China has moved to block Google+ just a day after it was released, but while many are claiming it is all part of a communist plot to crack down on dissent this time Beijing has a very good reason for doing so.
For those who came in late, Google+ is that outfit's attempt at social notworking. Social notworking is seen as a major threat for autocratic governments because it allows its populations to share information and gossip. It would seem obvious that the Chinese might be a little scared about allowing a social network system in the country, particularly one run by Google, which it has had a few spats with.
However recently it was revealed by Microsoft that cloud based operations in other countries, which are run by American companies, are under the control of the US Patriot Act. This means that all the US has to do to spy on anyone in China is to show up to Google with a court order and that outfit is obligated to hand over information. The CIA can even get a gagging order so that the person being spied on does not know.
This makes any US company doing business in China, or even having a server based there, liable to be turned into spooks for the Americans. No wonder the Chinese have told Google to sling its hook.