Google vs. China: Round II

Enough is Enough: Tells China to quit interfering with Gmail

2 min read
Google vs. China: Round II

In January 2010, Google announced that it had discovered "a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China" that not only targeted Google, but at least 20 other major corporations as well. This attack - which also included an attempt to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists - led Google to review and then significantly reduce its business operations in China.

Since then, the Google-Chinese government relationship has remained distant but on the surface anyway, not overtly hostile. That relationship has apparently changed.

According to this story at Reuters, on Sunday Google accused China of interfering with Chinese user access to Gmail for the past few weeks. Google further accused China of disguising its actions in order to make it look like the access problems originated with Google. 

Quoting from the story, Google released a statement that in part said:

"There is no issue on our side, we have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail."

Google is not likely alone in having problems.

This New York Timesstory says that the Chinese government has cracked down hard on all forms of electronic communication since the troubles in the North Africa and the Middle East began. The thought is that China does not want the call for a "Jasmine Revolution" to spread.

China no doubt has noticed that a major activist in the Egyptian uprising was 30-year-old Wael Ghonim, a Google marketing manager.

In related news, an article last week in ComputerWorld noted that 130,000 illegal Internet cafes had been shut down by Chinese authorities over the past six years. The cafes are heavily regulated - and monitored - by the Chinese government.

The ComputerWorld story says that:

"Around a third of China's Internet population surfs the Web from Internet cafes. The Ministry of Culture said the number of Internet cafe users in China reached 163 million in 2010. The country's total Internet population stands at 457 million users."

ComputerWorld notes that half the Internet cafe users range in age from 18 to 25 - the same age group of many of the political activists in North Africa and the Middle East.

The Conversation (0)

Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

Keep Reading ↓Show less