Google has vowed to defy Chinese Internet censors and risk banishment from the lucrative market in outrage at “highly sophisticated” cyberattacks aimed at Chinese human rights activists.
China-based cyber spies struck the Internet giant and at least 20 other unidentified firms in an apparent bid to hack into the email accounts of activists around the world, according to Google.
The online espionage has Google reconsidering its business operations in China and it said it will no longer filter Internet search engine results in that country.
“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,” Google chief legal officer David Drummond said in a blog post.
“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,” he said.
Drummond said Google realizes that defying Chinese government demands regarding filtering Internet search engine results may mean having to shut down its operations in China.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Beijing Tuesday to explain cyberattacks originating from China against Google and at least 20 other firms.
“We look to the Chinese government for an explanation,” Clinton said.
Human rights activists hailed Google, voicing hope it would lead Western companies to reconsider their compromises in doing business in China.