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)
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid