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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More