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Sergey Brin On Google and China

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the to-famous-for-slashdot dept.

Businesses 368

yuhong writes "The NY Times has an interview with Sergey Brin on Google and China. A few quotes from it: 'Mr. Brin lived in the Soviet Union until he was nearly 6 years old, and he said the experience of living under a totalitarian system that censored political speech influenced his thinking — and Google's policy. "It has definitely shaped my views, and some of my company's views," he said.' Yes, business is personal, especially these days."

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Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1, Insightful)

Arvisp (1626837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596762)

Ha!

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31596784)

The atmosphere of fear is probably plainly apparent even to a six-years-old. The understanding of the reasons for that comes later.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (2)

kaaposc (1515329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597002)

BS. There was no "atmosphere of fear". Unless of course your parents did nasty and anti-social things. At age 6 you just started to go to school and were proud to be the Little Octobrist [wikipedia.org] . Unless of course you already learned all your country's (and USSR) history at age 4...

It is insider's memory. You didn't know it is all too wrong because you didn't know what was right. Only "special" people traveled to non-commies countries and could see the different life. Those not traveling just worked hard and lived their life.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (2, Interesting)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597132)

I can confirm that.

Also after 22 years in USSR and 16 years in US, I can assure everyone that I feel more oppressed in US than I ever did in USSR -- if for no other reason then because US imposes on me a culture different from my own, while in USSR I at very least had the luxury of having my native culture being forced on myself. I realize that for Americans it would be the other way around, but this is the only real difference for a person who is not a professional politician.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (4, Insightful)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597260)

then because US imposes on me a culture different from my own, while in USSR I at very least had the luxury of having my native culture being forced on myself

What an odd (and really sad) way of looking at life. If you really feel that the US is "imposing" different culture on you, and you feel that your "native culture" was forced upon you, it might be useful to consider what it is that you feel is coming from you yourself. How can your "native culture" be truly yours if it was "forced" on you? How too can exposure to different cultures within the US be construed as "imposed" on you?

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (-1, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597346)

then because US imposes on me a culture different from my own, while in USSR I at very least had the luxury of having my native culture being forced on myself

What an odd (and really sad) way of looking at life. If you really feel that the US is "imposing" different culture on you, and you feel that your "native culture" was forced upon you, it might be useful to consider what it is that you feel is coming from you yourself. How can your "native culture" be truly yours if it was "forced" on you? How too can exposure to different cultures within the US be construed as "imposed" on you?

Get the fuck out. Like the GP Alex Belits, I have also lived in Eastern Europe and Russia when my work required me to. It's true that US is trying to get the culture and influence around in those countries and I do not like it. I think every country should be able to practice their own historical culture without fucking Americans affecting it. And I am from a country that has highly changed it's ways to US standards. It's bullshit, let me say that. Or is having 200kg women fed by McDonalds a good way?

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597412)

What are you going on about? Mr. Belits appeared to be discussing his feelings about how it is to live in the US, not about his feelings of US influence while in Russia. I'm not claiming to have an awareness of what it's like to live or have lived in Russia at all, but you seemed to just be pissed because there are McDonald's popping up all over the world. Sure, that's something to be pissed about, but it has nothing to do with what I was commenting on.

Calm down, dude.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597516)

I'm pissed at US culture, media and every other thing imposed on my country and everywhere. I'd like to travel somewhere where all that McDonalds and other US culture isn't all around. I *dont* want them to be everywhere. The same thing with Google - they're using their company power for political arguing. Sad.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597434)

How the fuck heavy is 200kg in lbs?

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (3, Interesting)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597526)

How can your "native culture" be truly yours if it was "forced" on you? How too can exposure to different cultures within the US be construed as "imposed" on you?

I realize (in retrospect) that when I grew up I didn't really have a choice, which culture to accept, so my set of values is consistent with what was popular in USSR at the time of my childhood, so local culture and government didn't seem like they force on me anything I don't want in the first place. This is the primary reason why I did not feel oppressed there but do feel oppressed in US.

More importantly, Americans believe that they are "free" only because they live in the same country that imposes the same basic culture and ideology on everyone (usually slightly decorated with some crude ethnic/racial flavor but the same at the core). Nevertheless this is not actually freedom -- it would be freedom if they were just as comfortable if they did not share the same values, and my experience shows that a person with different background feels extremely uncomfortable and oppressed here.

Objectively, both USSR and US societies were/are very strict in values, beliefs and ideology imposed on their members -- there are "sacred" ideas that, if attacked effectively and in a public manner, would earn a person ostracism and persecution. It's less visible because it applies only to things that are public and effective, and both societies had also wildly different standards on what is "public" and what can be "effective".

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597450)

Those not traveling just worked hard and lived their life.

So, pretty much the same as everyone in the West, then?

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (5, Interesting)

genka (148122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597068)

As someone who lived in Soviet Union until it's collapse in 92 (I was 25) I can tell you that fear was not a fact of everyday life. Generally you didn't feel much more under control than in US. You couldn't say certain negative things about Party and government in public, but in private conversations everything was discussed freely. It is the same as in states- try to voice politically incorrect opinions about race in your place of work, and you will see how "freedom of speech" will protect you. We have more freedom in US as compared to USSR or China, but don't overestimate it.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597244)

It is the same as in states- try to voice politically incorrect opinions about race in your place of work, and you will see how "freedom of speech" will protect you. We have more freedom in US as compared to USSR or China, but don't overestimate it.

Yeah, but Brin is a Jew, so he's special. I bet he even remembers Hitler and the Holocaust!

Let's see how long it takes for this politically incorrect opinion to get moded down!

