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US Lawmakers to Keep Google Out of China? 491

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the internet-is-just-one-big-foreign-policy-tool dept.
caese writes "USATODAY is reporting that lawmakers in the US are proposing legislation that would keep Google and others out of China. From the article: 'Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"
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US Lawmakers to Keep Google Out of China?

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  • by Ced_Ex (789138) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:20PM (#14708591)
    Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"

    Seems almost ironic doesn't it?
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:25PM (#14708639)
      > > Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"
      >
      >Seems almost ironic doesn't it?

      See the earlier thread on politicians making themselves exempt from the CAN-SPAM law while they were drafting it. The logic boils down to "it's not spam when we do it!".

      Likewise, it's not repression when we do it. The conjugation of the verb "repress" is as follows:

      We protect.
      Our allies monitor.
      Our adversaries repress.

      • if you give livestock the power to roam freely, they might get free and run away. Good fences make good neighbors, etc. Adjoining ranches cooperate to keep their cattle under control.

        The American elite and the Chinese elite are just putting up fences to keep their livestock safe.
        Don't you feel safer now?

        baaa baaa baaa

    • Is it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by C10H14N2 (640033) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:47PM (#14708988)
      It's called "sanction." What's ironic is how long China has been free from sanctions.

      Would it seem "repressive" to say "State Department moves to block Google from installing servers at Natanz uranium enrichment site in Iran?"
    • by JavaLord (680960) on Monday February 13, 2006 @03:03PM (#14709200) Journal
      Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"

      Fine, but why do we continue to trade with them? We make up 30% of their GDP, while they wont let our goods into their country fairly (we export less than 1% to China). We allow them to make everything you can think of, yet we aren't going to let google go there? Seems like too little too late.

      Seems almost ironic doesn't it?

      No, google isn't a 'human right'. If we were really doing what was 'right' we would be denying China MFN status until they cleaned up their act.
      • by dinodriver (577264) on Monday February 13, 2006 @08:43PM (#14712586)
        "Fine, but why do we continue to trade with them? We make up 30% of their GDP, while they wont let our goods into their country fairly (we export less than 1% to China). We allow them to make everything you can think of, yet we aren't going to let google go there? Seems like too little too late. "

        The reason this doesn't bother many people is that this imblance hides the fact that it is U.S. companies benefiting from this arrangement. For example, most of those Chinese made goods in your local WalMart are marketed by American companies and they are making the profits (some of which they keep offshore to avoid paying u.s. taxes of course...). So, although the goods are made abroad, the American companies make more money than they would if the goods were made here.

        I'm not arguing for using China as our labor force. In fact, the whole situation makes me sick. I'm just explaining why businesses interests here like things just how they are...
    • Bullshit. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by autopr0n (534291)
      First of all, on a per-capita basis the U.S is more oppressive to its citizens then the Chinese government. An American is almost four times as likely to be imprisoned then a Chinese citizen. In fact, the US has more total people in jail then the Chinese, despite the fact that china has almost four times as many people as the US. Half the people in jail are there for non-violent drug offenses. Just because you can complain all you want to doesn't mean you're not oppressed. People confuse freedom of speec
      • Re:Bullshit. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JordanL (886154) <[jordan.ledoux] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday February 13, 2006 @03:40PM (#14709632) Homepage
        First of all, on a per-capita basis the U.S is more oppressive to its citizens then the Chinese government. An American is almost four times as likely to be imprisoned then a Chinese citizen. In fact, the US has more total people in jail then the Chinese, despite the fact that china has almost four times as many people as the US.

        Nice try, but no. If you measure "repression on a per capita basis" as simply number of people per capita in jail, you are completely ignorring that this is mostly likely not "repression" as much as "enforcing the law". As well, it also ignors that the conviction in rate in China is over 95% and there is no such concept as Jurisprudence or Miranda Rights. Additionally, on a per capita basis, China has many times the number of people imprisoned which would possibly be classified as "political dissidents", even though many would classify our Gitmo detainees this way.

        So in short, I call "bullshit" on your "bullshit". read up [amnesty.org] and comapre [amnesty.org].
        • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mozumder (178398) on Monday February 13, 2006 @04:13PM (#14709972)
          If you measure "repression on a per capita basis" as simply number of people per capita in jail, you are completely ignorring that this is mostly likely not "repression" as much as "enforcing the law".

