Feeds

Google's Brin admits he under-estimated Chinese censorship

They've managed to put genie back in the bottle

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
French 'terror law' declares WAR on the INTERNET itself, say digi-rights folks
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Two out of three ain't bad
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.