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Google Security Technology

Google Accuses China of Interfering With Gmail 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the caught-red-handed dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that Google has accused the Chinese government of interfering with Gmail. According to the search giant, Chinese customers and advertisers have increasingly been complaining about their Gmail service in the past month and attempts by users to send messages, mark messages as unread and use other services have generated problems for Gmail customers. The announcement follows a blog posting from Google on 11 March in which the firm said it had 'noticed some highly targeted and apparently politically motivated attacks against our users. We believe activists may have been a specific target.' The search firm is not commenting further on this latest attack, but technology experts said it seemed to show an increasingly high degree of sophistication."
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Google Accuses China of Interfering With Gmail

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  • When the economists predicted that China would be the next big power maybe they meant internet power!
  • Old news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andrea.sartori (1603543) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:40AM (#35560054) Journal
    Already seen that on /. [slashdot.org] more than once [slashdot.org] and other sources even date it to early 2010 [sophos.com]. Is this a gritty reboot?
    • by caroboom (986492)

      Well, it might have happened before. But it is true (from personal experience by me and other people here) that it got a lot harder to use gmail without proxy/vpn the past 2-3 weeks.

      • I assume by "here" you mean in China? Asking this out of curiosity, but it might be useful to know if there is trouble using it currently...
    • Perhaps the original story was sent via chinese gmail; it's all messed up, or so they say.

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:46AM (#35560122)

    The sheer, breaktaking arrogance and aggression of the Red Chinese is unbelievable. I laugh out loud whenever I read an apologist for the Chinese Communist Party accuse teh yankee imperialist dogs of arrogance, when they themselves are shaping up to be the most brutal and self-interested global imperialists the world has ever known.

    People are going to look back on the dominance of the West as a golden age once the mainland Chinese are through with us.

    • is hobbled by this pesky thing called democracy, human rights, a free press. it interferes with profits

      china is autocracy combined with capitalism. it is the gilded age of victorian times in the west when workers rights were nonexistent, squared. china is a giant capitalist machine that treats its citizens as robots without rights. why the chinese people accept this is beyond my understanding, but for now, they do

      chinese people: your government does not respect you. you do not have a voice in the compositio

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MrEricSir (398214)

        As opposed to the United States, where the free press is censored by advertisers, democracy is subverted by corporate interests, and we offshore our human rights violations to Cuba?

        When it comes to knocking China's problems, we certainly don't have the moral high ground. Same shit, different culture.

        • by jbonomi (1839286)

          When it comes to knocking China's problems, we certainly don't have the moral high ground. Same shit, different culture.

          Until the US starts putting people in labor camps for not being harmonious enough, I would say that we do. I don't think we need to be perfect before we point out the shortcomings of other governments.

        • bound to pop up in any discussion like this

          sir: with your words, you are only announcing your profound ignorance of places outside of the west, and what it is really like there

          let's just say that if you were chinese, in china, or iranian, in iran, or cuban, in cuba, you wouldn't dare criticize the chinese or iranian or cuban government like you criticize the usa. you criticize the usa however, with impunity, merely because you are perfectly free and entitled to do so. and i'm glad you do. is anyone knocking on your door sir? no? is anyone in the american government going to persecute you for the words you just wrote? no?

          so when you realize the truth of how different it is for citizens in these other countries to express themselves freely, maybe you can begin to understand the subject matter you are so ignorantly commenting on

          • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

            by MrEricSir (398214)

            No one is knocking on my door? Well no, because I'm not Muslim.

            • no american police or government enforcement is knocking on anyone's door just because they are muslim

              really, you ignorant moron

              • by MrEricSir (398214)

                I like how your arguments always end with calling me a "moron." I guess you must feel pretty bad about yourself if you have to call people names to make yourself feel better. But the relief one gets by bullying is only temporary, and will not improve yourself in the long run.

                And really, before you come up with these sort of patriotic defenses of our country, maybe it's time to meet some folks from other places -- or even visit those places -- and see what life is really like outside of the USA. It's not

                • i'm not insulting you. i'm making a fair, objective appraisal of your intelligence based on the words you have written

                  for example, you ask me to know what its like for people outside of the usa. i asked you to do the very same thing in support of my argument in the grandfather post above this. like i said, you're a moron

                  additionally, i am not being patriotic. fuck the usa. i am not defending the usa, the usa has plenty of problems. but clearly, it is no where near the likes of china, cuba, iran, on the scal

                  • by MrEricSir (398214)

                    ...right.