          How is 'enforcing the law' any different from 'repression'?

          Are you saying that because something is the law, then that means it is valid, even if it's decided democratically?

          Meanwhile, why should a minority party be forced to agree to the majority's decisions? How does 'majority rules' help the progression of society? Doesn't that repress the minority party?

          Democracy: 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner.
        • Re:Bullshit. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by starwed (735423)
          Well, I'd certainly rather live in the US than China. But to say there's a necessary distinction between "repression" and "enforcing the law" is a bit silly.
      • Bullshit indeed. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JavaLord (680960)
        First of all, on a per-capita basis the U.S is more oppressive to its citizens then the Chinese government.

        Anything you compare to china on a "per-capita" basis is going to be skewed due to the sheer mass of their population.

        An American is almost four times as likely to be imprisoned then a Chinese citizen.

        Yet the chinese execute more Criminals than any other country.

        In fact, the US has more total people in jail then the Chinese, despite the fact that china has almost four times as many people
        • by tgd (2822) on Monday February 13, 2006 @04:05PM (#14709887)
          Move to China and see how much better you do there.

          If you have not done so yourself, you are not qualified to make that suggestion to him. In fact, if you have not taken the time to spend some real time there with local people, you are not qualified to talk on the subject at all.

          I suspect, like most people who talk about China, you are talking based on reports you've seen in the media based on agendas pushed by people who have chosen to not live there. Go ask ex-pat Americans living in cities around the world about their opinion of life in the US. It will be equally biased.

          The reality of the situation is somewhere in the middle, but based on your response its clear you have no first hand experience with life in China.
          • Re:Bullshit indeed. (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            I am a Malaysian who has lived in China, India, Singapore and Brunei(just 2 months actuallly but WTH). I was a volunteer for Amnesty International for a few months after High School. "Move to China and see how much better you do there." Is a valid statement. They lock things out to protect themselves, that includes foreign information and foreign goods. Trust me when I say they are better off with the walls they build, their problems are plentiful including overpopulation and social stigmas which will not g
        • You make several very good points and certainly the parent poster is oversimplifying and failing to take a number of items into consideration. I take issue with three of your arguments, however.

          Anything you compare to china on a "per-capita" basis is going to be skewed due to the sheer mass of their population.

          How does normalizing for population skew comparisons due to a large population?

          So why are you oppressed? Because the government tries to stop people from drugging themselves to death?

          Freedom

        • But you don't go to jail in the US for being of a certain political view, or religion.

          Perhaps not, but based on recent evidence I'd say you'd have a fair chance of having your country invaded... Anyway, aren't all those people in Gitmo there *exactly* because of their "political view or religion"??

      • by slashdotmsiriv (922939) on Monday February 13, 2006 @03:52PM (#14709761)
        May I add that in the US you may get shot by the vice president himself. That my friends is opression!
  • Anti free trade (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:22PM (#14708606)
    When have embargos worked? VEry rarely I presume. There's no point in this. Also why target high tech .. what about walmart?

    No I am not in favor of cutting off trade in any case.. people should have the right to buy goods from wherever they like.
    • When have embargos worked? VEry rarely I presume. There's no point in this. Also why target high tech .. what about walmart?

      No I am not in favor of cutting off trade in any case.. people should have the right to buy goods from wherever they like.


      I'm thinking Cuba. That country has turned into shits because the US has forced every company it deals with to stop trading with Cuba in order to punish their Communist regime. It is really unfortunate as well, since the average Cuban is very nice and carry no ill
    • Doesn't China already have MFN status? Why not just revoke that instead?
  • Are they stopping (Score:2, Insightful)

    by orrigami (769691)
    the export of cheap goods from China to the US. I know censorship is a bad thing, but it seems like finally some US companies selling stiff to china instead of the other way around. Which is good for the US, No?
    • And could a move like this backfire? Could Google decide they'd rather be based in a country that didn't restrict who they can do buisness with and move to, say, Canada. I don't think that would really be in our best interest.
    • Exactly. This is a stupid measure.

