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What Happens to the Chinese Internet Without Google?

Chinese Internet Without Google

With much dismay with government policies, giant internet companies like Google, Yahoo!, and GoDaddy have pulled services from mainland China. These have been bold moves by companies that cite that Chinese policies have made offering services there difficult. The moves happened near the onset of 2010 and have left China shouting, “totally wrong.”

What Spurned these Moves?

The biggest news was about Google and its decision to start refusing to censor its search results services. Google stated that Chinese government officials placed strict rules on what information could be presented to Chinese search users. One of the biggest issues is the human rights topic which China still refuses to acknowledge as a problem.

Currently, China blocks popular worldwide internet services such Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. While Google has pulled its service center out of mainland China, it is still operating in China through its Hong Kong unit. With this operation it can avoid censoring its search results. The question is, how long will it take for China to block Google completely?

When Google entered the Chinese market in 2006 it agreed to purge information and results about specific and certain topics. Now it has refused that agreement by moving out of Chinese restrictions and offering un-filtered content to all of China. This move was also a result of a sophisticated hack job into Google’s mainframe in China that revealed sensitive proprietary information.

China represents the largest internet user base with over 400 million web users. With such a large user base there is no question that China is still a target for foreign software and internet service-based companies. However, the policies that shape how business is run in China must change.

Facing a Crossroad

The refusal of Google to comply with government censorship and other companies pulling its business out of China completely means that internet companies are at a crossroads. There is great debate whether an internet company should even be offering services in a country with very questionable and human rights and censorship rules.

Though there are some American laws that help address the problem and protect American businesses that operate in foreign countries, there is not strict legislation that provides clear instruction and rules to operation do’s and don’ts. One U.S. Representative, Chris Smith (R-NJ), is calling for a bigger U.S. role. He has proposed legislation that calls out foreign governments that restrict access to the web. He also wants the State Department to publish an annual list of “internet restricting companies,” and require U.S. based companies to properly notify the U.S. government before complying with strict foreign internet policies such as those found in China.

While the China internet market is a savory size for web-based companies, the ability to operate freely, offer reliable services, and even make a profit are questionable. With the publicity generated from GoDaddy and Google there is no question that China will have to answer for its policies. If it wants to play in an international internet pool, it will have to release some of its filtering restrictions and concede that information found on the internet is and should remain unrestricted and uncensored.

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    4th June 2010
    Posted by Web Hosting Consultant in Web Hosting News

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