Having observed access issues with their popular web-based email service Gmail, Google is accusing the Chinese government of causing the problem. Gmail users have apparently been unable to reach their accounts over the past few weeks, while some are claiming that their accounts have been compromised. After investigating these problems, Google is saying that the interruptions are coming from outside their system. From Google’s statement, quoted by The Telegraph:
There is no technical issue on our side; we have checked extensively. There is a [Chinese] government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail[.]
The accusation comes after Google has repeatedly locked horns with the Chinese government, and gone so far as to move their corporate headquarters to Hong Kong, where governmental authority is somewhat diminished. Prior to their move, Google said they were targeted by Chinese hackers who stole source code and apparently accessed email user information. This apparently included information about human rights and pro-democracy supporters.
Observers are noting that this could be part of a larger effort by the Chinese government to crack down on dissension within the country, and enhance their censorship over Chinese internet access. Which is hard to believe, considering that it already has some of the tightest controls in the world.
If true, these accusations will only further frustrate an already unhappy relationship between Chinese authorities and Google. One wonders how far these two will push each other, though in the face of the monolithic power that is Chinese authority, even the mighty Google seems at a disadvantage.
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