Google vs. China analysis wins journalism award

By Byron V. Acohido

LastWatchdog has won another prestigious journalism award for shedding light and fostering discussion on  cybersecurity and privacy topics.

The cover story we produced describing the wider context of Google’s threat to pull out of China (which revolved around disclosoures about Operation Aurora) received the 2011 Excellence in Financial Journalism Award from the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

The winning entry is titled “How China Does Business.”

You may recall how Google  stirred an international dust-up in early 2010 by threatening to pull up stakes in China because of cyber attacks and censorship.

As this story was unfolding, LastWatchdog, with help from journalists Calum MacLeod and Kathy Chu, tapped sources domestically as well as in Beijing and Hong Kong. We quickly got a read on a developing consensus: China was not about to placate Google, and the search giant appeared to be finished in China.

The story line did, in fact, play out that way over ensuing months, as this video, produced by, depicts:

However, in the days after Google made its move, confusion and misconceptions abounded.

Google drew global attention to long-simmering controversies surrounding China’s involvement in cyber espionage and human rights violations, not to mention it’s effective use of old-fashioned East vs. West power-brokering.

LastWatchdog directed the reporting team as we assembled examples of how China imposes restrictions and surveillance on outsiders — as well as on its own people — in order to promote and control the growth of Western-style, Internet-driven commerce.

We wove in the voices of all key stakeholders: human rights activists, cyber security experts, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, even the proverbial man on the street — in Beijing.

The NYSSCPA lauded us for delivering a rich piece of explanatory journalism, spun off an evolving news event, to vividly illustrate how China has become the largest foreign lender to the United States.

Other awards

Other recognition LastWatchdog has received for journalistic coverage of  cybersecurity and privacy issues include:


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