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597308)

Actually, Jews were discriminated against in the USSR at that time (it was semi-official policy). So he might have felt the effects of this discrimination. Or his parents did.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

kaaposc (1515329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597518)

Yeah, so discriminated that many of them comfortably stayed in The Party.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597078)

No kidding. When I was 6, I was well aware that relations between the US and USSR weren't at their best and what that entailed.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597122)

Fuck you, you fucking asshat. Life is not as heroic as in Schindler's fucking list, neither has it anything to do with the golden spoon that fed the american white presidents when they grew up.
When I was 5 year old I visited my father in a communist gulag. My mother's courageous presence was all I never need to cope with this stupid environment.
Kids have enough imagination and positivity to withstand any stress, provided the people who accompany them are responsible and know how not to show their fear to the ones they love.
Now, that oppression is nothing like the one the Palestinian cope with as seeing armed people kill their relatives and destroy their lives sure is something else that most Chinese (including the Tibetans) or Russians ever felt.
Stop taking the Communists for the scum of that Earth, at this moment, the US and Israel are.

Had that fucking Brin had the education he claims to have, he'd switch google.il instead of .cn, THAT'd be decent.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (5, Interesting)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596852)

Good on Sergey & Google. To those clods who will joke about how a six year old can be influenced let me just say I remember when the Berlin Wall was erected. I was six years old and although I don't remember the political details I vividly recall seeing a front page photo in the Detroit News that showed what Woodward Avenue (the main street in downtown Detroit) would look like if the Wall had been built right down the center. It scared the crap out of me then even without knowing why and it remains an image that has stayed with me. Of *course* Sergey was affected.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597090)

Good on Sergey & Google. To those clods who will joke about how a six year old can be influenced let me just say I remember when the Berlin Wall was erected. I was six years old and although I don't remember the political details I vividly recall seeing a front page photo in the Detroit News that showed what Woodward Avenue (the main street in downtown Detroit) would look like if the Wall had been built right down the center. It scared the crap out of me then even without knowing why and it remains an image that has stayed with me. Of *course* Sergey was affected.

Indeed; I was only about 7 when it fell & I remember seeing it on the news & being very happy. Obviously at 6 years old, I had no idea of the significance of the falling of the wall, but I sure as hell was able to absorb the atmosphere here in the UK. Both the highs and lows would have been amplified on the other side of the iron curtain.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597102)

I was around the same age when the wall fell, and I distinctly remember the scenes on TV of people scaling it, pulling it apart and so on.

I didn't really understand why the wall existed, what it was for, or even geographically at that age, where it was in relation to me. Despite that, I still have images in my memory of those scenes when it fell, because for some reason I too knew it was an important moment. This is despite the fact I was in the UK, a country where such an event had no noticable direct effect on me at that age.

I suspect it was even more prominent for Brin, because that sudden change, from living in the USSR, to living in America where suddenly things he probably wasn't allowed to do, places he'd never seen before, foods and products he never experienced in the USSR, and probably even the types of programs shown on TV that weren't shown in the USSR suddenly became commonplace. I agree with you, a kid is bound to notice such a drastic change in their life even at an age that young, and even if the reality of what that change was about doesn't bite until they get older.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (3, Insightful)

avatar_charlie (1633965) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597354)

Yeah, but most of those people are probably joking because Sergey and his company have "come to Jesus" on this issue a little late to be claiming the moral high ground.

While I do applaud Google for finally realizing that promoting freedom (the real kind, not the jingoistic hoo-rah kind) is the only profitable path long-term, I must also remain cognizant of the fact that Google seems to have run down every other blind alley before finding the right one.

So now Sergey is "following his conscience" after considering childhood experiences, eh? Good. I hope that's true. It would've been better, though, had he done so from the outset.

As an aside, I've always wondered in Brin's family's case how a gifted mathematician just waltzes out of Soviet Russia in 1979, only to resurface in Maryland out of all the 50 states, and his wife with a US Government job, at that! Somehow, I doubt this is "just how it worked out". (Cue the Yakov Smirnov jokes in 3....2....1....)

So yeah, Sergey, Larry, and Dr. Strangelove could've considered not cooperating/collaborating with the Chinese a long time ago, and that would've been alright with me. Odd that it took him so many years to remember what living under an oppressive regime felt like. I didn't know money caused amnesia.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (5, Informative)

Denial93 (773403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597430)

I lived a few hundred meters from the Berlin wall and even before I entered school I had heard of people who had been shot there. My dad was imprisoned for political reasons when I was four. In first grade, I was threatened into entering the Pioniere [wikipedia.org] ideological youth organization.

These events not only made an impression, they are among my most dramatic, and hence vivid, memories from that age. Whoever thinks little kids don't get oppression doesn't have a fucking clue.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596854)

Even a 6 year old will notice the long line at the grocery store, or empty shelves due to rationing, or neighbors disappearing into prisons because they said the wrong thing. That was the situation that existed inside the Soviet Socialist Republics.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (3, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597196)

Except, of course, those things didn't happen in USSR since 50's.

By the way, "Americans don't have long lines in the grocery stores!" was a major propaganda point in late 80's when former Communist politicians tried to paint US as the model for the "new direction" of their country. A lot of people actually believed that US has no lines at the checkout -- the only kind of "line in the grocery store" one would find in Russia in 80's. Personally, when I arrived in US, I was *SHOCKED* to see that in this particular aspect US and USSR had exactly the same kind of parity one would expect in nuclear weapons.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (3, Insightful)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596950)

Mr. Brin lived in the Soviet Union until he was nearly 6 years old, and he said the experience of living under a totalitarian system that censored political speech influenced his thinking — and Google’s policy.

"Political speech" didn't directly influence him aged six, but the country, culture and attitude a lack of it created apparently did. Moreover, nothing in his comment claims he understood it was influencing him at the time... but it's perfectly reasonable that as a grown man with a clearer understanding of both politics and civil liberties, he would think back to his childhood experiences, combine that with what he now knows of the political situation at the time, and come to conclusions regarding the reasons for his childhood experiences.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597018)

Dude, the guy is a Jew. What do you want to bet he even remembers Hitler and the Holocaust?

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (5, Informative)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597036)

Ha!

Ha? At 6 I was already politically influenced during the Nicaraguan civil war of the 60's and 70's. Totalitarian systems, specially under Communism and Nazism knew the power of political indoctrination of kindergarten kids and first graders.

Another concrete example from my country was after the Sandinista take-over. A common tactic for politically-blessed kindergarten/first grade teachers of the time was to do the following every so often at the start of a class:

Teacher: Ok kids, do you believe in God?
Kids: Yeaahhhh!
Teacher: Do you want candy?
Kids: Yeaaaah!
Teacher: Why don't we pray God for a candy?
Kids would close eyes and pray for a candy
Teacher: Did God give you candy?
Kids: No.
Teacher: Why don't you ask me for candy?
Kids: Teacher, can we have candy????

At that point, the so-called teacher would proceed to give candy followed by an explanation that God was the creation of the oppressive classes, and how the revolution takes care of the proletariat, that they should report their parents if they were counter revolutionaries, that counter revolutionary are dogs and not people (yeah, they'd teach that to 5-6 year old kids), that the Americans were evil and that they would come to kill you if you don't help the revolution (at this point kids have their eyes open wide and you have to ask yourself what kind of animal would say such things to a little kid)... and shit like that... every fucking day of class...

... and sometimes they would see someone is no longer in the neighborhood because he was taken away for being a counter revolutionary with party-blessed graffiti vandalizing the home of such a person.

Say "ha" as you please. You will neither understand the impact these things can have on 5-6 year old kids nor appreciate their ability to capture, understand and reason under such repressive regimes if you have never experienced it.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597136)

Teacher: Ok kids, do you believe in God?
Kids: Yeaahhhh!
Teacher: Do you want candy?
Kids: Yeaaaah!
Teacher: Why don't we pray God for a candy?
Kids would close eyes and pray for a candy
Teacher: Did God give you candy?
Kids: No.
Teacher: Why don't you ask me for candy?
Kids: Teacher, can we have candy????

At that point, the so-called teacher would proceed to give candy

I wish teachers would do that everywhere. It lays the foundations for the scientific method (hypothesis testing based on evidence), instills a healthy skepticism and weakens the base of religious fundamentalists...

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597464)

Yes, instilling "healthy skepticism" by perverting the nature of God and religion is just what our kids need. Nothing is worse than ignorant athiests and science fundies that neither understand or appreciate the roles of religion in our society.

Re:Politial speech influenced 6 yrs old chid. (1, Flamebait)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597292)

You will neither understand the impact these things can have on 5-6 year old kids nor appreciate their ability to capture, understand and reason under such repressive regimes if you have never experienced it.

Of course he can! He's read 1984! He read about Parsons' child reporting him for talking against the party in is sleep! He can trot out the line "1984 was a warning, not a manual!" and quote the script verbatim, which makes him a formidable political opponent!

</sarcasm>

Good on Google (1, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596770)

It's nice to see a company take an ethical stand and stick to it.

Re:Good on Google (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596946)

It's nice to see a company take an ethical stand and stick to it.

... and then turn their ethics around 180 degrees after getting hacked and stick with that. For a while, anyway.

For the moment the compass needle is pointing the right way, so I guess we should approve of that.

How much free speech do you need at aged 6? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31596772)

Must have left an real impression having the Cat in the Hat censored

Re:How much free speech do you need at aged 6? (0, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596800)

Seriously. He was SIX. And I don't think his family was living in the lower economic levels. It's like Madonna visiting Africa and saying "I know how it is... I FEEEEEL for the little Africans..."

Re:How much free speech do you need at aged 6? (5, Insightful)

prayag (1252246) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596970)

You obviously haven't lived in a totalitarian country. My girlfriend is from a Soviet-Era-communist country. She was very young when the communist regime was repelled but she has distinctive memories of the era, how you could only get state television channel, how going abroad was almost impossible, how it was impossible to get foreign made goods, how the country was everything and criticizing the country was frowned upon. In addition, please remember that Antisemitism in Soviet Union was a de-jure policy after WW2. Also remember, that Sergey Brin's parents were academics, which made them an active target of the government. If you live not under a fear of the government but also under the fear of a government openly hostile to your community and your parents are marked people, it makes a pretty damn good impact on your childhood. In addition, do you think as a child his parents would've never talked about their life in Soviet Union ? These are the experiences that shape your thinking. Just because he was young doesn't mean he doesn't know how it was.

Re:How much free speech do you need at aged 6? (2, Funny)

drsquare (530038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597094)

Also remember, that Sergey Brin's parents were academics, which made them an active target of the government.

Under the Soviet bloc, you didn't become an academic unless you supported and abetted the government. It's likely that Brin's parents were part of that totalitarianism, that they enjoyed favoured status by reporting dissidents etc.

Re:How much free speech do you need at aged 6? (2, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596984)

I think you mean Comrade in the Bubushka!

Re:How much free speech do you need at aged 6? (2, Interesting)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597098)

Must have left an real impression having the Cat in the Hat censored

How much free speech do you need at age 6? How about being free of saying that your parents are Jewish, or that your parents are, say novelists or scientists or whatever who happen to be censored by the party without having your teacher telling you to shut up (at best) or sending you into the corner because your parents are traitor, counter revolutionary, dogs or some other shit while all the other kids laugh at you (at worst)?

Seriously man. That is a really stupid question.