      If they were serious about doing anything to China, they would threaten to put some tariffs on Chinese imports into the U.S. -- perhaps equal to whatever China puts on U.S. goods? There would be a certain amount of poetic justice in that. (Actually, I'd be all for doing that just as a general rule, with every country.) Or if we agree that's unworkable, we could go for an industry that they haven't really started yet, so that it wouldn't affect American consumers too much --
  • Seems kind of discriminatory to only go after internet companies. Anyone who does business there is supporting the system as much as Google, etc. are. I really think it is just some politicians trying to score some cheap points.
    • by everphilski (877346) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:30PM (#14708720) Journal
      Plain and simple. This is a censorship issue. It isn't a "we like china" or "we dislike china" issue. When Google or Microsoft or Yahoo sit down with the Chinese and decide to open up shop they have to censor, and part of that is having programmers who work on censoring software. Are you really comfortable with the fact that Google is using money they make off of you to write censorship software? They are only improving the state of censorship in China and who knows maybe someday that censorship software might just end up censoring you, or censoring something you want to access. Makes me sick.
  • by garoo1980 (893796) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:24PM (#14708631)
    I wonder why the US government doesn't ban all US based companies from dealing with China, if they want to be pro human rights for a change. Its so hypocritical for them to ensure that US information isn't housed in China and use human rights as a cover. IF human rights were a truly important issue companies like WALMART wouldn't be allowed to trade with them. That would make an actual difference
    • Sounds like a plan to me. But as long we're in Politics.slashdot.org, does that mean you won't mind if I take a cheap shot at Bill Clinton, who helped extend them "most favored nation" trading status and who may have (according to some people- conspiracy theorists? or no?) sold them all sorts of military technology?
      • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:46PM (#14708965)
        Bill Clinton, who helped extend them "most favored nation" trading status

        And what about that pinko Nixon -- he kowtowed to Mao in 1972.

        And that fellow-traveller Reagan: "...a few countries must obtain an annual presidential waiver or extension of a waiver to continue their NTR status. China is the most important country in this group which must obtain an annual waiver to maintain NTR. The waiver for China has been in effect since 1980."

    • I wonder why the US government doesn't ban all US based companies from dealing with China, if they want to be pro human rights for a change

      Because China has more men able for military service than our entire population.
    • I cringe when I have to buy something at Wal-Mart, because almost everything there comes from China. It's not just Wal-Mart, but that's where I notice it the most.

      Some of the Chinese-made stuff is of decent quality, but mostly it's not. I don't like the sweatshop image I get when I look at the poorer-quality items. As a result, I've changed my buying habits to try to avoid things from China.

      When I'm shopping now I look for the very best item in a given cateogory. I ignore the price, unless I know the ite
  • A lot of those companies may not have their own servers in the nations in question, but they license technology to partners in the region to handle their day-to-day stuff. For example, Yahoo has a partnership with Alibaba.com. Let's say Google say "ok, we won't move our servers there." But they license everything out to a regional partner, and help them set it up. Is this a law that has a very clear loophole prior to even getting going? As such, does it make it another "feel good" law, the kind that we
    • Is this a law that has a very clear loophole prior to even getting going?

      The whole idea is to create a loophole so that the Chinese government cannot order data to be divulged; as it always could if the servers are physically in China. And so this would be revealed quickly the next time China wanted to track down someone who posted politically incorrect thinking. (And in China, "politically incorrect" is not a joke, it'll earn you prison for 10 years.)

  • Minimum standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:26PM (#14708670) Journal
    Since I'm a Free market capitalist republican with Libertarian tendancies I would, most of the the time ask congress to keep their hands off of what a company does. But...after thinking about this I REALLY do think that if a company is based the U.S.A. it should have to abide by minimum standardars that represent what our country stands for (reguardless if you think the U.S. is hypacritical or not!). Some of the things they should have to abide by if they still want to be based out of the U.S.

    1. Child Labour laws
    2. Free Speech
    3. Environmental regulations

    I would'nt expect them to have to obey ALL of the laws of the U.S. and the localality where they are setting up shop, but going to another country does should not give a company a way around laws here (in the U.S.).

