– Daunted by a series of security breaches and continuing government censorship
of its search results, Google (NASD: GOOG) said that it is considering exiting the Chinese
market. The company, which entered China in early 2006, said that it
recently uncovered a "highly sophisticated and targeted" hack into
the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. The investigation
uncovered a larger pattern in which Google said that the accounts of dozens of
activists have been "routinely" accessed by third parties, either
through malware or phishing scams.
"These attacks and the surveillance
they have uncovered — combined with the attempts over the past year to further
limit free speech on the web — have led us to conclude that we should review
the feasibility of our business operations in China," David Drummond,
Google’s senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal
officer, wrote in a blog post.
Drummond added that the company is "no
longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn," and will
hold discussions with the Chinese government on possible ways that it could run
an unfiltered search engine.
"We recognize that this may well mean having
to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China," he said.