Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google may pull out of china after cyberattacks and will no longer censor results in China

Google has threatened to quit it's China operations citing a massive cyber attack on it's computers that originated there. As a result Google has said that they will no longer censor their search engine and may completely exit altogether. 

Google said that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human right activists, but that the attack also targeted 20 other large companies in the finance, technology, media and chemical sectors.

In a blog posting by David Drummond, the corporate development and chief legal officer, Google said that it had found a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China.”

He further went on to say "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."

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.

This is a good thing as a search engine it should be fair an unbiased. It can only then be called one. Censoring results to please the government was always the wrong move as it leads to other forms of censorship. And censorship falling into the wrong hands can further create a stranglehold on the situation. Google has done this in support of freedom and free speech. It has upheld it's core values as a company. 

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