Posts Tagged ‘Censorship

07
Jul
10

Google’s China webpage licence under review

NEWS
Google’s China webpage licence under review

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

••• Google Inc’s application to renew its Chinese Website license (Internet Content Provider license) is currently under review, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said yesterday.

But the ministry didn’t give a deadline for the license review.

It was the Chinese regulator’s latest response regarding the fate of Google China, which recently stopped redirecting automatically web searchers on China’s mainland to its Hong Kong site and applied to renew its license in the world’s largest Internet market last month.

“Google’s annual check-in is under way but there’s no detailed deadline for the result because its submission is relatively late,” said ministry spokesperson Wang Lijian.

The ministry is the body responsible for renewing and reviewing Internet content provider licenses.

Google shut down its mainland-based search engine on March 22 and rerouted users to its Hong Kong site.

It stopped the automatic redirect because regulators told the company its Internet license would not be renewed if it kept it going.

“We re-applied for the license at the end of last month and we are waiting for the results now,” said Marsha Wang, Google China’s spokesperson.

At present, only “music,” “translate” and “shopping” links, in Chinese, appear on the Google China webpage.

Visitors to google.cn will also see a tab that says, in English, “We have moved to google.com.hk.”

Clicking on that takes users to the Chinese-language site in Hong Kong.

Google clearly doesn’t want to give up the Chinese market, with more than 300 million netizens on the mainland. On the other hand, it has said it does not want to subject its Web searches to what it considers censorship under Chinese law.
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31
Mar
10

Google searches turn up empty

NEWS
Google searches turn up empty

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Internet users on the Chinese mainland who tried to conduct a Google search Tuesday most likely failed to obtain results while mobile services users reported partial blocking during the last two days.

Last week, users who attempted to use Google.cn were redirected to the Hong Kong website.

Users found out Tuesday that both the English site, Google.com, and the Chinese version of the search engine failed to return search results, although the homepages popped up.

AFP reported that its Shanghai reporter experienced no problems with the Google search engine.

But an Internet user in Shanghai said no search results came up.

The advanced search icon on both the English and Chinese sites were accessible.

A Google spokeswoman in Beijing told that they were aware of the problem but she was not able to say what caused it.

In the wake of Google’s decision to redirect Google.cn traffic to its Hong Kong website last week, Google also set up a website www.google.com/prc/report.html that was still accessible on the mainland Tuesday.

It provided daily status reports on the availability of its other popular services in China, including Doc, News, Mobile, Gmail, Blogger and Picasa service.

According to that website, Google’s search engine service on the Chinese mainland experienced “no issues” Tuesday but the mobile service was partially blocked on the mainland since Sunday.

The Google search engine on a reporter’s mobile phone, which uses Google’s Android mobile phone system, was working normally after it rerouted to Google’s Hong Kong sites in Wi-fi connections.

But Google search, maps and news service could not be accessed with the same mobile phone when it uses China Mobile GPRS data connection.
• Source(s): Xinhua News Agency & Global Times (China)
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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.

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24
Mar
10

Google’s withdrawal from China pushing itself into corner

NEWS
Google’s withdrawal from China pushing itself into corner

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

•••Google’s decision to stop censoring its Chinese search engine and redirect mainland users to its servers in Hong Kong was tantamount to pushing itself into a corner and ruining its image and interests, world media and experts say.

“If Google had hoped to rally rivals to its cause, it failed. If Google was planning to embarrass China by whipping up a global debate on Internet freedom, it failed,” the Financial Times wrote in an article published Monday.

China trade economist Derek Scissors of the U.S. Heritage Foundation called Google’s move to Hong Kong “pretty close to a complete exit” that will provoke Beijing and puts Google outside the firewall with regard to advertisers and other partners.

Russian newspaper Vedomosti said Google has completely burned all of its bridges in China behind it and is unlikely to ever return to the Chinese market.

Google, the world’s top search engine, held only an estimated 30 percent share of China’s search market in 2009, compared with home-grown rival Baidu Inc’s 60 percent. Official statistics put the number of netizens in China at 384 million by the end of 2009.

Michel Riguidel, head of the Department of Computer Science and Networks at Telecom Paris Tech, said all companies pay great attention to building their own images.

Google claimed that its image is based on freedom, information exchange and respecting human rights, but the fact is that it absorbs large amounts of personal information and does research on the information without getting agreements from web users, Riguidel said.

Izumi Harada, chief fellow of the Crisis and Risk Management Society of Japan, told Xinhua that there is no question that multinational companies should follow local laws while running their businesses in other countries.

Google has breached the commitment to observe Chinese laws and regulations that it made when entering China (four years ago), he said.

Jesse Wright, a leading expert of Institute Internet, told a Russian radio station that Google has been working in China since 2005 and knows the requirements of Chinese law.

“Compliance with the requirements of the Chinese was a condition of work in this market,” Wright said. “So, trying to force China to reconsider its own censorship requirements – be it Google or others – it seems to me untenable.”

Alexey Basov, CEO and co-founder of Begun, Russia’s largest contextual ad service, said if Google quits the Chinese market, it will be a major strategic loss for the company.

At about 3 a.m. Tuesday Beijing time, Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond made the “stop censoring” announcement in a blog post, saying “users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored searches in simplified Chinese.”

In reaction, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a routine media briefing that: “The Google case is just a business case and will not undermine China-U.S. relations unless someone politicizes the issue.”
• Source(s): Xinhua News Agency (China)
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24
Mar
10

Arguments over Google’s withdraw

NEWS
Arguments over Google’s withdraw

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

••• Google is also citing censorship in its withdrawal from the Chinese mainland market. Some netizens and experts say foreign companies should abide by the laws of the country.

Chinese Internet users and experts say abiding by the laws of the country is an established convention. They say all this applies to all companies, including Google.

A Chinese internet user said, “China has its own system and you have to abide by the laws in China if you want to do business in China. “

Shi Xiangsheng, Deputy Sec’y Gen., Internet Society of China, said, “The foreign Internet companies must promise to respect the local customs and laws when they start business in China. And it’s also the international convention.”

Google says another factor in the pull-out was attacks by hackers.

Shi said, “We are not quite clear about the hacker attack Google mentioned. But it did not appeal to the relevant regulator or ask the Chinese government to carry out investigations on the case. “

Some say it’s debatable that Google has completely withdrawn from China, as it transferred its search business to Hong Kong.
• Source(s): CCTV (China)
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24
Mar
10

Google in hot water

NEWS
Google in hot water

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

••• Google has recently been warned by several foreign authorities over its controversial services including Google news, Google street view, as well as the latest social network service Google buzz.

Last month, the European Union Commission said it had received various requests for anti-monopoly investigations regarding the Internet search giant. They claim Google has been filtering out its competitors on purpose in order to keep more advertisement profits.

In France, the government has formed a special team to investigate lawsuits filed by local media companies against Google. They accuse the company of profiting from their products without reimbursement. Another lawsuit was filed by Louis Vutton.

The luxury bagmaker said it has found links on Google’s website to pirated products. Italian authorities have also launched an anti-trust investigation against Google filed by the country’s print media.

Meanwhile, Google street view, which was introduced in 2007, has challenged privacy laws in Britain and Germany. Though the company has begun to obscure search results for human faces and car license plates, it is still frequently taken to court for violating privacy rights. Its latest social web service, Google Buzz, has also been accused of a privacy breach. The company was ordered by the Canadian government to explain privacy bugs, which have already triggered widespread complaints.

Google’s trouble seems to be everywhere. Recently Spanish telecom operator Telofonica accused the company of using free bandwidth for its own benefit. The company said it is considering charging Google for network use.
• Source(s): CCTV (China)
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