Re:How much free speech do you need at aged 6? (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597314)

How much free speech do you need at age 6? How about being free of saying that your parents are Jewish, or that your parents are, say novelists or scientists or whatever who happen to be censored by the party without having your teacher telling you to shut up (at best) or sending you into the corner because your parents are traitor, counter revolutionary, dogs or some other shit while all the other kids laugh at you (at worst)?

Seriously man. That is a really stupid question.

Those things wouldn't be censored in USSR.

One would have to to try to publish something in the range between "Capitalism is good" and "Communists eat babies" to actually notice that there is actually a censor somewhere. Of course, some people did just that, but none of them were six years old.

Anger? (3, Interesting)

mahiskali (1410019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596788)

Seems like the Chinese government may be winning here. They clearly are great at enticing (forcing?) a sense of nationalism and pride [bbc.co.uk] in their people. Amazing how quickly some are turning on Google as if this is entirely their own fault and doing. Now we wait to see if the US Government tries to step in...oh what a show this is becoming.

Re:Anger? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596880)

Why are you surprised?

The People are the product of the Government schools, and the schools have been teaching them that government is good and government knows best. Naturally most of them will side with with the government.

Re:Anger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597364)

Funny, your comment could be applied to just about any country, the USA in particular. Are you advocating privatizing education? Perhaps you advocate private health insurance too because we don't want the people to be beholden to the government for everything in life (except, apparently, American Democratic Politicians who passed legislation that the majority of it's people didn't want)

Then again, all we could be seeing is something as simple as Patriotism. You know, some people just love their country and will stick up for it regardless of their countries involvement. This idea is also clearly seen throughout many countries without having to claim "brainwashed".

Re:Anger? (3, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596894)

The Hong Kong move pretty much nukes that strategy. Now China is allowing access to some of its citizens, but not others. Google is not at fault for the blocking.

Re:Anger? (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596910)

Seems like the Chinese government may be winning here.

To me it seems like we are winning some of our respect back. I'm glad that a company like Google makes a stand. Do no evil means a lot more now.

Re:Anger? (3, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597000)

You could see the same thing about the protestors that interrupted the torch carrying ceremonies prior to the Beijing olympics. Most chinese didn't view those as a criticism of the their government, but as an attach on chinese people. To say that Americans are used to people criticizing the U.S. government is an understatement, but this is not so in China. I'm tempted to chalk a lot of it up to the immersive indoctrination and political thought control that goes on in China, e.g. every Chinese college student has to take Mao Ze Dong thought, Deng Xiaoping thought, as well as military tactics and strategy. However, there's also a deep seated insecurity in the Chinese people -- for some reason they can easily interpret criticism of their government as a criticism of them. I can't tell if that itself is due to propaganda campaigns waged by the government or what though. Sometimes the U.S. government does this too, e.g. when G.W. Bush & Co painted anyone who criticized the attacks on Iraq as an unpatriotic traitor, including places like France, but also U.S. citizens.

Re:Anger? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597080)

Now we wait to see if the US Government tries to step in...oh what a show this is becoming.

Huh? Why would the US government have any interest, whatsoever, in getting involved in this little spat? I can see absolutely no reason why the US government would do that, and at least one good reason not to: they'd just end up looking like nosy assholes who just can't seem to stay out of other people's business.

Re:Anger? (3, Insightful)

mahiskali (1410019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597238)

What I mean stems from this: "On April 15, the US Treasury will be required by law to issue a report naming countries deemed to be “currency manipulators.”" [csmonitor.com] .

If the report names China as a currency manipulator that creates vast trade deficits to benefit their economy (which, for all intents and purposes, they are [google.com] ), you can bet the Chinese government will lash out and claim we are protecting and siding with our corporations.

Re:Anger? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597282)

Ahh, your post was rather misleading, then. :) Your phrase "step in" seemed to imply that the US government would somehow get directly involved in the Google-China spat, and I really don't see that happening.

However, I *do* think there's a good chance that the US will finally point out China's blatant currency manipulation, as momentum for that has been building for some time, both domestically and internationally.

Re:Anger? (4, Informative)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597162)

> Now we wait to see if the US Government tries to step in...oh what a show this is becoming.

Granted Slashdot is tech oriented but you can't look at the Google episode in isolation and expect to understand the entirety of it. Grievances with China have been building for a decade now. Things changed drastically when the Chinese insulted Obama during his trip to Beijing last November and they followed it up by publicly embarrassing him when they sunk the Copenhagen accords a month later. Eyes were opened and whatever goodwill between the Obama administration and China evaporated. The two countries may make token efforts to get along where they can but things have fundamentally changed and it has to do with much bigger economic issues than just Google.

Put the Google stuff (which first emerged shortly thereafter) in this context. People can argue endlessly about whether Google is being hypocritical on flip-flopping on censorship. It is besides the point. The real issue here is corporate espionage, fair play in Chinese market, trade issues, etc.

The next big thing is due out on April 15th. No, not your taexs. The Treasury department is due to release its biannual report on cheating trade nations. Even though China should have been on that list semi-permanently for a decade or more the US has always allowed them to slide. The big question is whether they allow it again this time. If China goes on the list it the first step to trade sanctions and possibly tariffs on Chinese goods. If you read the new lately China is screaming bloody murder and throwing every smoke bomb in their arsenal out to the press.

So yeah, this show is becoming interesting but it going to be much bigger than Google.

Re:Anger? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597552)

I think google is the winner too. They may have lost their market in China, but they might have strengthened their image in out side China, especially US, where Bing was emerging.

I get the feeling.... (5, Insightful)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596790)

I get the feeling this whole showdown is a Larry and Sergey thing. And that Eric Schmidt is against it, and probably the rest of the board is as well. They would rather be pusillanimous like John Chambers and just make as much money off China as possible, even if it means aid and abet totalitarianism and not standing for anything except quarterly share price (again: see John Chambers).