                    Another day, another Slashdotter who believes he's smarter than everyone else.

                    *yawn*

                    • i'm not smarter than everyone else. i work with people i clearly understand as more intelligent than i am. i understand my limitations on many issues in the world in which my comprehension is quite limited

                      but on the issue of the status of various freedoms in the usa as compared to other countries, i am clearly, unequivocally, much more intelligent than you. no, i don't have an alternative opinion than you. i am simply more intelligent on the issue than you. thi sis not an opinion. this is a fact when object

                    • by MrEricSir (398214)

                      Are you still at this? I mean you can say you're right over and over again, but who cares? I don't. No matter how many times you use words like "objective" or "fact," it doesn't make you more correct; on the contrary, it makes you sound like a weak-minded person who hasn't a clue.

                      Anyway, you sound like you're probably a troll or an aspie. Since I can usually tell, in your case I'm going to have to go with both.

                    • i'm motivated by outrage at how ignorant your words are about the subject of relative domestic freedoms in the usa versus china or cuba or iran

                      there are a number of americans who will engage in the false equivalency you do, and it makes me very angry, because these are people who have not even the slightest clue about how bad things can be in terms of freedom of political expression in other countries as compared to the usa

                      i am angered by your ignorance, and i would really like to see you admit how incredib

                    • by MrEricSir (398214)

                      Wow. How incredibly arrogant. You need to get over yourself, and see a shrink. Pronto.

                      You have serious problems, and I feel sorry for you.

                    • i have problems because ignorance makes me angry?

                      furthermore, the only arrogance here is displayed by someone with zero understanding of the status of political freedoms in other countries delivering opinions about them

                      you need an education. moron. or learn to shut up about things you don't understand

                    • by MrEricSir (398214)

                      You have problems because you're still trolling.

                      Don't you have something better to do? How sad.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        why the chinese people accept this is beyond my understanding, but for now, they do.

        Because of a ton of propaganda. The Chinese government has very tight reigns on all information sources. Even the Bible had to be rewritten according to the CG's standards.

        But if you don't accept it, you'll get put into a re-educational institution for an indefinite period, if you're lucky. If you're unlucky you'll just get imprisoned or executed. There are literally millions of spies among the Chinese population, eager to a

        • eventually, the chinese economy will stop growing. when unbridled horizons end, the people's expectations will turn to other matters. hopefully this sort of pressure will lead to peaceful reform, internally. nightmare scenario, the economy actually contracts or tanks, like japan in 1990 or thailand in 2000, and the domestic discontent is seized upon by some sort of demagogue, who effectively marshalls the propagandized hordes into power. then what, i don't even want to imagine, so powerful china is now beco

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>accuse teh yankee imperialist dogs of arrogance, when they themselves are shaping up to be the most brutal and self-interested global imperialists the world has ever known.

      "The Chinese are not true communists" is what those supporters will say. They said the same about the Soviet Union. They refuse to accept that communism is a good IDEA but doesn't work in the real world, due to leadership corruption.

      >>>dominance of the West as a golden age once the mainland Chinese are through with

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They refuse to accept that communism is a good IDEA but doesn't work in the real world, due to leadership corruption.

        The same criticism is often leveled at capitalism.

        • by greenbird (859670)

          They refuse to accept that communism is a good IDEA but doesn't work in the real world, due to leadership corruption.

          The same criticism is often leveled at capitalism.

          Communism is a good idea that doesn't work because people tend to be greedy self centered pricks. Capitalism does work (at least better than communism) for the same reasons. Capitalism is the worst economic system ever, except for all the others.

      • by kipin (981566)
        The Western Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire coexisted for centuries.

        The world moves a lot faster nowadays. It may have been able to handle two mega empires simultaneously solely because of geographical limits. Natural resources were also not nearly as in demand as they are today.

        Just my $.02
    • by milkmage (795746) on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:28PM (#35560726)

      not so much arrogance/aggression as pure paranoia.. they don't fucking trust anyone.

      my sister was stationed in China during for her tour in the Peace Corps. She was teaching English at a University.

