Google Has Heated Internal Debate Over China
Google's recent threat to cut service to China "was an intensely personal decision," reported the Wall Street Journal this Thursday.
The company reported Tuesday a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on their servers had originated from China in attempt to breach the accounts of human rights activists within the country. In response, Google has reconsidered their willingness to continue operations within China.
Google's search engine operates behind a veil of censorship in China, creating a major point of contention for many with their eyes on the tech scene. The internal debate in Google seems to mirror the external one. Google CEO Eric Schmidt argued for the company's continued presence in and cooperation with China, while co-founder Sergey Brin "could no longer justify" bending to China's whims.
These opposing viewpoints are essentially microcosms of larger foreign policy debates regarding China. Do we refuse to work with the government until they adopt policies more amenable to American ideals, or do cooperate with the government for now and try to slowly influence the government's policy through a continued presence?
As a tech company, Google's influence is clearly limited, but this decision is still an important one. With Google's position as a leading figure in the tech sector, the company's response to China may prove influential throughout the business world. At the very least, it'll certainly get people talking.