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‘澳门新新甫京’谷歌祸不单行 身陷政治风暴
本文摘要:Google regularly tops the list of companies that students want to work for and, visiting its Silicon Valley campus last week, I could see why. The skies were blue, the temperature was perfect. A group of employees was playing volleyball, while out in the car-park somebody was demonstrating a prototype of a self-driving Google car.谷歌(Google)常常名列学生期望为之工作的公司榜首。

Google regularly tops the list of companies that students want to work for and, visiting its Silicon Valley campus last week, I could see why. The skies were blue, the temperature was perfect. A group of employees was playing volleyball, while out in the car-park somebody was demonstrating a prototype of a self-driving Google car.谷歌(Google)常常名列学生期望为之工作的公司榜首。上周在参观了谷歌坐落于硅谷(Silicon Valley)的园区之后,我告诉了这其中的原因。天空蔚蓝,温度适合。


一群谷歌员工旗号排球,有人在外面的停车场上展出着谷歌无人驾驶汽车的样车。Amid all the fun, Google has emerged as one of the five largest companies in the world, measured by market capitalisation. The largest, Apple, is about 20 minutes drive down the road. Facebook, another giant, is in a nearby suburb.在享用所有体验的同时,谷歌已沦为全球市值最低的五家公司之一。

市值最低的苹果(Apple)距谷歌大约20分钟的车程。另一个巨头Facebook,坐落于附近的一个郊区。Yet the Silicon Valley idyll is increasingly being disturbed by political storms blowing in from foreign lands. The world’s students may aspire to work for Google. But the world’s politicians seem to want to bring the company to heel.不过,硅谷的田园生活于是以日益被异域刮来的政治风暴所避免出现。

全世界的学生有可能都渴求为谷歌工作。但是,全世界的政治人士或许都期望被迫该公司屈服。This month saw the announcement that the European Commission in Brussels is charging Google with violations of competition law. Potentially, the charges threaten the company with a choice between massive fines or costly modifications to its business model.本月,坐落于布鲁塞尔的欧盟委员会(European Commission)宣告,将控告谷歌违背竞争法。控告可能会导致该公司面对两种自由选择:巨额罚款或以高昂代价改动其商业模式。

Europe is not the only source of trouble. Most western multinationals see the Chinese market as crucial to their futures. But Google, along with Facebook andTwitter, is effectively shut out by the country’s “Great Firewall” that blocks internet access.欧洲并非唯一一个给谷歌生产困难的地方。多数西方跨国公司都把中国市场视作自己未来发展的关键。但是,谷歌,还有Facebook和Twitter,实质上皆被中国切断网络入口的“长城防火墙”(Great Firewall)拒之门外。

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley’s close relations with the Obama administration have got a lot tenser sinceEdward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of US government snooping on the internet.与此同时,自爱德华斯诺登(Edward Snowden)揭发美国政府监控互联网的程度以来,硅谷与奥巴马当局的密切关系早已紧绷了许多。The Snowden affair seems to have galvanised those who believe there is something sinister about the power of Silicon Valley. French critics came up with the acronym, “Gafa” (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), to encapsulate America’s evil internet empire. As the acronym suggests, it is often Google that is placed first in the firing line. Company executives were aghast when the British government decided to crack down on alleged tax avoidance by multinationals and the new measures were dubbed the “Google tax”.斯诺登事件或许激励了那些指出硅谷有种恶魔力量的人。法国抨击人士想起了一个首字母简写词——“Gafa”(谷歌、苹果、Facebook以及亚马逊(Amazon))来总结美国的恶魔互联网帝国。



One theory is that Google has attracted particular attention simply because it is the most ubiquitous name in Silicon Valley. (Not everybody can afford an iPhone, but Google is free to anyone with internet access). Another argument is that the breadth of Google’s activities means it is upsetting incumbents all over the world — whether it is newspapers angered by Google News; media companies threatened by YouTube (owned by Google); publishers that hate Google books; or car manufacturers who see driverless cars on the roads and worry that even their industry is vulnerable to the Valley.一种众说纷纭是,只是由于谷歌是硅谷最无处不在的名字,因此它更有了十分注目。(并不是每一个人都负担得起iPhone,但是谷歌对所有网民都是免费的)。另一种观点是,谷歌业务的广度意味著它让世界各地、各领域的现有公司都深感烦躁——无论是被谷歌新闻(Google News)伤痕累累的报纸;受到YouTube(归谷歌所有)威胁的媒体公司;憎恶谷歌图书(Google books)的出版商;还是在大街上看见无人驾驶汽车、担忧甚至汽车行业也逃不过硅谷魔掌的汽车制造商。

