Google does the right thing, but…

Google is, as I type this, closing down its Chinese site as the first stage of its withdrawal of service from mainland China, in response to numerous attacks on the company’s computers from hackers allegedly connected to the Chinese state and ongoing demands to provide a censored service with which they felt they could not comply. The company claims that Chinese users will still be able to use Google, only through the special Hong Kong website,, which for historical reasons falls outside the Chinese state’s Internet control regime. Whether this will mean that the site will actually be accessible to Chinese Net users is debateable. Some say they cannot access it already. There are also numerous ‘fake Google’ sites that have sprung up to try to make some fast cash out of the situation.

But there’s more to this of course. Google has been widely reported to have opened its doors to the US National Security Agency (NSA) in order, they say, to solve the hacking issue, but the NSA only get involved in matters of US national security – if Google is essentially saying it is effectively beholden to US intelligence policy and interests, I am not sure that this is a whole lot better than bowing to China. You can be sure as well, that once invited in, the NSA will insinuate themselves into the company. Having a proper official backdoor into Google would make things a lot easier for the NSA, especially in populating its shiny new data warehouse in Utah

Author: David

I'm David Murakami Wood. I live on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and am Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies and an Associate Professor at Queen's University, Kingston.

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