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Freedom of Speech

How Google and China are alike

Ever since Google announced it suffered a cyber-attack from China, Google's legendary PR machine has gone into overdrive, opportunistically framing the conflict as a good versus evil story, and positioning Google as the Internet's benign superpower defending free expresssion, and as a new kind of business that puts morality before money.   

  • Google understands it is easy to politically demonize China, because China's pervasive censorship and trampling of fundamental freedoms and human rights offend all freedom-loving people.

However, those willing to look behind the curtain of Google's self-serving political rhetoric here, will discover that many of the attributes that offend so many people about China, Google shares to an unfortunate extent.

  • Let's review four significant strategic similarities between Google and China -- brought to you in Google's own words.

First, Google's leadership, like China, has affirmatively chosen to not be democratically accountable.

Google's mixed messages on Internet freedom

Google continues to send very mixed messages to the world about Internet freedom.

While Google's PR machine has focused world attention on it's decision to stop censoring its search results in China, (which I commend Google for finally fulfilling), Google has downplayed its activist lobbying of governments around the world to mandate national net neutrality restrictions on the Internet.

  • Like a ten-year-old that plays with matches and starts a fire he can't control... Google has been lobbying foreign governments hard to preemptively restrict Internet behavior, but when China continued to restrict Internet behavior the way it always had, Google claimed to be shocked, shocked, that a nation would restrict the Internet in their own national way and for their own national purposes and not the way Google wanted them to restrict Internet behavior...

Think about it. Is there any more mixed message than Google asking a foreign government to mandate a restrictive national net neutrality law or regulation to preserve Google's "innovation without permission" ethos?

No freedom of speech in net neutrality movement? In defense of Ambassador Verveer

In a remarkably ill-advised and irresponsible blog post, Mr. Feld of Public Knowledge attacked the State Department's Ambassador Phil Verveer for apparently veering from the strict orthodoxy of FreePress/Public Knowledge's view of net neutrality. 

  • Ambassador Verveer was merely doing his job and speaking freely and forthrightly that other countries will obviously be watching what the FCC does, given that the U.S. has led communications-competition policy for two decades. 

First, everyone who knows Phil (and I have had the pleasure of knowing him for almost twenty years), knows Ambassador Verveer to be one of the most honorable, wise, measured, and capable professionals and public servants they know, period, full stop.

Second, it is exceptionally bad form and hypocritical for net neutrality proponents who claim the moral/ethical basis of net neutrality is all about Internet Freedom, Freedom of Speech, and that net neutrality is the First Amendent of the Internet, to quarter absolutely no dissent from the radical FreePress/Public Knowledge strict orthodoxy on net neutrality.

Google opposes public access to Viacom-YouTube filings -- Google's Discovery Risks -- Part I

A potential flood of very illuminating documents and information about the inner workings of Google are likely to be released soon by the Federal Court hearing Viacom's $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google-YouTube, despite strong Google opposition to the court's release of the information Viacom found in "discovery."

Big Brother 2.0: Google-NSA through foreigners' eyes

Today's New York Times front page story "Google's computing power betters translation tool" by Miguel Helft spotlights that Google arguably owns and operates "the world's largest computer." The article quotes a Google  engineering VP explaining that Google's unparalleled computing power enables Google to "take approaches others can't even dream of."

Combine the world's largest computer, with the best automated translation capability for most all of the world's top languages, with reports from the front page of the Washington Post that Google proactively sought help from America's top spy agency, the NSA, for its cyber-security vulnerabilities, and it is not surprising that foreigners would be growing increasingly wary of Google and the extraordinary potential power that Google holds over them. 

So what do foreigners increasingly see Google doing?

First, they increasingly see "The United States of Google," a term Jeff Jarvis coined in his book on Google. Shortly after Google publicly accused the Chinese Government of being behind or complicit in the cyber-attacks on Google:

Has Google increased its China censorship? Doesn't that violate the Internet's First Amendment?

New research from Piper Jaffray suggests that Google actually may have increased its censorship by ~30% in China since Google grand-standed on the world stage in January pledging that it would no longer censor search results on China.cn.  

Per Business Week's Blog, Piper Jaffrey' analyst Gene Munster: 

Did Google Over-React to China Cybersecurity Breach? -- "Security is Google's Achilles Heel" Part VII

It appears Google impetuously over-reacted to the big cyber-security breach of Google and a reported ~30 other companies. Google alone publicly blamed China and only Google publicly pledged to stop censoring search results in China in retaliation.    

What is the evidence that Google impetuously over-reacted here?

First, Forbes reported: "Researchers Call Google Hackers 'Amateurs' -- A new report says the attack on the search giants network was far less sophisticated than it has claimed." Specifically:

  • "A great play is being made about how sophisticated these attacks were," says Damballa's vice president of research Gunter Ollman. "But tracing back the attacks shows that they were not sophisticated, and that the attackers behind them have a history of running multiple botnets with a variety of tools and techniques," many of which, he says, were far more rudimentary than Google or the cybersecurity industry has portrayed."

People incorrectly assume that because of Google's popularity, brand and reputation for innovation, that Google is  secure and cutting edge on cyber-security -- when in reality they are not.

FreePress: The glass house stone thrower

The old adage, those in glass house should not throw stones could not fit FreePress better.

FreePress' Campaign Director Tim Karr is  

 

 

 

 

 

Will Google Stop Censoring Search Results in China per its Pledge? New GoogleMonitor.com Ticker

GoogleMonitor.com

For Immediate Release

February 22, 2010

Contact: Scott Cleland

703-217-2407

Media@GoogleMonitor.com

 

 

Will Google Stop Censoring Search Results in China per its Pledge?

GoogleMonitor.com Announces Google China Censorship Pledge Accountability Ticker

"Boldly Deceptive: FreePress' extreme agenda in their own words" -- great Americans for Prosperity report

Kudos to Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity for their spot-on report of quotes from FreePress that exposes what FreePress is really all about.

Their report shows, in FreePress' own words, that they are a dystopian nightmare masquerading as a public interest group protecting freedom of the press.

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths