US cable: China lead­ers or­dered hack­ing on Google

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

BEI­JING: Con­tacts told Amer­i­can di­plo­mats that hack­ing attacks against Google were or­dered by China's top rul­ing body and a se­nior leader de­manded ac­tion af­ter find­ing search re­sults that were crit­i­cal of him, leaked U.S. govern­ment memos show.

One memo sent by the U.S. Em­bassy in Bei­jing to Washington said a "well-placed con­tact" told di­plo­mats the Chi­nese govern­ment co­or­di­nated the attacks late last year on Google Inc. un­der the di­rec­tion of the Polit­buro Stand­ing Com­mit­tee, the apex of Com­mu­nist Party power.

The de­tails of the memos, known in diplo­matic par­lance as ca­bles, could not be ver­i­fied. Chi­nese govern­ment de­part­ments ei­ther re­fused to com­ment or could not be reached. If true, the ca­bles show the po­lit­i­cal pres­sures that were fac­ing Google when it de­cided to close its China-based search en­gine in March. The cable about the hack­ing attacks against Google, which was clas­si­fied as se­cret by Deputy Chief of Mis­sion Robert Gold­berg, was re­leased by Wik­iLeaks.

The New York Times said the cable, dated early this year, quoted the con­tact as say­ing that pro­pa­ganda chief Li Changchun, the fifth-ranked of­fi­cial in the coun­try, and top se­cu­rity of­fi­cial Zhou Yongkang over­saw the hack­ing of Google. Both men are mem­bers of the Polit­buro Stand­ing Com­mit­tee.

The cable notes that it is un­clear if Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Hu Jin­tao and Premier Wen Ji­abao were aware of the re­ported ac­tions be­fore Google went pub­lic about the attacks in Jan­uary. The Times, how­ever, said doubts about the al­le­ga­tion have arisen af­ter the news­pa­per in­ter­viewed the per­son cited in the cable, who de­nied know­ing who di­rected the hack­ing attacks on Google. The Times did not iden­tify the per­son it in­ter­viewed.

An­other con­tact cited in that cable said he be­lieved an of­fi­cial on the top po­lit­i­cal body was "work­ing ac­tively with Chi­nese In­ter­net search en­gine Baidu against Google's in­ter­ests in China." Google's re­la­tions with Bei­jing have been tense since the U.S.-based search gi­ant said in Jan­uary it no longer wanted to co­op­er­ate with Chi­nese Web cen­sor­ship fol­low­ing com­puter hack­ing attacks on Google's com­puter code and ef­forts to break into the e-mail ac­counts of hu­man rights ac­tivists. Google closed its main­land China-based search en­gine on March 22 and be­gan rout­ing users to its un­cen­sored Hong Kong site.

Google's spokes­woman in Tokyo, Jes­sica Pow­ell, said the com­pany had no com­ment on the ca­bles re­leased by Wik­ileaks, and on the hack­ing attacks, re­ferred to a Jan­uary state­ment that said it had ev­i­dence that the at­tack came from China. Google at the time de­clined to say whether the govern­ment was in­volved.

A man who an­swered the phone at the spokesman's of­fice of the Min­istry of In­dus­try and In­for­ma­tion Technology said no one was avail­able to com­ment Sun­day. Calls to the For­eign Min­istry and the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice, which is re­spon­si­ble for reg­u­lat­ing In­ter­net con­tact, rang unan­swered. The hack­ing that an­gered Google and hit dozens of other busi­nesses was part of a rash of attacks aimed at a wide ar­ray of tar­gets, from a Bri­tish mil­i­tary con­trac­tor to banks. Ex­perts said then the highly skilled attacks sug­gested the mil­i­tary or other govern­ment agen­cies might be break­ing into com­put­ers to steal technology and trade se­crets to help state com­pa­nies. -Ap

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.