Reports Arrive Showing Gmail and Service Provision Blocking in China
For a growing array of users, Google's Internet and cloud services are the backbone of how they stay connected, productive and informed. From Gmail to the Google Cloud Platform, Google has established Internet and cloud service standards around the world -- but in China, not so much.
That's what a new batch of third-party reports and missives from Google itself seem to imply. The reports claim that China may be blocking Google's Gmail service in a move to restrict foreign service provision.
Dyn Research has a post up noting that China has an IP-level block of Gmail.com when served from Hong Kong. And a snapshot of Google's own traffic data for China shows a very steep decline in recent days, as seen in Google's Transparency Report, when filtered by region.
"On January 12, we announced on this blog that Google and more than twenty other U.S. companies had been the victims of a sophisticated cyber attack originating from China, and that during our investigation into these attacks we had uncovered evidence to suggest that the Gmail accounts of dozens of human rights activists connected with China were being routinely accessed by third parties, most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on their computers. We also made clear that these attacks and the surveillance they uncovered—combined with attempts over the last year to further limit free speech on the web in China including the persistent blocking of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs and Blogger—had led us to conclude that we could no longer continue censoring our results on Google.cn."
The U.S. government has also gotten involved in previous opposition to Chinese Intenet policies from Google.
In many regions including China, where Internet policies can be restrictive, there are users who turn to online anonymity tools to keep their tracks unfindable, but use of these tools can have severe legal consequences. We wrote more about that trend, and the Tor network in particular, in this post.