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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.

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Filed Under: censorship, china, filtering, isp
Companies: google


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  • identicon
    Michael, 11 Sep 2014 @ 11:28am

    Wang Long

    I tried to google this guy and got nothing but porn sites. Thank goodness he doesn't live in Europe or there would be a very unfortunate "right to forget" request that could cripple internet porn...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stan (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:02pm

    "...when a judge asked about the access of Google's internal networks, an attorney for The NSA bashfully said he wasn't certain if he could say anything, evoking laughter from the Chinese government."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    LduN (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:02pm

    settlement

    Here's the deal they'll offer as a settlement:

    "You're right, we shouldn't have done that. Here take this deal and you'll win a stay at an all expense paid vacation at one of our best state-run relaxation/vacation facilites. You get to stay there for the rest of your life. Included in this package are 3 meals a day, some TV channels, an excercise room, a nice bed, a freindly* roommate, and much much more"

    *freindliness not garaunteed

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:06pm

      Re: settlement

      Here take this deal and you'll win a stay at an all expense paid vacation at one of our best state-run relaxation/vacation facilites.

      I thought the Chinese deals mostly involved running you over with a tank.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:33pm

    This Chinese citizen has no basis to sue. Even if Google wasn't directed to censor content that Chinese authorities find questionable, Google has the right to limit your access to their own content. As a user, you do not have an entitlement to the services of a website if they decide not to grant you that access.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:40pm

      Re:

      Except, this is about the ISP collaborating with the Chinese government to censor the customer's feed. It has nothing to do with Google's actions (as those of us who actually bothered to make the effort to, you know, READ THE ARTICLE, already know).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 6:29pm

      Re: tanaka san anata ha baka

      We want the Chinese people to have access to Google, we want them to become lazy, childish, antisocial and consumed with the need to watch anime, read manga, by too much expensive clothing and not have babies just like the young people in Japan today.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:47pm

    Mr. Long might be alright suing an ISP. If he tried to sue the Chinese Gov. he'd probably end up in a "re-education" camp. Which basically means 16 hour days of unpaid slave labor for a few years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2014 @ 3:29pm

    I think Google could chip in a legal team , he is after all promoting their products and services.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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