v.22 #1 – Backtalk: Censorship and Google

Column Editor:  Anthony (Tony) W. Ferguson  (Library Director, University of Hong Kong;  Phone: 852 2859 2200; 
Fax: 852 2858 9420)  ferguson@hkucc.hku.hk

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Someone asked me the other day about my thoughts concerning Google’s announcement a few weeks ago that it would stop censoring news in China, even if it meant being closed down by the Government.  This decision was supposedly based upon Google’s “discovery that a China-originated attack let malicious hackers steal Google intellectual property and partially break into the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.”1  I think it is important to note that Google was not protesting censorship, which Google itself had been practicing, and seemingly continues to practice as of this writing, in order to obtain Government support/escape the Government’s ire.  Rather Google was complaining that the Government had supported/allowed the hacking of its computers to enable it to gather information which could then be used to do really bad things to those who oppose/criticize the Party, and to take part in an act of industrial espionage.

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