Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wants the U.S. and European governments to nudge China to cease its censorship of the Internet because it restricts free trade. The Internet sector is vital to Google's hopes for international expansion. China boasts more than 400 million Web users and Baidu is the leading search engine in mainland China. Censorship in the form of the Great Firewall of China has been a long-standing complaint about China from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other companies looking to extend their tendrils in Asia.
Google wants the U.S. and European governments to nudge
China to cease its censorship of the Internet, the search engine's lead lawyer
told the Associated Press
Drummond, chief legal officer and senior vice president of corporate
development at Google, June 9 said that China's censorship restricts
free trade for the Web, where Google is hungry to expand in China.
Western governments should defend the free trade for the Internet with the same
kind of rules that they use to complain of China's sale of products below cost,
Censorship in the form of the Great Firewall of China has been a long-standing complaint about China
from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other companies looking to extend their
tendrils in Asia while enjoying the same fair trade rules they enjoy in the
The sticky issue reared its head again in January when
Google said it
discovered a cyber attack
originating from China in which users Gmail accounts
Threatening to cease doing business in China entirely,
in March shuttled its Chinese search operations to the region of Hong Kong
which doesn't follow the same censorship restrictions as mainland China.
Shortly after this move,
Google co-founder Sergey Brin told The Guardian
he hoped the U.S. would make
China's Web censorship a "high priority."
While the U.S. publicly supported Google's position, little
has happened on this front.
In country, U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration
are dealing with issues such as the Deepwater Horizon
oil rig disaster, in which thousands of barrels of crude oil
are blotting the Gulf of Mexico each day.
Drummond called the hack attack the "final
straw" and reinforced the company's stance
that China's censorship restricts free trade.
"Censorship, in addition to being a human rights
problem, is a trade barrier," said Drummond, according to the AP. "If
you look at what China does - the censorship, of course, is for political
purposes but it is also used as a way of keeping multinational companies
disadvantaged in the market."
"It should be obvious that the Internet sector is
very important to the west and so we should be working on seeing that that kind
of trade is protected."
Holding sway in China is crucial to Google's
hopes for international expansion. China boasts more than 400 million Web users
and Baidu is the leading search engine in mainland China. Being marginalized at
Google.hk won't do anything to help Google challenge the incumbent there.
The U.S. could make a case versus China with the World
Trade Organization, though Drummond wouldn't go so far as to suggest that.
say he received some support in the U.S., French and German governments and
with the European Union executive for pressing Google's case against Chinese