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80,259 News Articles

Internet versus the government

When countries try to stop the public accessing the web

The web makes it far easier to access information than ever before. However, this causes a problem for governments if the information in question consists of state secrets, copyrighted material or is simply something authorities don't want its citizens to see. We've rounded up five battles over information that governments have waged against tech companies over the past decade.

China vs Google

Search engine giant Google has always had a somewhat rocky relationship with the Chinese government, but tensions between the two really blew up earlier this year when Google revealed that it had come under a cyber attack widely believed to have come from the Chinese government itself. In threatening to bolt China, Google said that it was "no longer willing to continue censoring" its search results to please the government and that it would start redirecting traffic to its uncensored Hong Kong version of the search engine.

Google has since relented in its decision to redirect traffic to an unfiltered search engine and the company is still actively looking for ways to please Chinese censors so that it can continue operations within the country. No matter how much Google may shout and complain, it seemingly can't quit China.

Winner: China

The US vs WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks, an online document archive for classified information, has been on the US government's radar since at least 2008, when the US Army and Counter-intelligence centre published a report outlining the website's threat to national security. The site didn't start garnering serious attention from both the government and the public at large, however, until it released more than 92,000 classified documents related to the war in Afghanistan, some of which showed that the Pakistani government had been working with the Taliban against in the United States. The massive leaks have led to hawkish pundits such as the American Enterprise Institute's Marc Thiessen to call for using "intelligence and military assets" to bring WikiLeaks down.

Winner: WikiLeaks so far. All bets are off if Obama takes Thiessen's advice and starts launching predator drones at WikiLeaks servers, however.

NEXT PAGE: United Arab Emirates vs Research in Motion

  1. It's not just the UAE authority kicking up a stink
  2. China vs Google
  3. United Arab Emirates vs Research in Motion


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