I applaud refusing to censor information on the internet, this is a line in the sand they have drawn, to perhaps 'do no evil' and in Slashdot spirit we should all be behind it....

Re:I get the feeling.... (0, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596822)

Yerrrs. You get the part that Google did censor quite happily, up until the point that China pwned them? Funny how they only re-discovered their lofty principles after being publicly assraped.

Re:I get the feeling.... (4, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596976)

Funny how people are spinning this as if telling the second most powerful government on Earth to go fuck itself is the desperate act of an injured victim.

I challenge you to find evidence that they were ever happy with the terms that allowed them to operate in China.

Re:I get the feeling.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597194)

And unlike Yahoo & Microsoft, even when operating in China they never provided details of Chinese clients to the government.

Re:I get the feeling.... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596868)

pusillanimous

Ok, so I consider myself in possession of a decent vocabulary, and yet I'd never heard of this word. For those that are like me, it means "cowardly, timid, faint of heart, or lacking courage".

A lot of people claim Chambers is at fault for the GFWOC, but I don't know (seriously, I don't know) if that's accurate, as I am guessing there was a lot of pressure from the board (remember, he's only the CEO, if the Board tells him to jump monkeyboy jump he gets to.) due to financial reasons, to accept the contract to make it.

I think that says less about Chambers than it does the Board.

But I could be wrong. Maybe I am. I'm sure someone on here will correct me if I am. ;)

Re:I get the feeling.... (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597408)

Pusillanimous... couldn't we shorten that to something simpler?
Pussy perhaps?

Re:I get the feeling.... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596906)

I would stay in the Chinese market too. But I'd use it as an opportunity to educate: "This page blocked by your government. Go here to sign a petition to have the block removed: [link]"

Comply with the law, but bend the rules as much as possible so that maybe, in 10-20 years, the censorship will be lifted from google.com searches.

Flavors of oligarchy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597262)

I get the feeling this whole showdown is a Larry and Sergey thing. And that Eric Schmidt is against it, and probably the rest of the board is as well. They would rather be pusillanimous like John Chambers and just make as much money off China as possible, even if it means aid and abet totalitarianism and not standing for anything except quarterly share price (again: see John Chambers).

A bunch of corporate weasels teaming up with a clique of totalitarian oligarchs to make money, sounds like a marriage made in heaven. Every time one of these obscenely rich Americans gets an attack of idealism and starts talking about freedom, liberty and his love of democracy It makes me laugh. The US is no more of a democracy than China, it's a plutocracy ruled by a clique of wealthy oligarchs and corrupt politicians just like China is. The only difference is the mechanisms of control and the fact that the US maintains a veneer of democracy for the sake of tradition. FWIIW the same applies to most of Europe as well.

Re:I get the feeling.... (2, Insightful)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597400)

I too agree with Google's decision to back out of mainland China until the regime decides to grant greater freedoms on information for their people.

You have to take a stand for something. I think that this is a honorable position for Google to take and it improves my opinion of them as a company and of the executives who are going to catch the flack from investors over their decision.

A five year old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31596792)

Mr. Brin lived in the Soviet Union until he was nearly 6 years old, and he said the experience of living under a totalitarian system that censored political speech influenced his thinking — and Google’s policy.

So, he's saying a five year old understands the political system he's living under and its ramifications? A 5 year old?

I'd like to know what about the system made its mark on ..a five year old.

When I was five the only thing I was concerned about was getting home from school and playing.

Re:A five year old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597050)

And that's why you aren't doing anything anyone cares about.

Re:A five year old. (1)

elnyka (803306) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597118)

Mr. Brin lived in the Soviet Union until he was nearly 6 years old, and he said the experience of living under a totalitarian system that censored political speech influenced his thinking — and Google’s policy.

So, he's saying a five year old understands the political system he's living under and its ramifications? A 5 year old?

I'd like to know what about the system made its mark on ..a five year old.

When I was five the only thing I was concerned about was getting home from school and playing.

Did you live in the Soviet Union? Ever lived in a place like that?

Re:A five year old. (5, Insightful)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597246)

For a children it is about living in fear, not about politics. You do not understand this because you have always lived in a protected society, and your parents were never in fear for their lives, so they raised you accordingly. It is hard to relate unless you have lived through something similar.

I grew up under a military dictatorship when a kid, and I still remember my parents explaining what a curfew was to me when I was 3 or 4 years old, and me not been able to sleep at night because hearing shooting, bombs going out, and people yelling on the street. To this day, I am afraid of the police and to publicly express my political opinions. I even though 10 times before posting this under my name and not as AC.

Sergei's experience may not have been as bad, but a 5 year old understands fear and censorship, and believe me, once you've been there, you deal with it all your life. Good for him for standing up.

Re:A five year old. (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597316)

I remember Martin Luther King's assassination, although granted I as *only* seven. I was walking down the street with my mom, and I read a hand lettered sign tacked to a telephone pole calling for revenge against white people. My mom explained that when something bad happens, somebody is bound to get mad and make things worse for everyone.

It made a big impression on me, and I certainly recalled that moment three decades later when I turned on my radio on the morning of September 11, 2001.

What I want to know is... (5, Insightful)

Johnny Fusion (658094) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596802)

Why did Google initially agree to censor search results in the first place if this was their philosophy? I am certain they have made money in China, they would not have gone there for altruistic purposes of giving China good search results and web based email if there was not profit in it. Sure they have the philosophy "Don't Be Evil" but they got in bed with China to do business there. Only after the Aurora Exploit did they finally say enough is enough. Taking an anti-censorship stance only AFTER the Aurora attacks makes it seem retaliatory to me. They got a bruised eye from the neighborhood bully and then after playing along fine for quite some time decided they wanted to pick up their ball and go home. I would have been more impressed if Google uncensored their search results from the beginning instead of reacting to overt actions from China to their bottom line.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596922)

I am pretty sure all was well right up until Chinese hackers pwned their stuff. As soon as that happened, the gloves came off.

