VP

The United States government has a role to play in contributing to the global expansion of free expression. For example. the U.S. Departments of State and commerce and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative should continue to make censorship a central element of our bilateral and multilateral agendas.
----Google

Or what is our role in all of this? Should American consumers demand that Google and et al. practice some form of ethical and/or social responsibility?

This post has been edited by bucket: Feb 15 2006, 10:40 PM
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AgentOrange
post Feb 15 2006, 11:35 PM
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I think itīs a disgrace that countries put a limit on the people and companies rights of free expression. I think it shows that it takes a long time before China can be considered a modern and free country.

You canīt blame google. It a money making company and of cause they only look at the profits.

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Cube Jockey
post Feb 16 2006, 12:22 AM
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QUOTE(bucket @ Feb 15 2006, 02:39 PM)
You are still missing the point and question I posed for this debate..what is our role in all of this?  Does the government of America have a role in this business relationship...and the pursuit of greater internet freedoms in China? Google and co. seem to think so.  They said so over and over again today.

I will re-iterate that I was clearing up what I thought were some incorrect assumptions about this bill and the technology involved in general.

But let me ask you this. You've stated more than a few times that I don't understand what this debate is about so I have a question for you. If Congress intends to pass a bill on the subject what exactly do you believe will be the content of that bill? The news coverage I have seen so far suggests it would be more sanction oriented, preventing these businesses from doing business with China. You've stated that clearly that's not what it is about so what is it about? Is it some resolution to engage china diplomatically? What is it?

QUOTE
ďLet me make one final comment about the role of the U.S. government. We urge the U.S. government to take a leadership role on a government-to-government basis.
---Yahoo senior VP

The United States government has a role to play in contributing to the global expansion of free expression. For example. the U.S. Departments of State and commerce and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative should continue to make censorship a central element of our bilateral and multilateral agendas.
----Google

Sounds to me like they are stating that the US government should pressure China on the censorship topic through diplomatic channels, not interfere with their business. Do you have some other interpretation of these statements?

QUOTE(bucket)
Or what is our role in all of this?  Should American consumers demand that Google and et al. practice some form of ethical and/or  social responsibility?

Well that certainly everyone's right as a consumer, to not do business with companies they don't feel are in line with their political and moral beliefs. If customers want to give up their Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail accounts I still don't see what this has to do with the government and passing legislation. I'm assuming those that have a problem with these business practices are working to make their objections known.
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