Some European politicians have been explicit in their concerns that the success of the US internet giants poses a direct threat to Europe. Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor, worried aloud last year that “this (digital) infrastructure will be controlled by a handful of American internet concerns, which could dominate the economic life of the 21st century.”一些欧洲政治人士具体回应了自己的忧虑——美国互联网巨头的顺利对欧洲构成了必要威胁。去年,德国副总理西格马尔加布里尔(Sigmar Gabriel)曾公开发表回应了忧虑,称之为“这个(数字化)基础设施将可控于美国少数互联网康采恩,它们可能会主导21世纪的经济生活。

”One of the most vociferous corporate critics of Google is the Axel Springer publishing group in Germany, a powerful voice in Berlin and Brussels, and which provided crucial support for the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as the head of the European Commission.对谷歌抨击最激烈的企业是德国出版发行集团斯普林格集团(Axel Springer)。该集团在柏林和布鲁塞尔都具有强劲的话语权,在让-克洛德容克(Jean-Claude Juncker)竞选欧盟委员会主席时获取了至关重要的反对。


President Obama seemed to buy the idea that US internet companies are the victims of European protectionism, when he argued recently that — “We (America) have owned the internet. Our companies have created it, expanded it, perfected it, in ways they can’t compete.” What Mr Obama did not add is that the US government itself has done much to damage Silicon Valley. The Snowden affair has firmly established the idea that any internet search, email or post is open to surveillance, either by the government or by the likes of Google and Facebook.美国总统奥巴马或许拒绝接受了美国互联网企业是欧洲保护主义的受害者这一观点,最近他认为——“我们(美国)享有互联网。我们的企业,以他们(欧洲)无法相媲美的方式,建构、不断扩大并完备了互联网。”奥巴马没有补足的是,美国政府本身也做到过许多有损硅谷的事。

斯诺登事件让人们产生了一个忠诚的点子——任何互联网搜寻、电子邮件或者帖子皆是不受监控的,要么不受政府监控,要么不受谷歌和Facebook之类的公司监控。Google and other internet giants vehemently deny that they ever gave governments the keys to a secret back door into their data. Indeed, they complain that they were themselves the victims of snooping. In an effort to regain consumer trust, the Silicon Valley firms are emphasising their new encryption technologies and privacy safeguards. But the damage is done. Concern about government snooping has become intertwined with anxiety about the commercial use of data by firms such as Google. That, in turn, has fed the appetite for the regulation of the internet.谷歌及其他互联网巨头皆极力坚称曾向政府获取转入其数据库秘密后门的钥匙。事实上,它们责怪称之为,自己也是监控的受害者。


这反过来又推展了人们对互联网监管的渴求。All of this political heat appears to have come as an unpleasant surprise to the company, which seems genuinely to believe that it lives by the motto of its founders: “Don’t be evil.” Yet the real surprise is that the political backlash did not come sooner. Google proclaims its mission is “to organise the world’s information”. But, as the saying goes, “information is power”. And power has traditionally been the province of politicians.环绕此事的所有政治热度,奇特都以令人不悦的车祸经常出现在谷歌面前,而这家公司或许知道坚信自己仍然遵循着其创始人的格言——“不害人”(Don’t be evil)。不过,确实令人车祸的是这种政治对付未在早的时候来临。谷歌声称自己的愿景是“的组织全世界的信息”。

但是,常言道,“信息就是力量”。而权力仍然都是政治人士的地盘。Some argue that it is better that “elected politicians”, not business people, should take decisions about the flow of information and data. But some of the political figures most eager to take on Google — like the Chinese government and even the European Commission — are not, in fact, elected. And while nobody voted for the engineers and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, more than a billion customers have voted with their fingers by clicking on Google products. That is the kind of vote of confidence that most politicians can only dream of.有人指出,最差应当让“议会选举出来的政治人士”,而不是商界人士,来对信息和数据流做出要求。但是,事实上,最渴求与谷歌对决的政治人物中,有些并不是议会选举产生的,比如中国政府以及欧盟委员会。