Tuesday, January 26, 2010

China vs Google Goes Political

Remember China vs Google? This is not a small thing, previous discussed on the blog here and here. There are three developments worth noting.

The Compass blog at Real Clear World asks the question: Could the WTO Tear Down China's Great Firewall? That would be interesting. We have long discussed the lawfare approach of China in terms of territorial rights and environmental issues to target US national security interests, but in this case the US is attempting to use an international institution against China. Well worth reading and consideration. This is probably a threat that will never be followed through, but noteworthy nonetheless.

The China Daily op-ed "Internet freedom" and "smart power" diplomacy is important, and I was pleased to see CHINFO pick it up this morning. Noteworthy - the editorial mentions the CNO in making their case. Think these guys are focused on the sea?

In a strange twist, the Obama administration has required SourceForge to block IP addresses from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Very odd. I firmly believe disconnectedness defines danger, and this policy and its associated sanctions are stupid. Connectivity to the rest of the world, and to each other, is preferable to disconnected approaches online. These sanctions won't work, and will probably backfire.

After all, nothing can stop China from creating a SourceForge mirror site, and letting countries blocked in the US access the same software from servers hosting software there. It would make the US government calls for free speech online and "Internet Freedom" resonate as hypocrisy around the world, and in particular China.

We really need better ideas than disconnected solutions when addressing policy online, because restricting open source marketplaces online due to economic sanctions is idiotic governance, and counterproductive to the interests of the United States.

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