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Do No Harm

Google famously has the motto “do no harm.” Well, China is really challenging Google. The best course of action to take in the politically repressive state remains unclear. Google.cn has been operating in China by censoring certain sites that the government demands. Google’s logic is that it is better to have some access to the internet through google than none at all.

Now China has crossed the line it seems.

Google linked its decision to sophisticated cyberattacks on its computer systems that it suspected originated in China and that were aimed, at least in part, at the Gmail user accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

The company is now seriously considering pulling out of China. This poses a tough question to advocates of free speech. Obviously Google can’t just give the Chinese impunity to act however they want. But what is in the best interest of the people of China? Some google or none? If Google can’t fully protect itself from cyber attacks from China than, sadly, it seems they must close their operations there. I hope it doesn’t have to come to that.

[update 1/13/10]: Google comments on the incident on their own blog site.
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