Google and Yahoo! vs China - The UpStream

Google and Yahoo! vs China

posted Saturday Jan 16, 2010 by Scott Ertz

Google and Yahoo! vs China

By now we all know that last month Google and about 20 other major companies in technology, finance and chemicals were victims of a cyber-attack unlike anything seen before. The culprit? Early investigations put the attackers in China, and all signs point to a calculated, specific attack from the government itself.

Google alone announced the attack to the media and told what had happened. According to the spokesperson, the attack included the theft of intellectual property, including source code for one or more of its products and access to the emails and searching habits of about 20 political activists.

Shortly after its singular announcement about the attack, Google announced that it no longer would filter its Chinese language search engine (Google.cn). This has been partially verified by our staff (sexual material still doesn't appear, but results for items such as democracy do). They also announced that if they cannot reach an agreement with China for legal unfiltered search results, they would leave the market entirely.

The day after Google's announcement, Yahoo said that they supported Google's decision. Yahoo, however, owns a 40% stake in a Chinese Internet company that supports the government and happily filters its content without being asked. This partner, Alibaba, was not too pleased with Yahoo's statement, feeling as if they were being attacked for their own policies.

Yahoo is not the only organization supporting Google. Even the US government has gotten involved in the investigation, including drafting a formal protest to the Chinese government, which will be delivered next week. Hillary Clinton has asked that the Chinese government explain what happened directly.

As of now, it is still business as usual at Google.cn and Yahoo China, but I can imagine we will see some pretty major changes start over the next 6 months.

What do you guys think? Is Google overreacting to the Chinese government or was this all coming for a long time?

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