Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google to Quit China Operations?

Rather interesting development from Google about its operations in China. See their official blog here.

Basically some Chinese hackers have attempted to access account information via Gmail for Chinese human rights activists. These attacks also seem to have been launched via Taiwan, and so this news will sort of hit Taiwan in a negative way (just as China had earlier used a Taiwanese company as a conduit to ship parts/devices that may be used in nuclear weapons). Just goes to show how getting into bed business with China may not be the strongest and smartest move for Taiwan. Also, I believe I read comments that say that Google has already turned off filtering on its Google China website- the ball is in China's hands now.

Good commentary/analysis on this development at Michael Turton's Taiwan blog, as well as these two other tech blogs: Wordpress Marketing & Tipstech.info

I like the comments from Tipstech, hitting the key issue in my opinion:
I’ll give Google this much: They’re taking a bad situation and making something good out of it, both from a human and business point of view. I’m not saying human rights didn’t play into the decision, but this was as much about business. Lest we get too self-righteous as Westerners, we should remember three things:

Win-win situation for Google. I wouldn't be so naive as to think they are doing this purely on "principle" rather than "profit," but it sure does seem like it's a step in the right direction that neither the U.S. government or other Forture 500 Companies have/are willing to take in regards to China.

In other news, Taiwan maintains its "FREE" rating, given by the Freedom House, in it's 2010 Freedom in the World Report. The gist of the report on Taiwan is in these two paragraphs:

While Taiwan’s overall ranking remains unchanged from last year’s, it registers both gains and losses. In individual categories, its political rights rating improved from 2 in 2009 findings to 1 “due to enforcement of anticorruption laws that led to the prosecution of former high-ranking officials, the annulment of several legislators’ elections owing to vote-buying, and the investigation of over 200 candidates for alleged vote-buying in local elections.”

On civil liberties, however, the report indicates Taiwan’s rating suffered a decline from 1 to 2 because of “flaws in the protection of criminal defendants’ rights that were exposed during anticorruption prosecutions and a high-profile murder case, as well as a law that infringes on academic freedom by barring staff and scholars at public educational facilities from participating in certain political activities.”

No comments: