Chinese ISP Sued By User Over Censorship Of Google Services
from the very-bold,-but-how-wise? dept
We wrote recently about evidence that China was deploying a sophisticated man-in-the-middle attack against Google for users of the country’s education network. That’s a reminder that for everyone else there, Google is just blocked completely. You might think there’s not much ordinary people can do about that, but an Internet user in China has taken the unusual step of suing his ISP, China Unicom, because of his inability to access Google services, as the New York Times reports:
Wang Long, a 26-year-old legal worker and activist in Shenzhen, said he brought the suit in July because he was unable to access products including Google Maps, Translate, Calendar and Scholar.
While many friends told him he was unlikely to win a case over state-directed censorship policies, Mr. Wang says that regardless of the outcome, the effort will draw attention to the restrictions and encourage others in China to push for greater access to online services.
As that points out, the censorship is mandated by the Chinese government, which places the ISP in an awkward position:
when a judge asked about the access problems, an attorney for China Unicom bashfully said he wasn’t certain if he could say anything, evoking laughter from supporters of Mr. Wang’s in attendance.
However, the worry must be that the relevant authorities might not find Wang’s decision to draw attention to online censorship in this way quite so funny. Let’s hope he doesn’t end up paying for his bold move over and above his legal costs.