I'm envisioning a fight similiar to Rocky 4...except Mick is fighting instead of Rocky, and his opponent is Ludmilla Drago instead of Ivan Drago.

Or something. It's either that, or like the Grinch, Brin found that tiny little heart beating inside his chest and did a "heel-turn". ;)

Re:What I want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597192)

actually, if you RTFA when the hacking first came to light you would have read that Google said it was VERY uncomfortable doing business with China in the first place because of the Chinese govt demands but after deliberation they decided that it was still in the best interests of the Chinese people to move forward and comply with the filtering. From a pure business perspective this obviously made sense to them too, but they certainly did not go into China without regard for their morals which have now been thrust into the limelight, as suggested by previous posters.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597304)

What article? Slashdot doesn't link to articles, do they?

Re:What I want to know is... (5, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597182)

Why did Google initially agree to censor search results in the first place if this was their philosophy?

Because Google isn't a monolithic entity with a singular set of unified values? Instead, it's an organization of individuals, with varying viewpoints, and those individuals will wield different levels of power at different times.

In this particular case, my money is on Schmidt and the board overriding Larry and Sergei on the censorship issue based on the obvious business case of moving into China. Plus, they may have been able to rationalize the move by telling themselves that they might be able to do some good in the country by operating there (many people who criticize Google for threatening to leave China do so based on precisely this principle).

But now that there's an obvious business reason *not* to operate in China (the threat of being hacked by individuals whose actions may or may not have been sanctioned by the government), Larry and Sergei find themselves in the position to steer Google, the organization, in a different direction.

At least, that's my read of the situation. But I'm obviously biased, in that I don't start off with the supposition that Google is a fundamentally evil, heartless, money-grubbing mega-corporation that's willing to do anything for a buck, as so many around here seem to think.

Re:What I want to know is... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597206)

I don't like to justify the actions of corporations. I think they all suck. But, if we can refer to Brin here, we all make mistakes from time to time, and make bad decisions. Sometimes, it takes something drastic to slap us in the faces. Making a bad decision is human. Making a stand afterwards and correcting it, is respectable. Compare this to other search engine companies. They are unlikely to ever take a stand as long as there is a dollar to be made. Again, not trying to say google is all good, but just that if a company tries to do better, that is rare these days, and should be kept in mind.

Re:What I want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597208)

They agreed to it because China is a huge and rapidly-growing market. A hundred years from now it will be either the largest or second-largest in the world, depending on how things go in India.

Google is a company. It exists to make profits. Brin and others can babble about "Don't Be Evil" all they like -- Brin may even be a true believer in that -- but ultimately it comes down to whether it's worth it for Google, financially, to stay in mainland China. Everything else is bullshit. End of story.

The only difference between Google and other companies on this is the hypocrisy.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597212)

Getting their foot in the door, maybe?

Or possibly the result of an internal power shift within Google. Plenty of sources have indicated that there are mixed opinions within Google on the issue.

Re:What I want to know is... (0, Troll)

KingJoshi (615691) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597328)

It's like being friends with a bully and joining the gang. You go around and help the bully. And then one day, the bully smacks you down in front of others reminding you he's the leader. Only then do you call the bully out for his aggressive nature. It's complete fucking BS and the fact that so many are buying the story is pathetic.

However, having said that, I'll add that I am one of the few that think China is in the right. China still have a lot of poor people but they're developing rapidly. The last thing it needs right now is a bunch of tea-bagger like idiots protesting the government. The people don't need others to cause unrest or impede growth. Contrary to most Americans, most Chinese value stability and economic progress to certain liberties. Obviously, with as big a population as China has, even a small percentage of people that prioritize liberty would still number in the tens of millions. But life isn't fair and it sucks to be them. Hopefully they can find some form of happiness in their lives.

Re:What I want to know is... (3, Informative)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597446)

There has been a history of officials over there going "We have these rules but we can negotiate and work out what is necessary for you to come and do business here". Although it isn't new or exclusive to China to have a government just change the rules out from under people or companies "just because" some of the scales are quite egregious. So I wouldn't be surprised if Google says "We like to come to China but censored searches messes with our technology" while their government said "We have our differences for the moment but setup shop here and we can work it out later". Later is now here and it didn't help they have a hunch where the hacking attacks are coming from....

I wonder if the best idea is for Google to stay in China but make it super apparent what is going on. When one access google.(country code) they should see the usual localized Google. When one access google.cn, they should see "Results Filtered" immediately below. Click on that and get a brief, exact, and legal citation explaining why the quality of service is effected. The Chinese net users won't be in favor of Google's actions unless they are aware of how it effects them. If they can't show them what they are missing, the next best thing is to let them know they are missing out where the worst would be pulling the plug.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597566)

Well, not only were they apparently hacked; but, they were (their data was) being used to find information on potential dissidents. This may have pushed too far beyond what they initially considered an acceptable bending of their principles.

6 years old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31596810)

Because @ 6 years old you have such a wealth of life experiences to draw on. At 6, your whole world is controlled, and everything feels like something you cannot do, even if you live in the US. Its called being a kid.

Re:6 years old? (0, Offtopic)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597170)

Yes, because everything that effects your thinking only happens to you personally at 6, no bad things could have possibly happened to family members and friends?

what Brin really learnt from the USSR... (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596832)

...was that there's always someone who ends up controlling the flow of information, so that someone might as well be you.

