Google Ready to Leave China: ‘Don’t be Evil’ Pledge Strained by China’s Abuses
January 13, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-The search engine Google may have finally reached its breaking point with China’s censorship and human rights abuses. Google announced that it will stop censoring its search results in China, and is ready to leave the populous Communist country altogether, if a deal can’t be reached with the government. The final outrage occurred when Chinese hackers broke into at least 20 U.S. companies, to steal propriety information and breached Google’s Gmail to search for human rights activists working to expose China’s abuses.
Google established a presence in China four-years ago to take advantage of the billions of people in China who regularly use the Internet, censored as it is by the Chinese government. The search engine giant, agreed to abide by China’s strict censorship laws and blocked any material the government deemed objectionable. But Google received stinging criticism from human rights activists for its stance in China. And Google’s own shareholders said the company’s embrace of censorship violated the firm’s motto: “don’t be evil.”
The recent breach by hackers inside China, appears as if it’s a government-run operation, but Google declined to say whether the government was behind the hacking of major U.S. companies.
According to the account in the NY Times, U.S. security officials are investigating the Internet breaches:
“Without providing details, Google said it and at least 20 other major companies from the Internet, financial services, technology, media and chemical industries were targeted. The heist lifted some of Google’s intellectual property but didn’t get any information about the users of its services, the company said. Google has passed along what it knows so far to U.S. authorities and other affected companies.”
Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-CA) said the Chinese attacks ”raises serious national security concerns.”
Google also uncovered a major Chinese phishing campaign targeting international human rights activists:
“Google said dozens of activists fighting the Chinese government’s policies fell prey to ruses commonly known as ”phishing” or malware. The victims live in the United States, Europe and China.”
Even if China agrees to allow Google to provide unfiltered search results, the government can still block information with its own software. But at least Google won’t be in censorship business directly.
Danny O’Brien, international outreach coordinator at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, praised Google’s new stance, as an “incredibly significant move.”
Google claims the monetary loss from pulling out of China would be minimal, because its search engine is a distant second to China’s own Baidu.com.
David Drummond, Google’s top lawyer, wrote on Google’s blog on Tuesday acknowledging that leaving China was a big step. ‘The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences,” wrote Drummond.
See The New York Times for more.