Is The Berlin Cyber-Wall About to Fall?
Yesterday's news of Google's very public smackdown of Chinese censorship and hacking
, culminating with Google's threat to pull out of China altogether, is potentially explosive news. Let's hope it is not a bluff. My guess is that Google has had it with Chinese government-sponsored meddling with their technology, and that what was revealed publicly is only the tip of the iceberg. There have been rumors for a long while of Chinese government-sponsored cyber-spying not only against U.S. companies but also U.S. government intelligence agencies, and even our power grid.
We now may see a serious test of the theorem that it is possible to have a mostly market economy without democracy, or whether China, which may be an economic house of cards waiting a Japan-like collapse, will have to relent in its authoritarianism if it wishes for its prosperity to continue. It is hard to imagine that China's growing technical class will stand for a Google-less existence.
I still remember an extremely bright Chinese exchange student I had in my Georgetown class a few years ago. Her English was perfect, as was her writing. But I was stunned when she said one day after class when we all went to the local pub: "I've looked at your Internet. Everything on it about Tiananmen Square is totally wrong. The students were killing policemen and soldiers." Amazing they can keep this up.
10:39 AM / January 13, 2010