Did Brin remembered (1, Insightful)

Exitar (809068) | more than 4 years ago | (#31596942)

he lived in Soviet Union until he was nearly 6 years old only after some guy from China cracked some Gmail accounts?
Chinese government surely was fine before that accident because Google censored results without thinking twice about it!

Re:Did Brin remembered (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597124)

First off, for the love of jesus, do you *really* have to start your sentences in the subject line? Because that's not cool or nifty. It's just plain fucking annoying.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand...

Did Brin remembered he lived in Soviet Union until he was nearly 6 years old only after some guy from China cracked some Gmail accounts?

No, more likely Larry and Sergei were overruled during the initial move into China by Schmidt and the board. Then following the hacks, suddenly they found themselves in a position where they could steer the company in a different direction, as they could provide a legitimate business case why the company shouldn't remain there.

Bullshit (3, Insightful)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597024)

"Yes, business is personal, especially these days." Right. Google was losing market share in China. I bet that if it wasn't, business wouldn't have gotten anywhere near being "personal".

And what's that special "experience" of a totalitarian regime a child can get from the moment he's born up to 6 years old? Please.

A corporation's goal is to increase its profits & market shares. Trying to make it pass as some kind of moral authority is at best a marketing trick for image polishing, and at worst utter hypocrisy.

Re:Bullshit (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597232)

Maybe it was just the final straw? Companies are run by people and can be tolerant of things. However, only up until a point. Until someone finally perked up in a meeting saying 'Why are we dealing with this? It goes against our ideals?'

Hindsight is 20/20 and what seems like an excellent idea today is tomorrows 'what were we thinking'.

I would be willing to bet that '6yr old' memories are actually more his parents influence. They did grow up under it. I am sure every time something got better they spoke up about it. Kids DO listen (doesnt mean they act properly with that information) and if you think otherwise your in for a special surprise in life.

You also have apparently never had to 'pleasure' to work with someone where it is personal. THEY do take it personally. It is their life (they live it and breath it 24/7). They feel 'they' are the company. Piss them off and they will have their company do something to you. Help them out and they will have their company help you in some way. The company is an extension of who they are. Why do people set up corporations? Usually it is to divorce themselves of some sort of liability, or tax advantages. But it is still 'their company'. They will do with the company what they want. That is not always what shareholders want.

Re:Bullshit (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597256)

"A corporation's goal is to increase its profits & market shares."

This is, of course, by order of the US court system, and coincidentally a result of a similar attempt by Ford to use his corporation spread a certain ethical principle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_v._Ford_Motor_Company [wikipedia.org]

Re:Bullshit (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597428)

Except, of course, if you actually read *all* of the article, and not just the bits that confirm your beliefs, you'd see this bit:

The contested actions of Henry Ford that led to this decision can also be viewed as a conscious attempt to squeeze out his minority shareholders, especially the Dodge brothers, whom he suspected (correctly) of using their Ford dividends to build a rival car company. By cutting off their dividends, Ford hoped to starve the Dodges of capital to fuel their growth. In that context, the Dodge decision is viewed as a mixed result for both sides of the dispute. Ford was denied the ability to arbitrarily undermine the profitability of the firm, and thereby eliminate future dividends. Under the upheld business judgment rule, however, Ford was given considerable leeway via control of his board about what investments he could make. That left him with considerable influence over dividends, but not as complete control as he wished.

But that sounds a lot less black-and-white, doesn't it?

Re:Bullshit (4, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597362)

A corporation's goal is to increase its profits & market shares. Trying to make it pass as some kind of moral authority is at best a marketing trick for image polishing, and at worst utter hypocrisy.

Bullshit. Every corporation has a charter which outlines the goals of the organization. Many of those charters include a "public good" clause, which is why corporations are often large charity contributors (other than the obvious tax benefits).

There is absolutely *nothing* about the "corporation" structure that disallows moral behaviour, and there are many organizations out there that try to be good corporate citizens. Are those organizations in the minority? Maybe, I don't know. But your fundamental supposition that "A corporation's goal is to increase its profits & market share" and that "Trying to make it pass as some kind of moral authority is at best a marketing trick for image polishing" is complete crap.

Totalitarianism is not always bad (0)

buruonbrails (1247370) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597034)

Unfortunately for Google, totalitarian systems are very effective under some circumstances. For example, totalitarianism proved to be the most effective system during large-scaled wars and other dire conditions. Today's growth of Chinese GDP proves that it is more effective in current economical situation than either US or EU.
Don't forget, during the last twenty centuries, China had the largest economy on Earth for 18 centuries, and it always was totalitarian. Like it or not, it will soon regain its position as the largest economy on the planet. So, under the circumstances, it is Google who needs China to stay relevant in future, not vice-versa.

Nice and fresh. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597042)

Its nice and very refreshing to see that a company can take responsibility and not just hide behind the money. Right now we are building a society where nobody is to blame for anything and everybody hides behind "business reasons" as if that was an excuse for making decisions against good faith.

I applaud Google and i really hope this will rub off against other companies. Its time we pull our global economy out of the gutter and start acting like grown up people.

Moscow State University (-1, Flamebait)

Max_W (812974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597082)

His parents graduated the Moscow State University. They did not pay for their studies at all, not a penny. His parents are mathematicians.

Yes, the USSR was not too nice a place, its population is being traumatized by an ugly massive civil war, which is not over even by now, and WW2. But sometimes one could at least say "Thank you" for those good things.

No. Sergey says only bad things about his motherland. For example, he said that Russia is "Nigeria with snow". And here again, that he even in 6 years knew oppression (what cannot be true).

Psychologists advise keep away from individuals who hate their parents. I think this is about the same case. A shallow ungrateful, but lucky mushroom.

