I watched the early evening news and listened to some Chinese say how Google has become a part of their life. I decide to write a blog about Google's exit from China... The first thing I do? Google "google closes operations in China." Nice.
The epitome of the dilemma of the policymaker, that is google.cn.
When the Chinese government imposed strict censorship controls, the regular internet user in China countered with software that can override or lessen the effects of these controls. While this is a foreseeable reaction, it is not forgivable. More than being foreseeable or forgivable, however, is the fact that these software are underground and, more often, unregulated.
If google.cn closes its operations and deactivates its portals, there would only be one winner and that would either be China or Google. It cannot never be the people who depend on the internet and on reliable search engines. And without regard to who wins this tug-of-war between two giants, there is only one thing that failed: balancing of interests.
All over the world, policymakers are facing a different kind of balancing: the one brought about by issues of a dynamic cyberspace. Given a choice between "all or nothing" in relation to the internet, most governments choose "all" and leave the filtering to micro-policymaking. For example, Country A grants internet access to its territory and leaves censorship controls to contact or first-hand internet access providers, like schools and universities, to set up a firewall.
So, the next question usually is: if governments wanted to balance why don't they choose a choice between "all" and "nothing"?
The answer is with google.cn.
In cyberspace, there probably is nothing (or everything) between "all" and "nothing" because in the end people would just choose what to do with internet access. In other words, once the government considers granting access to the world wide web they should be ready to give all. And by "ready" I mean demand-wise and security-wise. And by "all" I mean ALL.
When internet can be accessed, censorship controls can probably be skirted. So governments which adopt a stricter censorship policy should also adopt stricter security measures when this censorship policy or control is breached.
... Let's see. At www.greatfirewallofchina.org/test I see the following: "Because of the ever stricter measures of censorship China imposes in the Internet, the team of www.greatfirewallofchina.org can no longer vouch for the reliability of its test tool. We have therefore decided to to take the test tool offline." Haha.