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China's ominous Google ultimatum
China issues a dark warning to Google after accusations that Chinese hackers tried to crack U.S. government Gmail accounts. Should Google be worried?
 
Google's offices in Beijing: Google and China's tumultuous relationship is once again being rattled, after the tech giant accused Chinese hackers of trying to break into Gmail accounts.
Google's offices in Beijing: Google and China's tumultuous relationship is once again being rattled, after the tech giant accused Chinese hackers of trying to break into Gmail accounts.
Xing Guangli/Xinhua Press/Corbis

Last week, Google accused Chinese hackers of trying to break into the Gmail accounts of top U.S. government officials, Chinese human rights activists, and journalists, among others. On Monday, China hit back hard, with a front page editorial in the official People's Daily newspaper warning that Google should be wary of "playing the role of a tool for political contention," because "when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace." Should Google take this threat seriously? (Watch a report about the ongoing battle.)

This will hurt Google's business: "Google has had a rocky relationship with China since January 2010," when it got in a fight over Chinese censorship, says Sean Ludwig in VentureBeat. But this new salvo puts Google in an even more "precarious position." Despite the "back-and-forth bickering," Google would still "surely like to have a hand in China's quickly growing market." Clearly, those lucrative opportunities are at risk.
"China warns Google after hacking accusations"

Someone's got to stand up to China: "It would be simply stupid to prod the Chinese government if you have hopes of doing business there," says Larry Dignan in ZDNet. Indeed, Hotmail and Yahoo! were hacked, too, and said nothing. But "Google's business in China is toast — or getting there," so it will probably ignore the criticism and continue to call out China for its cyber-belligerence. At least that's good for the U.S. and global cybersecurity.
"China warns Google over attack claims: Does it matter though?"

We should all fear an "information-age Cold War": "It doesn't take much imagination" to see that China is threatening to "squash Google out of existence" as soon as it can, using "military enforcement if necessary," says Alex Moore in Death + Taxes. And since the U.S. recently said that it might respond to cyber-attacks with "acts of military war," this could be the beginning of an "information-age Cold War." Google merely got "caught right in the middle."
"China warns Google: Don't be evil"

 

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