The story that just won’t die is back and again we ask, what are the stakes for Google, and the U.S., if, the #3 search engine in China, Google were to either leave China or be rendered weak and insignificant by, #1 search engine in China, Baidu? All the pussyfooting around the great China/Google meltdown leaves the one question everyone wants an answer to now: Has Google’s algorithm been snatched? What else can be inferred by the return of the story on Lanxiang Vocational School, a "huge vocational school that was established with military support and trains some computer scientists for the military. The school’s computer network is operated by a company with close ties purportedly to Baidu, the dominant search engine in China." This time more innuendo and edentulous accusations. Everyone knows this is a political football, between the Chinese government’s feigned indifference initially, and Secretary Clinton’s, very un-diplomatic, woodshedding of officials for their failure to meet Western standards. It sure sounds like this is more than a harmless breach; it sounds like some serious damage has been done.
ARE WE HEADING DOWN A SLIDING SLOPE?
by J. Mikton
We’ve all heard of the idealism of Brin and Page and the pragmatism of Schmidt. No one who has done business in China believes they will alter their behavior and grant Google freedoms absent other companies. None of the great minds at Google believe for a second that this is going to change anytime soon, or because they demand it to happen. China of course wants to keep Google, but only on their terms. Some are saying they aren’t to be afforded their own security world view. Surely, their world view with respect to digital security is different from the West and surely Google has known this and accepted concessions since the beginning. Yet Google remains tightlipped on any specifics and they appear to be painting themselves into an exit strategy.
This latest row began around Christmas last year. Google and other U.S. businesses got hacked, as did many Chinese businesses, and China had been slow and deliberate in their response. It seemed to cool down and now we see the NY Times drag out more accusations attempting to pin the blame on a military connection to a school with a connection to some work done by Baidu.
Pirated software in China is epidemic and guarntees intrusions and cyber problems. Cybercriminals inside and outside China exploit any country’s vulnerable infrastructure for their profit. If you ask around the security pros in Silicon Valley, this is business as usual and many wonder what’s behind the sudden outrage. And why would the NYTimes be taking their approach while the news is all over the wires that China no longer is going to wait before they respond: "
Investigation in the staff found no trace the attacks originated from our school," Li Zixiang, party chief at Lanxiang Vocational School in Shandong Province" was quoted as saying. They have already denied it, done an investigation and offered the proforma suggestions. Yet it won’t go away, and their denial is ignored. Surely everyone knows that, even if someone hacked a Baidu server, it proves nothing. So why drag out a story that was a yawn weeks ago? From the same Saturday Times article, "Some analysts have privately circulated a document asserting that the vocational school is being used as camouflage for government operations." That is the same accusation we’ve heard about special programs from schools like Cal and Stanford for decades.
COULDA SHOULDA WOULDA