I pulled together a page of references on the Google China issues, beginning with their 2006 announcement that they would begin providing filtered search results at google.cn and ending “today” with speculation about exactly what has been going on that caused them to announce they would stop filtering results and see whether they could reach an accommodation with the Chinese government about providing unfiltered results in China. The summary page is at The Social Graph of Malware, not here. Go read it. And I’ll try to keep it up to date.
Its clear that the decision to filter was tough. And it probably took less to get them to reverse the decision than if the original decision had been clear cut. The issues that I see are involved include these:
- Censorship – even if mandated by local laws;
- Censorship – on more universal grounds (such as censorship of hate speech, etc.);
- Increasing Chinese cyberaggression – hacking servers, looking for industrial secrets (supposed Chinese, because it’s almost impossible to really know);
- Aggressive attacks against minority communities and free speech advocates (cited by Google, but I’ve seen them personally);
- Drive-by malware insertions in free-speech web sites, and whether this is targeted or not;
- Whether an equivalent of the Geneva Protocol (which deals with weapons as opposed to prisoners) can be developed for cyberwarfare.
The Social Graph of Malware is a site I started a few months ago, and sporadically contribute to, that describes how social engineering contributes so much to the spread of malware. The Google incident that sparked their “reversal” decision to stop filtering (just a week ago) was largely a piece of social engineering. We have been seeing targeted attacks on the Tibetan exile community (and others) recently, utilizing social engineering tactics to get people to open poisoned files that then infect their computers. So I’ll continue to track the Google.cn issue on The Social Graph of Malware because of this connection.