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Google and China (cont.)

The echo of tensions between Google and China still continues to sound. Today Harvard Business School published an interview of John A. Quelch, Harvard Business School professor, who along with research associate Katherine E. Jocz, have just published a case study “Google in China”. First, I would like to admit that I have not read this case study and my opinion is based on this interview.

I agree that Google may have acted without giving due consideration to the impact of the announcement. However, I think there is some misunderstanding on the technical side. I wrote that Chinese Great Firewall does not filter IPv6 traffic and Google started rolling out IPv6 support on a number of sites. So even with closing google.cn, users in China would continue to be able to use google.com although in English.

Google responded to a hacking attack and used the best tool available. I think the scope of this dispute should be discussed within these limits. This was not the first attack on Google from China and it is unlikely Google did not ask the Chinese government to investigate previous attacks. Google had not seen any meaningful actions to previous requests to China to take actions, and, after getting a severe attack, when Google actually lost some sensitive information, consequences for Google might be far more damaging outside China had the news started spreading out without seeing Google taking a harder stance. The probability that information about the attack of such a magnitude will leak to the media is high given a number of IT security companies hired to investigate the incident. Google did the right thing announcing the details and their intention to act on the party (Chinese government) that was able to prevent the attack, but did not anything.

Nonetheless, I think Google came out as a winner in this dispute. There search results cannot be filtered in China (still except google.cn) with the roll out of IPv6 support. This was done as a technical change, not political, at least publicly. In addition, the Chinese government started talking about actions although with a 3-month delay.

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