Breaking Google’s Great Firewall of China
Google’s censorship of certain terms on Google China has led to a rather large argument of humanitarian freedoms and International Business. Google says that if they had not released a China friendly version of Google China, most of Google.com’s offerings would have been blocked anyway in the Chinese market.
Ex-Googler Doug Edwards even commented on the Xooglers blog :
“The whole China thing is mess of mythic proportion with no easy solution. It would be easy to damn Google for collaborating if I hadn’t seen how hard the company’s execs tried to find a creative way out of the box. The fact that they’re moving in to the world’s largest and most obvious growth market months, or even years, after their competitors speaks to the exhaustiveness of their efforts to find some alternative path.
I can attest personally to the passion with which this issue was debated within the company. Great concern was expressed for those in China who would know only a bastardized version of Google search and for the company’s employees who would be subject to the whims of the Chinese government if an official office opened there.”
Some companies however see the blocking of Google results by the Great Firewall of China as an opportunity to bring free speech into the nation. Mike McConnell writes about one such company, Dynamic Internet Technology, on his Kokonut Pundits blog:
Imagine the almighty Google with their famous “Don’t be evil” corporate motto refusing to bow down to U.S. Government pressure to release some random search data but were on hands and feet acquiescing to China’s overt, freedom busting search requirements? Something just doesn’t add up here.
Bill Xia of Dynamic Internet Technology Inc wrote in 2004 on the Chinese search engine query results that he and others have done for public release over the internet. Bill provided materials and tips on what web users to expect from using the Chinese Google version in doing searches when done inside and outside of China and how to avoid such firewall problems. Bill has a reason why he is doing this.
Bill Xia immigrated to the U.S. from China during the late 1990s. Over time he saw how the Chinese government kept a tighter and tighter control over Chinese web users inside China. And because of that frustration, he and few others started Dynamic Internet Technology as way to help Chinese users get around the Chinese’s firewall.
Mike compares the breaking of China’s firewall to that of the US sponsored pipeline of free information into Cuba. One problem with this position of McConnell and Dynamic Internet Technology is that Cuba may be an enemy of the US (although probably not for much longer), but China is a strong trading partner.
Now, if the U.S. Embassy can do the same thing in Cuba with a five-foot tall electronic message board up along the Embassy’s windows as the United State’s “pipeline” to spread the word of freedom and Democracy, why not show Chinese web users the same thing by giving them the tools and information they need to subvert the Chinese’s Google version via the internet? Here’s the link of an English version about Cuba’s “crisis” from China’s People’s Daily Online.
Perhaps the next step could be the dropping of durable solar powered $100 satellite Internet connected laptops with little parachutes over North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Iran. All jokes aside, Dynamic Internet Technology’s mission is a reminder that even though Google has launched a Chinese government friendly version of its search engine in the People’s Republic, free speech is still as accessible as the global citizens creating it.