We recently discussed the advanced phishing attacks on Google accounts of numerous U.S. officials, military leaders, and journalists – not to mention Chinese activists – that originated from China. While Google never claimed that these attacks, or the ones that prompted the search giant to leave China altogether in early 2010, originated from the Chinese Government, that’s certainly the implication. And the Communist Party of the PRC is none too happy about that indirect accusation. They’ve stated, in official releases, that Google is unfairly maligning the Chinese Government and that China will not stand idly by and let this continue.
What exactly is being threatened is uncertain, with most of what’s being said implying that Google’s business could be hurt – no word on how – if they continue playing a political role. Given that Google has already withdrawn from China, the only further action that the Chinese Government could take within its own territory is to prevent redirection to any Google services from any Chinese web server.
According to official publications, however, China feels that Google has become a political tool, and that the company’s “accusations aimed at China are spurious, have ulterior motives, and bear malign intentions.” Further, they indicate that the statements were “deliberately pandering to negative Western perceptions of China.” While the idea of propaganda and counter-propaganda is certainly one worth bearing in mind, and one that’s popular throughout the history of communism, this does seem a fairly extreme reaction to statements that never even said it was the Chinese Government.
And Google, had they wished to, certainly could have been more specific. Tracking of phishing and other cyber-attacks on U.S. officials, especially those who work on China-related issues, have led numerous hacking experts to believe that the attacks originated either from the Chinese Government or groups that the Chinese Government controls.
[via Search Engine Land]
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!