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Posted by on Jan 12, 2010 in Breaking News, International, Science & Technology | 3 comments

Google Threatens Pullout of China Over Breach

NYTimes Bits Blog:

In a calm and understated blog post, Google said Tuesday that it had recently come under an unusual cyberattack from China. The Web giant said the attack was very different from previous ones because it was aimed at Chinese dissidents’ Gmail accounts, dozens of which were compromised.

From that Google blog post:

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 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, 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, 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 the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

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Copyright 2010 The Moderate Voice
  • wow. good for Google.

  • Jim_Satterfield

    Kudos if they carry through with it. Because I think that the Chinese government’s response to the idea of an uncensored Google is a foregone conclusion.

  • I’m not sure how China will react. They first tried to keep FAX out, then email, so they could control all access to news. But that’s impossible. Then they prevented open access to the internet, but that would cripple their plans to attract international business travelers. Now they have the weird hybrid of censored internet for the masses with unrestricted internet (or nearly so) for the international hotel chain. They have had to face the facts. If an American or British businessman can’t connect to his office through VPN or other private means, they simply won’t go to China. It won’t be a business destination unless they can do business there. That is China’s dilemma on this issue. You want in to the global business club or not? I predict ultimately the only places that will continue to keep information out by government restriction will be those that actually WANT isolation. And of course, even they will fail, as the tide of technology just can’t be kept at bay (witness Twitter and Iran, for example).

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