ADOTAS – While its recent standoff with the Associated Press involves a power struggle over news content, Google is threatening to walk away from its China operations under far more noble pretenses.
According to a post by David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, on the Google Blog, in mid-December the company detected a cyber attack on not only its corporate infrastructure but also at least 20 other large companies.
The offensive originated in China and appeared to have a rather devious intent related to Google — accessing the email accounts of Chinese human rights activists. The Chinese government has a pretty tarnished human rights record and a reputation for stalking and imprisoning citizens that would bring it up. According to Drummond, the attacks failed for the most part; the little data gleaned by the invaders was basic account information.
In light of these attacks, Google has decided to abandon its practice of self-censoring search results on Google.cn, something the company uneasily agreed to when initializing operations in China in 2006. Google will discuss the feasibility of continuing operations in the country — Drummond said the company is prepared to abandon their China offices and shut down Google.cn.
“The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences,” Drummond concludes. “We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today.”