A new approach to China
1/12/2010 03:00:00 PM
Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of
varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a
highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate
infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of
intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that
what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a
significant one--was something quite different.
First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our
investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large
companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet,
finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly
targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those
companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.
Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the
attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights
activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack
did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have
been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information
(such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather
than the content of emails themselves.
Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on
Google, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-,
China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights
in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties.
These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at
Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the
We have already used information gained from this attack to make
infrastructure and architectural improvements that enhance security
for Google and for our users. In terms of individual users, we would
advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs
on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and
to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on
links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share
personal information like passwords online. You can read more here
about our cyber-security recommendations. People wanting to learn more
about these kinds of attacks can read this U.S. government report
(PDF), Nart Villeneuve's blog andthis presentation on the GhostNet
We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these
attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and
human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because
this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate
about freedom of speech. In the last two decades, China's economic
reform programs and its citizens' entrepreneurial flair have lifted
hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this
great nation is at the heart of much economic progress and development
in the world today.
We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits
of increased access to information for people in China and a more open
Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results.
At the time we made clear that "we will carefully monitor conditions
in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services.
If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined
we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China."
These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with
the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the
web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of
our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer
willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over
the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government
the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within
the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to
shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.
The decision to review our business operations in China has been
incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-
reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven
by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or
involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard
to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working
responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.
Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal
Facilitator, Strategy Project
mobile: 918 200-WIKI (9454)
Imagine a world in which every human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
Today Wikimedia's world-wide five-minute-average transmission rate
crossed 10gbit/sec for the first time ever, as far as I know. This
peak rate was achieved while serving roughly 91,725 requests per
This fantastic news is almost coincident with Wikipedia's 9th
anniversary on January 15th.
In casual units, a rate of 10gbit/sec is roughly equivalent to 5 of
the US Library of Congress per day (using the common 1 LoC = 20 TiB
units). Wikimedia's 24 hour average transmission rate is now over
5.4gbit/sec, or 2.6 US LoC/day.
A snapshot of the traffic graph on this historic day can be seen here:
Ten years ago many traditional information sources were turning
electronic, and possibly locking out the unlimited use previously
enjoyed by public libraries. It seemed to me that closed pay-per-use
electronic databases would soon dominate all other sources of factual
information. At the same time, the public seemed to be losing much of
its interest in the more intellectually active activities such as
reading. So if someone told me then that within the decade one of the
most popular websites in the world would be a free content
encyclopedia, consisting primarily of text, or that the world would
soon be consuming over 50 terabytes of compressed educational material
per day—I never would have believed them.
The growth and success of the Wikimedia projects is an amazing
accomplishment, both for the staff and volunteers keeping the
infrastructure operating efficiently as well as the tens of thousands
of volunteers contributing this amazing corpus. This success affirms
the importance of intellectual endeavours in our daily lives and
demonstrates the awesome power of people working together towards a
Congratulations to you all.
> On Jan 8, 2010, at 7:02 PM, David Gerard wrote:
> Currently we're in talks with WM-DE, so they will provision some
> storage for long-term archives of raw data, and we will probably add
> image view statistics then. Good stuff, right?
Talking about which: Wikimedia CH has just provided some infrastructure
for the short-term storage of this data -- that is, in order to make
sure that it is kept until some long term storage can be arranged (it
will work also for the longer term, as a backup copy, but it does not
currently allow for easy access to people who need it, so another
solution would be better).
Thanks to Mathias Schindler, we have a copy of the data starting from
December 2007. I am currently getting bits and pieces of this data from
different places (e.g. the dataset on Amazon) in order to make sure that
we don't have gaps (a few files are corrupted, but we don't know yet if
they were corrupted from the start or were corrupted during one of the
transfers). All data for 2009 is also stored on the toolserver, but
space there is constrained at the moment.
I know we haven't discussed this proposal on the list for quite a while but
I wanted to invite everyone to join the discussion and vote on the current
Global Sysop proposal on Meta. The vote started on January 1st 2010 and is
scheduled to end at 23:59 January 31st 2010 (UTC). You can see the proposal
here <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Global_sysops> and vote on the voting
page <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Global_sysops/Vote>. Discussion is
currently split between the comments section of the voting page and
discussion page <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Global_sysops>.
To be eligible to vote you should be logged into a registered account:
with 150 edits and
Registered before October 1st 2009
100 gmail invites and no one to give them to :( let me know if you want one
> On Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 12:53 PM, Nathan <nawrich(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi folks, just curious - is the appeal from Jimmy going to be the
> > standard banner for the remainder of the fundraiser?