Re:Moscow State University (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597180)

This is just stupid. Do you think that the moment he moves away he becomes disengaged? No. His parents and family and the media all continue to have a profound impact through out the life of an individual. Do you think that children who flee war zones with their family are fine because they left as kids? Don't think so.

Re:Moscow State University (2, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597356)

Your post isn't interesting or insightful. It's simply crap.

Russia is a hellhole. There is no law at all beyond what you can get away with through bribes and connections. There is state-sponsored xenophobia, racism, and antisemitism... and last I remember the living conditions were about equivalent to the US in the 1940s... at the latest.

That's the way it's been for centuries, and it's unlikely to change now.

Re:Moscow State University (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597490)

All postcommunist countries are, when communism fell, it happened in name only, a lot of the former leaders are still in power or have puppets running the show, about paying for studies ... trust me getting to highschool in that time was hard, going to a university was something next to impossible, not every idiot was accepted like they are today, when you have the flash some money and presto.

Re:Moscow State University (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597376)

Psychologists advise keep away from individuals who hate their parents.

[[citation needed]]

Re:Moscow State University (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597444)

I've met it in this incredible book by by Dr. Clayton E. Tucker-Ladd "Psychological Self-Help" http://www.psychologicalselfhelp.org/ [psychologi...lfhelp.org] , which is available on-line.

This book at one point probably saved my life.

Re:Moscow State University (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597556)

I am from Romania, an eastern-european country. Recently, I talked with my 8-year old daughter about the communist regime here (yes, she's 8 years old, not 6... but she didn't even live one single day in communism).
I was totally impressed by the discussion. She didn't care much about the lack of food, chocolate, cartoons and whatnot. She was impressed by the fact that we weren't allowed to make jokes about our leader, and freely discuss anything. She repeatedly asked questions about the "personality cult" of the dictator, and basic freedoms... stuff like "what do you mean they opened your letters to read them? They are not allowed to do that!!!". The lack of freedom was clearly the thing that impressed her most, more than the basic deficiencies of life (that I would've expected to have more impact on her). So yes, I truly believe that that Mr. Brin knew oppression and that communism did have an impact on him. Not only from his own experience (at 6yr old you are not a clueless child anymore), but also through the tales of his parents.

As for the post above (MaxW) - that is a very fine example of very poorly understood patriotism. It's not patriotic to say nice things about your homeland, it's more patriotic to say true things. And to help change it for the better, maybe. Patriotism is not helping the leaders of the country, is helping the people. I would argue that mr. Brin already did more for the people in Russia than did Mr. MaxW (if we only consider the jobs Google created there) - I doubt that supporting the authoritarianism of Putin and the Russian oligarchy would be a patriotic thing for him to do.
(that is how I interpret the "Nigeria with snow" statement - it's about the political regime, not the inhabitants or landscape)

6 years old (3, Interesting)

raind (174356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597154)

Was he at 6 years even know where or what the politics of the country was? If so wow.

Re:6 years old (4, Interesting)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597536)

I could have modded, but I rather post on this one.

My first wife was from Czechsolvakia. At 6, she definitely knew the impact of the Communist regime she lived under. (I found out later her father was an honest to god Nazi Youth during the occupation. That is in part why they were so prosecuted by the Party)

I clearly remember the Nixon resignation which happened when I was 5, and the Carter administration/hyperinflation. (I can still recall hearing that at current rates bread would be $300 a loaf in 10 years, and I knew that was more than my parents mortgage)
I remember discussing both at length with my uncle, who I still have long political discussions with on a regular basis.

For some people, it is a integral part of our lives to pay attention to politics and social issues.

Yummy commie pablum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597188)

I see we still have a few slashdotters who haven't yet tired of the yummy commie pablum they grew up eating. Still longing for the good old days when they were the property of the state.

Mods read the whole thread carefully before you have a kneejerk reaction.

end of gun boat diplomacy? (1)

nerdyalien (1182659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597218)

It all started in a naive internet security incident (Gmail accounts getting hacked) and now it has gone to the extent of "free internet", "free speech". I don't see much connection between them.

In anyway, when British opium business was banned by then Chinese emperor, opium lords lobbied in British parliament to send the gun boats and take back the market. That's how HK became a British colony. Now that was 18th century!

Even though Hillary Clinton called for a probe on cyber attacks, so far US government didn't take any serious action to forcefully defend the search market in China for Google (or any other tech company) like British government did in opium war. I don't know Obama will take up this issue as Health Care is settling now.

But what I am wondering is... has the gun-boat diplomacy finally reached its end of road ?? With this Google vs. China incident, it seems like that.

+nigga (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31597322)

Google = United States (1, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31597326)

To China, Google might as well be an arm of the federal government. When Google does something, it's not one private company that did it, but all of America that did it. It's actually a quite frightening 19th century attitude. Mark my words, China will be the Germany of the 21st century. Recently unified, recently economically powerful, a deep sense of historical humiliation (the Opium Wars and the Eight Nations might just as well have existed yesterday and yes people really feel this way), and a government that views building the military as a method of gaining prestige in the world. HMS Dreadnought came about because of a Germany-inspired arms race at sea. China, very very much wants to humiliate America and have the world bow Obama-style and call China "teacher". You know how open source zealots seize every opportunity to trash corporations? Even the flimsiest excuse will do, and if they don't have an excuse they'll just make one up. This is what China is doing with Google. The story is that American companies are trying to pollute Chinese society with pornography and separatism, and they feel themselves above Chinese law. Of course, we just see a CEO grandstanding so he can feel good about himself and appear at awards dinners to accept "ethics" trophies. The real casualties in this mess are the other Americans who have to deal with the fallout. But screw them, eh, Sergey?
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