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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

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