Yesterday, Google reacted strongly to what it alleges is widespread surveillance by the Chinese government of the gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists all over the world.
According to a blog post on the Official Google blog posted on January 12 2010, Google detected “a highly sophisticated and targeted attack” on their corporate infrastructure originating from China in mid December 2009. Google alleges that the cyber attack was successful in stealing intellectual property. In addition, Google discovered that 20+ other large companies had also been targeted by the Chinese attack.
Further investigation by Google has allegedly revealed that the Chinese cyber attacks had as its real goal the hacking of gmail accounts belonging to Chinese human rights activists. This led Google to discover that many such gmail accounts had already been comprised and were regularly accessed by (unauthorised) third parties.
It is clear from Google’s post that they feel the Chinese government has abused the trust they once shared, and as a direct result of that breach in trust, Google has now decided that it is no longer prepared to dance with China. Google has announced that they are now no longer willing to offer a localised Google.cn, which is censored, and if that means ending its operations in China, then so be it.