US seeks China explanation over Google

Brisbane Times [AU]
January 21, 2010

The State Department is taking cyberattacks on Google and other US firms very seriously and is seeking an explanation from Beijing but it is not the “foreign policy arm of Google,” a US official said.

Alec Ross, the senior adviser for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also said that a speech Clinton is due to give on Thursday on internet freedom would not focus solely on China.

Speaking of the cyberattacks which internet giant Google said last week originated in China, Ross said: “I think it is important to emphasise the private nature of some of this.

“This is primarily an issue between Google and 30-plus other private entities and the Chinese government,” he said at the start of a panel discussion sponsored by the New America Foundation and Slate magazine.

“But we have responded with what I think is justifiable concern,” Ross said. “We’ve asked for an explanation.”

Ross added that the United States and China “have had conversations over the years where we’ve made clear our opinions both about the freedom of expression as well as cybersecurity.

“So we’re taking this very seriously,” he said.

“But all of that said, the State Department is not the foreign policy arm of Google,” he said.

“So while we will look to the Chinese for an explanation, we do need to engage in this appropriately, recognising the primacy of the role of the private sector actors within this,” Ross said.

Google has said it will no longer censor web search results in China following the cyberattacks, even if that means it has to shut down its operations in the world’s largest online market.

The article continues at the Brisbane Times.

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