31
Mar
10

Google blames China’s ‘great firewall’ for blocking searches

NEWS
Google blames China’s ‘great firewall’ for blocking searches

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Google’s search sites in China abruptly stopped working yesterday, but the explanation for the outage changed as the day wore on.

The Internet giant first blamed its own engineers, citing a technical glitch, but later reversed course and pointed to the heavy hand of China’s “Great Firewall” – even as service appeared to be back to normal.

The evolving explanation caught Google watchers by surprise and showed how fraught with confusion the relationship between China and Google remains.

The episode risks escalating their battle a week after Google stopped censoring its search engine in China.

Google struggled to discern the cause of the massive disruption, in which users received error messages for Google searches from China on the company’s Hong Kong-based search site, Google.com.hk.

Google began routing Chinese Internet users to its Hong Kong site last week as it said it would no longer comply with China’s censoring policies and wouldn’t run a censored Chinese search engine.

Later in the day, Google reversed itself, saying it had made those changes a week earlier.

“So whatever happened to block Google.com.hk must have been as a result of a change in the Great Firewall,” the company said.

Wang Lijian, spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, one of China’s main Internet regulators, said he was unaware of any Google disruption.

Any permanent blockage of Google’s searches by China would deal a sharp blow to the company’s hopes of continuing to operate part of its business in the country after dismantling its censored Chinese site.

Google said last week that it hoped to maintain its music search and maps services in China, along with sales and research-and-development operations.

Beijing has expressed anger at Google for publicly flouting its censorship regime, and a decision to block access to Google entirely has always been considered possible.

Many analysts have believed Beijing would stop short of that for fear of infuriating Google’s tens of millions of regular Chinese users, not to mention foreign businesses that require access to information.

Because Google censored its old Chinese site, Google.cn, in accordance with government rules, that site wasn’t filtered by the government’s firewall.

Its international sites, such as the Hong Kong one, have always been subjected to filtering, meaning that Chinese users’ searches of some sensitive terms like those related to the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests, the initials RFA, for Radio Free Asia, or even the names of top leaders might trigger an error message from the browser instead of a results page.

Share

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Google blames China’s ‘great firewall’ for blocking searches”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Calendar

March 2010
M T W T F S S
    Apr »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3 other followers

© Copyright 2010 Dominic Stoughton. All Rights reserved.

Dominic Stoughton's Blog

%d bloggers like this: