Google has threatened to withdraw from China following a computer network attack targeting its email service and corporate infrastructure. Google claimed to have proof suggesting that “a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists,” while noting that at least 20 other large firms have been targeted by similar attacks. U.S. officials have avoided leveling a public charge against China for the attacks because it is difficult to determine the assault’s origins with certainty. Google chief legal officer David Drummond says the hacks drove the company to “review the feasibility” of its Chinese operations, while realizing that this could entail the shutdown of Google.cn and Google’s China offices. He also says that Google has elected to halt its censoring of search results on Chinese Google sites, and over the next few weeks the company will engage in discussions with China on the possibility of running “an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all.” Center for Democracy and Technology president Leslie Harris lauds Google’s move, saying the company “has taken a bold and difficult step for Internet freedom in support of fundamental human rights.”
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