Hacks cause Google to rethink China policy

Darren Allan

January 13, 2010

Google has decided that it will no longer censor search results in China, a policy review which is largely due to recent hacking activities that have originated from the country.

The malware in question, which attacked Google’s systems last month, sought to sniff out the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

Google said on its blog that a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.”

However, the search giant also makes it clear that the hackers didn’t achieve their objectives for the most part, and only a couple of Gmail accounts were accessed.

And even when it came to those, only very limited information – such as the date of account creation – was taken, and nothing sensitive such as the inbox or contact details were exposed.

The move to lift censorship on Chinese Google is certainly a big step. The company admits that if discussions with the Chinese government on how this can be implemented fail, as is quite probable, then it will likely lead to the closure of the Google 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,” Google commented.


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