Security Experts Back Google In China Fight


This final step could happen within a matter of weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported. The tension between Google and China has been snowballing since January, when Google declined to adhere to China's censorship regulations after an alleged cyber attack aimed at human rights organizations.

But security solution providers praised Google for holding its ground -- despite its potential loss of market share. "I think it says more about Google than anything else," said Andrew Plato, president at Anitian Enterprise Security, a Beaverton, Ore.-based security solution provider. "They have clearly made a decision to cease operations based on the security problems in China. I think it is good for companies to take this stand.

"However, Google can easily do this because they're huge and have gobs of cash," Plato added. "Smaller companies who don't have the resources are probably not going to be able to follow Google's lead."

Plato confirmed that doing business in China means walking a fine line to avoid security problems.

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"I think the only way for China to save this is to make a clear statement that they are going to respect the privacy and security of companies and individuals," he said. "However, I don't see them doing that. There are cultural issues in conflict here that are not easily resolved. This is more than just a hacking problem. It's a cultural problem. And a firewall and some encryption products are not going to change that overnight."

Analysys International lists China search powerhouse Baidu as currently holding 58 percent of China's search market, with Google at 36 percent.

"It's good to see companies stand up for principles, particularly those of security and privacy," Plato said. "In this globalized, quarterly profit-driven economy, many companies will bypass principle for money. It's good to see a company that is not willing to bypass their principles for money."

Clearly, China's Internet market is nearly impossible to ignore, with its daily 400 million current users -- the No. 1 market in the world -- but few foreign companies have entered it because of the country's notorious stringent regulations. For example, China requires foreign companies to use local partners for content licensing and can also put companies at risk of criticisms in their home countries.

David Sockol, president and CEO of eMagined Security, based in Santa Clara, Calif., echoed Plato's remarks on ultimately protecting user security.

"Good job Google! Any government should not be allowed to dictate business approaches to any company through attacks and censorship. More companies, like Google, must continue to take a stand against unfair business tactics."

Eugene Schultz, CTO of Emagined Security, a San Carlos, Calif.-based solution provider, sees Google's stance as a "calculated bluff" designed to force the Chinese government to back off from its stance on censorship. If Google does choose to pull out of China, the move would have "devastating effects" for China, he said.

"U.S companies have been rushing to get a piece of the action without much consideration of the risks of doing business with and in China," said Schultz. "If a giant like Google withdraws from China because of security and censorship issues, other companies are likely to take a harder and more realistic look at these issues."

While there is little hope of salvaging Google's business endeavors in China, users could still be able to access Google services based out of the country, as was possible prior to 2006.