News / Asia

Clinton: Google's China Hacking Claims 'Very Serious'

Passengers look through windows on a bus painted with an  advertisement Google in Beijing, China, (FILE PHOTO)
Passengers look through windows on a bus painted with an advertisement Google in Beijing, China, (FILE PHOTO)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says that Google's allegations of Chinese hacking of its email system are "very serious" and will be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Clinton told reporters on Thursday the Obama administration was disturbed by the charges, which the Internet giant says include breaches of email accounts belonging to senior U.S. officials.

Listen to Clinton's statement on Google's hacking allegation

The Chinese government has strongly rejected the claim, calling it "unacceptable" for Google to blame China for trying to steal the email account passwords of top U.S. government officials, Chinese activists and journalists.

To learn more about what's behind this latest confrontation between Beijing and Google, VOA's Victor Beattie spoke with Jeremy Goldkorn, a media researcher, consultant and operator of the website Danwei.org.

Who do you think the hackers could be?

"The hackers who are alleged to have committed this latest attack on Google users, on gmail users, may or may not be government employees. I would be very surprised if the people who did the hack actually worked for the government. It doesn't mean that they're not in touch with the government, it doesn't mean that they're somehow not associated with the government. But they may very well be citizens either acting on their own or in some kind of loose collaboration with one or another government agency. It makes it very difficult to understand who they are [and] pin them down. And it makes it very difficult to talk to the Chinese government about what's going on."

What do you think they are looking for?

"Judging from the statements made by Google, it looks like they were gathering intelligence on the activities of foreign nationals, particularly those in government jobs. And also possibly on journalists and activists who are operating in China."

And what would they do with this information?

"I don't know. I would imagine certainly in the case of activists and journalists, there's a lot of interest in China in the moment about what activists and journalists are up to because the  government is very suspicious of both of these groups being in an attempt to launch a so-called 'Jasmine Revolution' in China.  So, bearing in mind what's been going on in China the last few months, this would seem to me to possibly be an aim of these hacks. But aside from that, it's only speculation."

What is the future of independent search engines in China?

"Google, whose server for their Chinese service is no longer in China and have been losing market share ever since they pulled the server from the mainland and moved it to Hong Kong, is a small part of the search engines' scene here.  The biggest one here in Baidu.com, which has upwards of 70-percent of the user market share of search engines. They are an independent, publicly-listed company. They are not a government agency. And they appear to be operating in China without a problem."

Does that mean there is some flaw in Google's operation?

"It depends on what you mean by flaw. Google has had a very difficult time adapting to the local conditions in the Chinese market. And a big part of that is because the government regulates or interferes with Internet companies to a very great degree in China. So Internet companies are responsible for self-censoring their content. And if you're not willing to self-censor, you will not get a license to operate in China. Google eventually came to the point where they announced they weren't willing to carry on doing that. It is a very tough market by itself. It's not an easy market to operate in as a business. In addition to the problems of creating a successful Internet business here in a very competitive landscape, you also have the problem of a very great amount of government scrutiny and regulation."

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid