My latest BBC column looks at what Google is up to in China – read it on the BBC News website as usual.
Google has responded to what it terms “a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure” aimed at getting access to the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists by announcing its desire to stop censoring search results on its Google.cn website.
Writing on the official Google blog the company’s chief legal officer David Drummon says that “over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law”.
But there is clearly little expectation that this will be possible and Google has apparently decided that it will, if necessary, stop operating in China.
Read the whole thing.
However the story has moved fast – I said ‘
Here in the UK, Peter Barron, former editor of BBC Newsnight and now Google UK’s head of communications, has been all over the media giving their side of the story.
I haven’t seen any response from Chinese government spokespeople, and doubt one will be forthcoming.
Google may be big news in the west, but the decision of one search engine provider to renege on its agreement to follow local laws and ask for an exemption is unlikely to merit a formal response.
But I reckoned without the intervention of the US Administration in the row, which is turning it into a diplomatic incident. Perhaps there was more behind the decision than first seemed to be the case… this one might have legs.
[As ever, this is also on the BBC News website]
In the next few days [in fact it is now published] a number of large technology companies, including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, are going to announce that they have signed up to a voluntary code of conduct on how they do business in countries that curtail freedom of expression like China and Singapore.
The code has been drawn up by the Washington-based digital rights group The Center for Democracy & Technology and a non-profit in San Francisco, Business for Social Responsibility, and it is believed to address the terms of business companies should adhere too and also to call on them to try to ensure that suppliers and business partners also sign up. Continue reading “Who is responsible in our cloudy world?”
Here’s what I’ve tagged on del.icio.us:
Here’s what I tagged on del.icio.us between July 23rd and July 30th:
- Web curbs for Olympic journalists – What a surprise…
- Plenty of Blame to Go Around in Yahoo Music Shutdown – Ed Felten knows who to blame, and I agree with him entirely.
- Exploit code targets Mac OS X, iTunes, Java, Winzip… – nasty little piece of software called Evilgrade that uses a man in the middle attack to exploit automatic update code.
- Consultation on legislative options to address illicit P2P file-sharing – BERR – UK government consultation opens..
- How to make our newspapers profitable again: David Aaronovitch Simulator | The Wardman Wire – ah, how entertaining…
- Google Knol is evil | Seldo.Com Blog – Hard-hitting analysis: is Knol Google's 'IE vs Netscape' moment?
- Rocque London Index Map – Useful for anyone reading Neal Stephenson's Baroque Trilogy, especially The System of the World
- AWS Service Health Dashboard – Amazon S3 Availability Event: July 20, 2008 – "With a large number of servers gossiping and failing while gossiping, Amazon S3 wasn't able to successfully process many customer requests" Excellent explanation, and good communication with customers
- xkcd – A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language – By Randall Munroe – Ah yes… 🙂
- Ofcom report into Social networking usage – some reading for us all I think
- DRM still sucks: Yahoo Music going dark, taking keys with it – And yet the music industry wants ISPs and government to sustain their broken business model…
- Announcing the Open Web Foundation – Open Web Foundation – Could be useful
- Read Giles Coren's letter to Times subs | Media | guardian.co.uk – I didn't expect to, but I agree with him
- Cuomo strong-arms Comcast over Usenet | The Iconoclast – politics, law, and technology – CNET News.com – Nice analysis of a dangerous tactic
- MySQL forks: could Drizzle be the next of the new generation of relational database? | O'Reilly News – Seeing a major system fork is like watching close friends divorce. Wish them both well…
[As ever you can read this on the BBC News website – and it seems the story is already moving on, with reports that press access to the net will be filtered by the Chinese]
I won’t be going to Beijing for the Olympic Games next month, and in fact I probably won’t even be going to London in 2012 when it’s our turn to host the festivities.
I don’t watch athletics or any of the other events that will be taking place. I don’t support a football team either, or have much interest in cricket despite being an English male. Sport just doesn’t excite me at all.
But even though I don’t care which country wins most gold medals or whether world records are broken for running, jumping or throwing odd-shaped objects, I’ll be watching what goes on around the Olympic Games with keen interest, because this world-wide sporting event offers a fascinating perspective on the state of the internet today.
Continue reading “Watching the Olympics”