    If they refuse then they can base their company in the Bahamas or some other country and take whatever fallout comes.

    just an opinion
    • I would'nt expect them to have to obey ALL of the laws of the U.S. and the localality where they are setting up shop,

      Why not? Are US laws so unreasonable?

      IIRC Swedish companies have to follow swedish and local laws.
    • Perhaps corporations can be forced to certain standards in the same vein that a US citizen still has to follow certain laws even outside the country - like not visiting Cuba (w/o permission), or acts of treason.....

      Anyway, I'm still sitting on the fence. If a US company doesn't exploit certain realities in other countries (lets say child labor), what is to stop, say an Irish company from doing the same and selling a similiar product to Wal-mart for less. It might be helpful to look at the factors that cau
    • > I REALLY do think that if a company is based the U.S.A. it should have to abide by minimum standardars that represent what our country stands for (reguardless if you think the U.S. is hypacritical or not!).

      I presume you mean our myths about what we stand for, instead of what we actually stand for.
    • 1. Child Labour laws ....grumble....

      2. Free Speech ....hmmmm....tutut.....grumble.....

      3. Environmental regulations

      AHA!!! COMMUNIST!!!
      Disregard 1 and 2. On with the profiteering!!!
    • I REALLY do think that if a company is based the U.S.A. it should have to abide by minimum standardars that represent what our country stands for

      Let us see:
      a) Imperialism, including supporting client dictatorships (North Korea) and conducting colonial wars of conquest abroad (Tibet)
      b) Repression of ideas and civil population survillance (China seems to have inspired the most recent US legislation on this area)
      c) Political Repression, like keeping political enemies imprisioned without trial, access to legal
  • Don't put the servers overseas 'cause they have oppressive governments!

    Aha. But ... it's all right to have them assemble cheap junk for us to buy, no matter how oppressive their government are.

    Could it be, just maybe, that the reason isn't the oppressive government but rather that those bastards don't wanna let you sniff into their search records, hmmm?
  • by ravee (201020) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:27PM (#14708680) Homepage Journal
    After the cold war and the break up of soviet union, it has increasingly become a habit with the USA governments to try and play big daddy to all the nations.

    This trend is really disconcerting for people living outside the US. As far as china is concerned, it is entirely a different story. Communism and capitalism can be equated to the devil and the deep sea. Both are not good for the nations. If one ideology generates oppression, the other inculcates greed.
    • If one ideology generates oppression, the other inculcates greed.

      I'm sorry, Michael Douglas's character in Wall Street was right at a basic level: greed is good. By good, really, I mean "necessary." His character took it to the extreme, and ultimately paid the price. But the basic idea is correct: capitalism is efficient because of greed at all levels.

      Greed is what drives the balance of supply and demand. If you are too greedy in your pricing, you will likely sell less product. Conversely, if you are too gr
  • So, why don't we ban them from the US, too? Our human rights record has not exactly been spotless, lately.
    • Re:So... (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by MightyMartian (840721)
      The US government, for all its problems on the human rights front, is by and large, and infinitely friendlier nation to its citizens than China. While I think, even on the Internet front, the US needs to back off a bit, to compare China's large-scale censoring of the Net to anything the US does is ridiculous.

      The real problem here is that this move is idiotic. US Internet companies will simply open up shell companies (if they haven't done it already) to operate their branch sites on soil that the US deem

  • How come internet companies have to stay out but Wal*mat gets slave labor?
    Are we allowed to buy stuff cheap from there but not allow them to search?
    Are servers rare?
    The quote seems to indicate that we need them here and can't spare any.
    Does China not have the technology in those servers?

    It makes no sense.
    It's like a kitten with a tuba.
  • Since I'm a Free market capitalist republican with Libertarian tendencies I would, most of the the time ask congress to keep their hands off of what a company does. But...after thinking about this I REALLY do think that if a company is based the U.S.A. it should have to abide by minimum standards that represent what our country stands for (regardless if you think the U.S. is hypocritical or not!). Some of the things they should have to abide by if they still want to be based out of the U.S.