> It looks like we're also running a "Last chance to donate to Wikipedia
> in 2009" banner at 20% on the English Wikipedia, but Jimmy's appeal is
> still the "standard banner".
> I'm pretty sure that we're going to continue running the Jimmy Appeal
> until around Monday, and then we're switching to a general thank you
> banner (with a link to Jimmy's thank you letter).
> > Congratulations,
> > by the way, on the success of the drive thus far - it has raised 92%
> > of the annual goal, or $6.498M, according to the fundraiser statistics
> > page. Despite early hiccups with the banner content, this fundraiser
> > appears to be (by a wide margin) the most successful in Wikimedia's
> > history.
> Casey Brown
Not before the foundation wastes another $250,000 to get some company
to tell us to do stuff that doesnt work :)
I wonder if the foundation kept the reciept? Reckon we can get an exchange
Add your Gmail and Yahoo! Mail email accounts into Hotmail - it's easy
Pardon me if this has been asked before, but I am curious to learn
whether Bonfire Media paid any sort of licensing fee to the Wikimedia
Foundation in order to use the Wikipedia brand name in commerce on its
I do know that Bonfire founder, Alex Poon, donated $1,111 to the
Wikimedia Foundation in 2008, but that can't be construed as a
licensing deal, I'm sure.
I look forward to any info anyone might be able to provide.
The bidding process for Wikimania 2011 is now open for business!
* February 8, 2010 (0:01 UTC): Bidding creation ends. List of running
WHAT THIS MEANS: if you want to bid, create a page on Meta (see below)
and add your city to the list. Your bid does not have to say anything
beyond "we're bidding!" at this point. New bids will not be accepted
after this date, however.
* March 29, 2010 (0:00 UTC): Bidding ends. All major information on
bidding pages must be finalized.
WHAT THIS MEANS: your bid must be complete! all information about your
proposed venue, accommodation, key team, etc. should be posted. Minor
changes (updated information, background information) will be accepted
after this date, but the critical parts of the bid should be finished.
* March 31 - April 12: Refining of bids and answering questions.
WHAT THIS MEANS: you can clarify unclear parts and add updated
information. Suddenly divulging a new venue is not ok, though.
* April 12: Question & Answer from jury ends
* April 13 - April 26: Jury deliberation.
* April 27, 2010: Announcement of host city to public.
The early timeline means that (if followed) hopefully representatives
of the winning bid will be able to attend this year's Wikimania in
Gdansk, which is very helpful for organizers.
To file a bid, follow these directions:
The criteria for bids, with a few minor changes from last year, are here:
Previous winning bids can be found linked on Meta:
All winning bids have shared certain characteristics: a strong
community-based team with defined roles and leadership, a thoughtful
budget, careful consideration of the spaces Wikimania will be in, an
attention to detail and to all of the criteria, and a willingness to
improve on the last conference.
That page also has links to the suggestions for improvement that
people have made after each conference. These follow patterns too and
can be helpful to review.
As a bid team, it can be helpful to articulate -- both for yourselves
and the jury -- what you want Wikimania to be and what you envision it
being for the community.
All members of the community should feel free to discuss and analyze
bids as they are developed; this is not a sealed process. Members of
the jury have to carefully review each bid, and having any unclear
areas pointed out and discussed (and fixed) ahead of time can be very
Finally, if you have any questions or suggestions or comments on the
bidding process, as always, post them to the talk page:
If you have any questions for the Wikimania jury specifically, please
email them to me or to James Forrester and we will pass them along to
the private jury mailing list. All private communications with the
jury are confidential.
best regards, and good luck --
Wikimania 2011 jury moderator (non-voting)
on behalf of the 2011 jury:
* I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers
<at> gmail.com *
(Previous post was truncated due to a "From" bug.)
Is anyone working on another Wikipedia Academy, following on the
success of the NIH one in July?
Recalling from the Signpost:
--- Wedemeyer commented how important it was that the organizers
maintain connections with the participants afterwards, to encourage
the NIH to make a real commitment to Wikipedia. The organizers also
look forward to more such endeavors. Broughton suggested that the
"Foundation should try to do lots and lots of these. We could
justifiably have an Academy at every major university and college in
the world." However, as Wedemeyer emphasized in an interview for this
story, it will, more than likely, be the volunteer organizers who make
this happen rather than the Foundation. As he wrote, "based on the
experience of this Academy, they don't seem ready to run such
workshops themselves at present." ---
Have the connections with participants afterwards been maintained?
And, I'm curious to know why Wedemeyer felt that the Foundation
doesn't "seem ready" to run such workshops. What is that all about?