On January 12, 2010, Google reported to the New York Times that a large cyber attack on its computers and corporate infrastructure had been ongoing for a month. It was later revealed that the hack included accessing numerous Gmail accounts and the theft of Google’s password system that controls access by upwards of 146 million users worldwide.
This Russia Times report was made almost 2 weeks later, on January 25, 2010. Although this outlet’s reporters speak fluent English, it is important to note that the angle of their reports represent a Russian point of view, which is not always in line with the way things are reported in the US media.
The female anchor announces, “After Google’s threat to pull out of China, the Chinese Communist Government accused the US Government of creating a ‘cyber army,'”
Tom Foremsky, editor of the online magazine, Silicon Valley Watcher, is asked what the Chinese are saying by this and he explains that the Google search engine contains wiretapping software, in compliance with US Search warrants and that while the US Government requested and enabled this technology, that it was the Chinese Government who hacked and stole it.
After threatening to do so for over two months, Google officially shut down its China-based search engine, allegedly because of the Chinese Government’s censorship of Google results. However, Foremsky offers the view that Google was probably embarrassed that their spyware had been hacked. Foremsky goes onto say that pulling out of China wouldn’t protect Google from this sort of cyber warfare any more than staying there, as it can be done from anywhere and that furthermore, it represented a huge loss of business for them.
For his part, Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin told a German news outlet: “For us it has always been a discussion about how we can best fight for openness on the Internet. We believe that this is the best thing that we can do for preserving the principles of the openness and freedom of information on the Internet.”
On September 13, 2010, the Electronic Privacy Information Center took the NSA to court, seeking a release of information about their relationship with Google.