February 1, 2010  

Google vs. China

TO GOOGLE for its faceoff with China over cyber attacks. Google senior management took the highly unusual step in January of telling China it would no longer continue censoring its results on Google.cn, as is required by Beijing. If the Chinese government insists that the search engine be filtered, Google says it will shut down Google.cn and potentially its offices in China. The move was prompted by cyber attacks on Google’s system that the company says originated from China. Like most companies seeking to do business in China, Google agreed at the outset to Beijing’s rules. What Google management is really telling the Chinese government is that it will no longer play ball if, despite honoring those rules, it is subjected to cyber attack. Google’s threat was a powerful and embarrassing punch at Beijing that would help counter the cyber menace if more companies have the courage to follow suit.