Google has announced on their blog that it will no longer be censoring its Chinese search engine. The implication may be that Google will no longer have a presence in China and loose significant revenues. Google mentions a number of instances of Chinese accounts being hacked:
“In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.”
Google writes that it was not just Google that was attacked, they claim at least twenty oter large companies were affected. The attackers tried to access the Gmail accounts of Chines human rights activists by breaching Google security (it appears the attacks did not succeed). A number of other accounts have also been accessed. In the Blogpost Google is positive about the developments in China before explaining the reasons for acting against the atttacks on the accounts:
“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. We have decided 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. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our 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. 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. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.”
Responses from the media community have so far been supportive saying that Google may finally be able to live up to its ‘don’t be evil’ slogan. If the standoff continues and more companies follow the implications for the Media industry could be significant.
Picture: www.sxc.hu | Mouse fight | Alexandre Saito