Feeds

Google's Brin admits he under-estimated Chinese censorship

They've managed to put genie back in the bottle

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has admitted he was wrong to question China’s long-term ability to restrict the free flow of information online, as the Communist Party’s crack down on internet rumours following suggestions of a failed coup continues.

Speaking to The Guardian, the billionaire said he didn’t believe five years ago that a country like China could effectively restrict internet freedoms for long, but added that he has now been proven wrong.

“I am more worried than I have been in the past. It's scary," he reportedly said.

"I thought there was no way to put the genie back in the bottle, but now it seems in certain areas the genie has been put back in the bottle.”

While Google still has a presence in China and has been adding to its team of engineers in the country, it has remained critical of the government’s hardline stance on web censorship ever since its high profile decision to relocate its search business to Hong Kong in early 2010.

As if to validate Brin’s words, Hu Jintao’s government has continued with a vengeance its unprecedented online crack down designed to quell any potential social disorder, or even worse, political protest, ahead of the Party’s leadership handover next year.

State Internet Information Office figures released at the tail end of last week revealed that some 210,000 posts have now been removed from the country’s popular weibos, or microblogs such as Sina Weibo, and 42 sites shut down as part of efforts to stamp out online “rumours” which spread last month of a failed coup.

The rumours centred around deposed Politburo member Bo Xilai as well as his wife’s alleged complicity in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

However, Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, who is under 24-hour surveillance at his Beijing home, was more optimistic of the future for the country's netizens.

Writing in The Guardian, he argued that the internet is fundamentally "uncontrollable" and likened China's web censorship to building a dam without any way to release the water pressure.

"It still hasn't come to the moment that it will collapse. That makes a lot of other states admire its technology and methods," he added.

"But in the long run, its leaders must understand it's not possible for them to control the internet unless they shut it off – and they can't live with the consequences of that." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.