Google challenges China on censorship



Since it began operations in China in 2005, Google has complied with local censorship laws in implementing what has been called the Great Firewall of China. On Tuesday, the internet giant announced it is "no longer willing to continue censoring" in China. "In mid-December, Google came under a flurry of cyberattacks that company engineers eventually traced back to a branch of the Chinese government or agents acting on its behalf, according to a person close to the company," the San Jose Mercury News reported. "The attacks appear to have been the last straw for Google, which has had a series of difficulties operating in China. The attacks prompted Google to announce Tuesday that it would consider shuttering its business operations in China unless the government allows it to operate an uncensored search engine. "Google insists it has not traced the attacks to official Chinese agencies. "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday after being briefed by Google that the allegations raise serious concerns and questions. 'We look to the Chinese government for an explanation,' she said in a statement released by the State Department. 'We will have further comment on this matter as the facts become clear.' "The decision to stop cooperating with the government was made in Mountain View [Goggle's corporate headquarters in California]; Google deliberately kept its employees in China in the dark about the move. 'The company took every precaution possible to make sure their people in China would be safe,' the person close to the company said." China Daily reported: "David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, said in an unusual statement posted online that the company had detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack from China that resulted in the theft of the company's intellectual property. " 'These attacks ... led us to conclude that we review the feasibility of our business operations in China.' "He said Google will no longer continue censoring results on Google.cn, a Chinese-language website it launched in 2006, and is discussing with the Chinese government the possibility that it operate an unfiltered search engine within the law. " 'We recognise that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China,' he added. "The statement marks a shift in the company's China strategy for the past five years, which is to provide censored results under Chinese law through its domestic search engine in exchange for a presence in the world's largest online population. "That strategy helped Google take about 35 per cent of China's search engine market in the fourth quarter of last year, according to domestic research firm Analysys International. "Jiao Jian, an office worker who uses both Baidu and Google every day, said the possible shutdown of the Google search engine will have little impact on his life as many other firms provide similar services. 'But it's hard to find alternatives to Google's other services, such as Google Map, Google Earth and Gmail,' he said. "He also expressed concerns over the availability and safety of his Gmail account if Google exited the country." In The Guardian, Xiao Qiang wrote: "As the Twittersphere exploded with news that Google may leave the China market rather than continue to operate a censored site, one Chinese Twitterer wrote: 'It's not Google that's withdrawing from China; it's China that's withdrawing from the world.' "For Google, the hacking of gmail accounts was the last straw. As a leading global company in technology and innovation, Google thrives on the open flow of information. Yet, since the company set foot on Chinese soil in 2006, it has been a constant target: Google search phrases are often reset. YouTube and Blogger cannot be accessed. Google docs is often interrupted. Search results on google.cn must be heavily censored. "Of course, Google is not the only foreign IT company to face such hurdles in China. The internet is a liberating force for Chinese citizens, and the government fears it as a threat to its monopoly on information. Google has constantly demonstrated its capacity to empower users in China and so has become a special target." The Times reported: "Yesterday Google made contact with Chinese officials, and discussions are understood to be continuing. But for a few hours yesterday some Chinese citizens said they had precisely the liberty which the search engine is demanding. "After the company presented its ultimatum, some users claimed that previously-banned photographs were available on the site, including one of a protester holding the image of a man standing in front of a tank during the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Google insisted that it had yet to lift the filters that Chinese law requires it to install. "Google will be counting the potential cost of a move designed to protect, or rather burnish, the reputation built around its motto 'Don't be evil'. Since facing a barrage of criticism when submitting to Chinese censors four years ago, it had seemed to be gaining a stronger foothold in China, one of the few places it is not the dominant search engine. "But on Tuesday night, Google found itself unable to square the virtuous circle - based on free access and freedom of expression - that lies at the heart of the way it likes to run its business. Web users dismayed by the news - carried prominently on websites but ignored by state-run media - made their way to the company's Beijing offices to leave bouquets. Some bowed before the building. One message read: 'Google: a real man'." The Christian Science Monitor noted: "there are more than a few reasons why a Google exit makes a lot of sense. "First, 155 million Chinese access the internet through mobile devices, a number that Mark Beccue, an analyst at ABI Research expects to rise at a steady clip for the foreseeable future. The question for Google is whether search, its cash cow, will be able to compete with Baidu and a host of China's other favourite web destinations, sites that sell virtual goods, for time on Chinese internet users' handheld screens. "Second, the increasingly difficult political environment may not only knock Google out of China but portend a much riskier future for the entrance of other American Internet firms. " 'This is a no-win situation for an American [company's] entrance,' says Richard D'Aveni, professor of strategic management at Dartmouth University's Tuck business school. 'I think China is going to want control over the internet, and I think the fate of any search engine or Internet-based company in China is one that they are either going to have to corporate with the government by allowing espionage or they are going to have to get out if they want to live by American values.'"

pwoodward@thenational.ae

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

How to wear a kandura

Dos

  • Wear the right fabric for the right season and occasion 
  • Always ask for the dress code if you don’t know
  • Wear a white kandura, white ghutra / shemagh (headwear) and black shoes for work 
  • Wear 100 per cent cotton under the kandura as most fabrics are polyester

Don’ts 

  • Wear hamdania for work, always wear a ghutra and agal 
  • Buy a kandura only based on how it feels; ask questions about the fabric and understand what you are buying

Pearls on a Branch: Oral Tales
​​​​​​​Najlaa Khoury, Archipelago Books

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

The specs: 2018 Kia Picanto

Price: From Dh39,500

Engine: 1.2L inline four-cylinder

Transmission: Four-speed auto

Power: 86hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque: 122Nm @ 4,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 6.0L / 100km

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

 

 

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sep 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side

8 There are eight players per team

9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.

5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls

4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.

Zones

A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs

B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run

C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs

D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full

'My Son'

Director: Christian Carion

Starring: James McAvoy, Claire Foy, Tom Cullen, Gary Lewis

Rating: 2/5

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,600rpm
Torque: 320Nm at 1,500-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.9L/100km
Price: From Dh119,900
On sale: Now

THE BIO

Favourite car: Koenigsegg Agera RS or Renault Trezor concept car.

Favourite book: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes or Red Notice by Bill Browder.

Biggest inspiration: My husband Nik. He really got me through a lot with his positivity.

Favourite holiday destination: Being at home in Australia, as I travel all over the world for work. It’s great to just hang out with my husband and family.

 

 

Alan Wake Remastered

Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Consoles: PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox: 360 & One & Series X/S and Nintendo Switch
Rating: 4/5

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

Ipaf in numbers

Established: 2008

Prize money:  $50,000 (Dh183,650) for winners and $10,000 for those on the shortlist.

Winning novels: 13

Shortlisted novels: 66

Longlisted novels: 111

Total number of novels submitted: 1,780

Novels translated internationally: 66

Biog

Mr Kandhari is legally authorised to conduct marriages in the gurdwara

He has officiated weddings of Sikhs and people of different faiths from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Russia, the US and Canada

Father of two sons, grandfather of six

Plays golf once a week

Enjoys trying new holiday destinations with his wife and family

Walks for an hour every morning

Completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Loyola College, Chennai, India

2019 is a milestone because he completes 50 years in business

 


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