Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google talks with Chinese government

Google has entered into discussions with China regarding censorship requirements for their Chinese search engine, Google.cn. Google initially agreed in 2006 to allow the Chinese government to censor its searches with the promise that should Chinese restrictions substantially clash with Google's vision of disseminating information, they would reconsider their agreement. On its official blog Google has announced that although China has not increased legal pressure, recent attempts to hack into the Gmail accounts of several prominent Chinese human rights advocates has it reconsidering their policy.

Google reports that hackers recently broke into the Gmail accounts of several Chinese human rights advocates living outside the country. Google believes that the attacks were mainly thwarted, however subject lines and creation dates from a couple of accounts may have been stolen. It also alleges that these hackers targeted other internet sights including finance, Internet, media, and chemical businesses using malware downloaded onto the users' computers.

Google decided that the attempted-hacks compromise their company vision of promoting human rights and will discuss these matters with China.

Google's talks marks only one of many debates about internet censorship in China. This summer China considered requiring the censoring software Green Dam on all computers. After significant controversy and opposition from scholars and intellectuals China changed course.

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