If you’ve been following the news you probably heard about the recent issues Google is having with China. However it is important to get a good perspective on the whole issue. And so far I think this article on The Inquirer has really nailed it:
But we should not be surprised as it is starting to look like the whole thing is as much an embarrassment to the US government as it is to Google. Suggestions are that the same software Google uses to snoop on customers for US law enforcement might have provided Chinese hackers with their attack vector.
…the trend toward building surveillance capability into telecommunications architecture amounts to a breach-by-design and is a serious security risk.
With the automated process in place all the Chinese would have had to do was hack into it and all the information they wanted would have been available to them.
If this is true, it is running counter to the official story that claims Chinese dissidents were tricked with a bogus Trojan. It highlights the weaknesses in Google’s cloud computing plans and how the US government’s obsession to snoop on its citizens actually puts them at risk.
Fortunately for both Google and the US government, they can sidetrack the problem with a bit of spin that paints them as ‘fighting for freedom’ against the Chinese government’s attempts to clamp down on free speech.
China has been successfully squeezing Internet companies for years and neither Google nor the US government had complained much.
Yet when the future of cloud based computing is threatened then Google apparently feels it is a good idea to threaten to pull out of China.
The US government too has an interest in Google’s cloud based initiative succeeding. Instead of having to get court orders to snoop at many ISPs it will only have to deal with one company, with which it could develop a very cosy relationship over time.
However if Google’s snooping software did provide the Chinese attack vector, then it could make people less happy with both the government and cloud based computing.
So the White House now enters the spin war on Google’s side.
Google is onto a PR winner here. With even Reporters Without Borders hailing Google’s move, no one is taking any time to wonder how Chinese hackers were able to get into its cloud.
When Google decided it was the right thing to do to assist the Chinese government with censoring information on the Internet back in 2006, I wrote a post where I discussed the hypocrisy of the situation. In that post I wrote the following:
Similarly, Google thinks, and/or would like us to think, that they are helping the Chinese people by at least trying to provide them with the information they are allowed to view, instead of denying them access to all information, but in the process, they are willingly helping the Chinese government with committing a crime against their people. They are actually helping the government there to restrict freedom of speech and to deny the people there their basic rights.
So much for “Don’t be evil.” Google PR are making all kinds of sharp turns right now trying to explain their way out of this and making them look good, but it won’t work.
And it will only go downhill from here. Once they start doing business there and start to rely on it, the Chinese government will have more power over them and will get them to agree to even more things. Like I said before, corporations are only interested in protecting their interests, and you’d be surprised at the things they can be willing to do in order to protect themselves. In the world we live in, everything seems to be about interests and protecting them. That always seems to have the highest priority instead of moral principles and ethics. Just look at Microsoft. They are willing to fight the EU, South Korea and the US government to be able to release certain software with Windows, but gladly comply to the Chinese government’s request to censor information! Isn’t that just lovely?
It is important to remember the reasons why Google went to do business in China in the first place and why they decided to help the Chinese government with censorship back then. Because this will allow you to see through their current PR-spin bullshit about “fighting for freedom.” This isn’t about freedom, it is about protecting Google’s own (business) interests. It is about hiding the fact that they have holes built into their software that allow people, such as the Criminals in Action (CIA), NSA and other parts of the US government to snoop on people. Before this happened, Google was perfectly happy with helping the Chinese government with censorship. Now all of a sudden they feel the need to “fight for freedom.”
Also take note of the fact that money from the CIA was used to finance Google in the beginning. Google is very much in bed with the US government when it comes to cloud computing, and this is one of the reasons why cloud computing is a bad idea. If you’re new to this, take the time to read the links in this post, and if nothing else, at least read the following to understand just how far this goes: Google “in bed” with CIA.
This is what Google is trying to hide right now. It is important that we not make this easy for them to do.