    1. Child Labor la
    • ...that the US might fail on 2 and most certainly will fail on 3?

      But I'm sure a lot of US companies would support your idea. Hey, it's like asking them to outsource labour!
  • Art. I, Sec. 8 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stinerman (812158)
    First, I'm opposed to anyone doing any business in China until they get their act cleaned up. In fact, I'd be for a such a law that bars American businesses from doing any business there.

    Second, I don't see anywhere in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution [usconstitution.net] that allows for Congress to regulate the activities of private business in foreign countries. Therefore, I am opposed to the bill and for an amendment to the Constitution that will provide Congress with the proper authority to do so.

    Is it a good idea
    • Mod Parent Down (Score:3, Informative)

      by stinerman (812158)
      I have my facts wrong. Clause 3 allows for this. I apologize.

      Let us hope the gentleman from NJ is able to shepherd this bill through Congress and to Mr. Bush.
    • First, I'm opposed to anyone doing any business in China until they get their act cleaned up.

      Just so we're clear, what would constitute a "clean act" for China?

      • No government is a legitimate government unless they govern with people's consent. Free and fair elections are all I really care to see there. If the Chinese people decide they really don't want free speech or press, that is their matter to decide.
  • by Expert Determination (950523) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:30PM (#14708741)
    ...where'd they get all the benefits of the US without any of the disadvantages.
  • They'll just move their HQ to Canada or Mexico and keep on doing what they did before except it'll churn less money in the US economy. Free trade is in everyone's best interest (except the politicians, of course).
  • Don't let the United States Government encumber the internet with any more garbage legislation which has no chance of doing anything but stifling growth on the internet.

    I believe in the free enterprise system. Google is an independent entrepreneur within the free enterprise system. China is attempting to become so (on its own terms). Let market pressure and the free enterprise system work this out. China cannot remain forever an island (I mean, really . . . look at the size of the place :^)

  • From the article: 'Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State Department deems repressive to human rights.'"

    Yea right. More like keeping vital servers and technology out of China and other nations the State Department deems competitive to US economy. The last thing the US wants is for China have access to free information. If China ever got their act toget

  • We'll still buy Chinese goods, and send our atheletes to their games....
  • It seems like search engines are generally going to lag slightly in censoring things behind how they index the web, so people searching for subversive information will tend to get only the most recent bunch of sites to come up, but they'll have an easier time getting information than if they didn't have search engines or if they only had search engines that included only sites previously approved by the government.

    The real concern should be that search engines will keep records of searches and turn them ove
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:37PM (#14708848)
    Even USA Today has it right in their headline "Bill would keep servers out of China". Slashdot appears even more tabloid with this headline implying the companies wouldn't be able to operate there. Guess what; I'm in China, I use US servers most of the time.

    Yahoo has surrendered personal data on two dissidents at least that have lead to their arrests. Yahoo claims they had no choice. Well, if the data wasn't in China, they wouldn't have had that excuse, though they probably would have folded anyway.

  • by mrseigen (518390)
    So Google and the other Internet companies can't have servers in repressive countries, but Nike and Wal-mart have the go-ahead for child labour? I'm a big opponent of Internet censorship myself, but let's solve the problem we've been putting off for awhile first before we hop onto that big ol' Information Superhighway and start legislating away.
  • Chris Smith (R-NJ) is usually busy crafting legislation to gag 3rd world countries re. abortion services in family planning clinics.

    To his credit he *has* been a strong supporter of veterans health care and the like, for which he was kicked off the committee chair because he wanted more money than the other Republicans wanted to give. Apparently they're big on allocating money to send the guys into harm's way but want to minimize the health care costs when the vets come back broken.
  • I'd love to see companies fight this and take it to the Supreme Court. I'm very interested to know if they will decide the federal government has the right to mandate this. It could potentially end this debate once and for all.
  • FUD and Flamebait? (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuestorTapes (663783) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:42PM (#14708903)
    A few observations:

    > USATODAY is reporting that lawmakers in the US are proposing legislation that
    > would keep Google and others out of China.

    Actually, no. First off, the bill hasn't even been drafted yet.

    Secondarily, as I read the article, it wouldn't prevent anyone from doing business in China and other oppressive regimes. It would simply require the "vital computer servers" (currently not defined; remember, it hasn't been -drafted- yet) from being located physically within the opressive regime's geographic control.

