FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mary McGuire in Washington, +1-202-747-7035
Washington – January 13, 2010 –
Freedom House commends Google’s decision to contest internet censorship by the Chinese authorities, despite the distinct possibility that this action will result in the closure of its operations in China.
Google is taking this action in the face of what the company described as a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack on [its] corporate infrastructure originating from China.” It is believed this attack was aimed at accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
“The cyber attacks on Google’s operations fit a clear pattern of internet censorship and interference,” said Jennifer Windsor, executive director at Freedom House. “They are part of a vast, multilayered system the Chinese Government uses to control the internet.”
Freedom on the Net, Freedom House’s analysis of global internet freedom, finds that China’s internet environment “remains one of the most controlled in the world.” Chinese Government controls include sophisticated surveillance of dissidents’ online activities. The most recent cyber attacks confirm a long-suspected belief that NGOs and human rights activists in China are being directly targeted.
“Google’s decision to end its filtering activities was the right thing to do and we hope that other companies follow suit and refrain from being complicit in the repressive activities of the Chinese government,” said Daniel Calingaert, deputy director of programs at Freedom House. “And we look to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her upcoming speech on internet freedom, to outline a strategy to address the entire system of internet control in China and the global threat to free expression online.”
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Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties in China since 1972.
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