    > From the article: 'Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is drafting a bill that
    > would force Internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft
    > to keep vital computer servers out of China and other nations the State
    > Department deems repressive to human rights.

    The part that wasn't quoted says: "Moving servers would keep personal data they house from government reach. But that also could weaken the firms' crucial Internet search engines."

    It appears the intent of the bill is to prohibit situations where crucial equipment could be physically compromised by force, although since it hasn't been drafted yet, it could go further, of course.

    I don't know anything about Rep. Smith, but this page:

    http://www.house.gov/chrissmith/laws/laws.htm [house.gov]

    Seems to indicate he has been actively interested in human rights under opressive regimes rather than gestapo internet control laws. Maybe he deserves the benefit of the doubt, at least until after he has finished a first draft we could look at?

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday February 13, 2006 @03:25PM (#14709464) Homepage
      It appears the intent of the bill is to prohibit situations where crucial equipment could be physically compromised by force, although since it hasn't been drafted yet, it could go further, of course.

      But, how does this differ from any form of nationalization which could occur?

      Any company with a branch office and ANY equipment in ANY other country could in theory be 'physically compromised by force'. Heck, they could be physicall compromised domestically too. Google's servers aren't exactly vital to the operation of the US government, so why the special interest? They didn't step in when France said that certain things on websites were not allowed in their country.

      How can a government which has been ramming globalization down the throats of everyone suddenly decide to make this one exception with China because Google didn't fight them on freedom of speech issues?

      They sure as hell aren't stopping Monsanto from exporting their GM seeds which local farmers aren't allowed to keep seeds from for the next harvest. They don't stop Nike from using child labour, they don't stop Wal Mart from running (allegedly) unsafe plants (or at least, heaviy profiting from them), they've never tried to stop the tobacco companies from aggressively marketing their products in other countries in ways which would be illegal in the US.

      The US (and, indeed, the whole West) have been using divisions in foreign countries for decades to be able to circumvent labour and environmental laws -- like it or not, it's called imperialism.

      How many US ships get sent to India in the ship-cracking yards in which poor people work in toxic environments and lead to further pollution in those locales? To how many countries are loads of toxic waste (eg, old computer equipment) being exported because domestic disposal is difficult/expensive? These things would be prohibited to do in North America, yet they're allowed to continue.

      If the US wants to start ensuring that companies working in foreign countries play by US rules, a huge part of the US economy would have to be crippled in the same way -- unless they're some how going to claim that Google poses more of a threat than some of the other stuff. Because there are loads of examples of foreign practices which would violate labour or environmental laws.

      And given that they've chosen to exempt themselves from treaties such as the treatment of prisoners they determined to be 'enemy combatants', this is just raging hypocracy to be so focused on cencorship in China.

      Hell, they've even made sure their Patriot Act has extra-territorial reaches -- if a US company working abroad collects information, it is subject to the rules of the Patriot Act. Never mind that the information was collected in a foreign country relating to foreign nationals for purposes of conducting business in that country. So why is the US entitled to export their laws by proxy, but China shouldn't expect Google to abide by their rules?

      Absolutely friggin' absurd.
  • So...
    it's OK to send our manufactuing capability overseas
    it's OK to uy most of our goods from overseas

    it's wrong to sell them data

    The fucking idiots we keep voting in.
  • which still has the bloody death penalty - by electric chair, no less!

    Perhaps the EU should place a trade embargo on the US for similar reasons?

  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:45PM (#14708959) Homepage Journal

    I'm torn on this issue. On the one hand, the Chinese government is restricting free speech, and US companies are assisting in that effort. On the other hand, I believe that in general engagement is the best way to cajole repressive governments into better behavior. There are limits to this, of course. Discerning those limits is difficult. For example, why are we not similarly purturbed with American activities in Russia, even though everyone knows the last vestiges of Russian democracy are slipping away. How much of the current reaction to American tech companies' involvement with China is really a reaction to growing Chinese economic power?

    Another question: Would pulling Google, Cisco, et. al. from China actually help the Chinese people at large, would it harm them, or would the end result be neutral? Would we be harming our own economic interests for some tangible end, or would it be a hollow gesture, akin to the "Free Tibet" bumper stickers that make us all feel good, but are essentially pointless?

    It sounds like I'm begging the question, because right now I am leaning in favor of keeping the US government from interfering with tech companies that do business in China. But I am still profoundly uncomfortable with the idea that American technology is being used to smother dissent. So at the moment, all I have is questions.

  • So that means no countries that have the death penalty, make laws against gay marriage, euthanasia, marijuana, DRM etc.? If so I guess that's Canada!
  • Governments repressive to human rights? Would that include Canada or South Dakota?

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday February 13, 2006 @03:00PM (#14709147) Journal

    What is amazing to me, is that so many seem to hit Google hard. They are being accused of being the worst amongst the main search engines. It has made major headlines that google allows the china gov. to decide what will be seen, but with the proviso that is shows that the entry was deleted. Well the other engines simply delete the entries, BUT do NOT show that it was censored. In addition, both Yahoo and Microsoft have helped the chinese gov. to catch those who write against the chinese gov. Google has not (and I hope will not) helped them in such a manner. In addition, MS has offered up all sorts of information to the chinese gov. on how to do various things (basically their "valuable" closed source code), IIRC Yahoo also has a branch in China, while Google has done none of the above.

    Offhand, I would say that Google has a major hatchett job being done against them at all levels. I wonder where it originates at?

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOsPAm.beau.org> on Monday February 13, 2006 @03:02PM (#14709179)
    Guys, get some education on how things work out in the big blue room. This isn't dangerous.

    I'll clue you in, this is all about posturing. No, this bill won't pass and it isn't intended to pass. What it is intended to do is put political pressure on Google to counterbalance the polutical pressure China is putting on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc.. Before, US companies really didn't have much choice, they were operating in China so the Chinese could lean hard on them to play ball. Bills like this are intended to provide cover, i.e. next time China wants to lean on em the US companies AND the Chinese government have to counterbalance the gain aganst the potential loss if they push Congress far enough they actually get serious next time.

    Wouldn't be at all suprised to find Google or Microsoft behind this bill, of course in a very back room, back channel and totally deniable way. This is modern political theatre. Yes it is sleezy, underhanded, hypocritical and so on, but it happens to be the way the game is played.
  • I applaud this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaroNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday February 13, 2006 @03:51PM (#14709748) Homepage Journal
    It's about time that companies are forced to abide by U.S. law while operating in other countries. After all, most U.S. laws are meant to enhance individual life.

    While we're taking care of Google, they're throwing in stuff about manufacturing companies offering below-U.S. minimum wage, work hours, and child labor laws in other countries, right? ...No?

    So you're telling me that companies like Nike, a highly profitable corporation which can charge $150 for a single shoe because of overhype, can continue to force children to work long hours for little pay, while a corporation like Google, which is providing a much more valuable service of information, and doesn't hinder its employees in foreign nations (to my knowledge), is forced to work by the U.S. laws?

    How does that make sense?

    Oh, right. Google probably hasn't been keeping up with their bribery stipents to members of congress.

    Fucking politicians.
  • by RexRhino (769423) on Monday February 13, 2006 @04:29PM (#14710132)
    People were complaining that Google and other were complying with the oppressive laws in China, and thereby abusing human rights... and something should be done. Along comes a bill (Slashdotters seems to love government regulation) to directly address this issue (i.e. if the servers are not in China, then Google or whoever don't have to obey Chinese censorship laws... that is at least the theory behind it). Now people are whining and complaining about that bill!

    I don't think you are all Libetarians or Anarchists and against this simply because you are against most forms government regulation. So could someone, who thinks Google is evil for doing buisness in China, who opposes the government restricting buisness in China on human rights grounds, and IS NOT a libertarian and just opposing the government on principle, please explain to me the logic of your decision.

    PLEASE... Seriously, I am not going to diss you or disagree with you in any way. I will give you the last word and won't even reply back. I seriously want to understand the logic of your beliefs. This is not a rhetorical question, and I am not being factitious. I realize this is a failure to comprehend on my part, and would be very greatful to have you enlighten me on this issue.

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