      My mom sent her a care package - including some nicknacks for her students (candy, shit like that).. the padding in the package was a US newspaper, which just happened to have full color pictures of a gay parade. within 24 hours - Washington got a call from Beijing. Apparently the Chinese didn't appreciate the nature of the packing material and threatened to expel my sister from the country if it happened again.

      when I went to visit, I was a guest speaker in her class - I was peppered by the students with questions like "do i know Michael Jordan, what's a drugstore, do I have a car".. then one guy asks (in much better english than the rest of the kids) - how I felt about the US presence in Afghanistan (this was less than a year after 9/11). The Party put a mole in my sister's class.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I used to correspond on ICQ with a girl in China.

        When I asked her about opinions of Chinese on the Iraq war (perhaps a year in), she gave not much answer at all.

        Next time I heard from her a couple of weeks later she warned me "not to bring up the bad topic anymore".

        That ended that. Cannot speak clearly with somebody who is under duress by their government relative to free speech. It sucks bad.

      • by jooey (2022888)
        I'm from China. Actually many college students don't like the Party, though many of them have joined in it (for finding a good job or being a public servent). The party say that it represents the benefits of the people and the nationality, but there is an opinion spreading that loving the nationality doesn't mean supporting the Party. Last year, an government officer, who told the truth, confronted with the journalist's tough questions, said "do you voice for the party or the people?"
    • by Anonymous Coward

      People are going to look back on the dominance of the West as a golden age once the mainland Chinese are through with us

      No they won't. Red China will rewrite history to say Western Dominance was the dark age of human history.

  • by MrWin2kMan (918702) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:46AM (#35560130) Homepage
    Is anybody really surprised at this? China is a communist country. They are in the business of world domination. They will never stop trying to steal technology or stop attacking their political enemies using whatever methods at their disposal. A lot of people complain about our (the U.S.) government. We're amateurs at invading privacy and interfering with commerce compared to those guys...
    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:03PM (#35560366) Homepage
      China is a capitalist country, with a veneer of communism, slipping towards fascism, and they are not looking for world domination; they want China to be the world's superpower, and basically control Asia, but nobody in world history since Alexander the Great has ever actually looked to rule the world.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by UnknownSoldier (67820)

        > China is a capitalist country, with a veneer of communism,

        Jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo might beg to differ...

        http://www.google.com/search?q=chinese+peace+prize+jailed [google.com]

        • by Mr_Perl (142164) *

          The fallacy in the former past is that he is equating all capitalism (economic concept) with freedom (humanist concept).

          Apples / Oranges.

          • by kvothe (2013374)
            No no, China's ok with Apples. They are a major supplier, after all... /facetious
          • by DarkOx (621550)

            he fallacy in the former past is that he is equating all capitalism (economic concept) with freedom (humanist concept).

            I am sorry but that is a silly distinction to make. True Capitalism requires the freedom to act in ones own self interest and the that there be no force used to compel any sacrifice to others. Its true that capitalism might be an economic concept but its one that can't really exist in the absence of freedom, thus implies freedom. What the Chinese do is not capitalism it might not be the traditional centralized command economy we associated with communism but it is certainly not capitalism. It might be t

            • by SETIGuy (33768)

              True Capitalism requires the freedom to act in ones own self interest and the that there be no force used to compel any sacrifice to others.

              In other words, throughout recorded history there's never been a capitalist country because capitalism is incompatible with the concept of society?

              Where do you get this bullshit?/aP

        • by idontgno (624372)

          Capitalism* didn't put Professor Liu in prison. Communism** did.

          *As an economic system, capitalism doesn't acknowledge the existence of dissidence. You're a worker or a capital owner.

          **Communism functions (poorly) as an economic system, but in practice it has always functioned primarily as a political system. In China and the former Soviet bloc, as an authoritarian political system, where dissident speech is a crime. This has nothing to do with economic-theoretic capitalism. (Practical capitalism loves to h

          • by nomadic (141991)
            Capitalism* didn't put Professor Liu in prison. Communism** did.

            No, no, no. China hasn't been a truly communist country since the 1980's. What put Liu in prison is authoritarian nationalism; a government that is incapable of accepting criticism.
      • by gman003 (1693318)
        China is a corporate state in all but name. The border between businesses and the government has blurred to the point of merging. At this point, they will be content with merely dominating the world's markets, but that could easily change to desiring domination of the world's population (most likely to use as a workforce when enough of China rises above the poverty line that they do not wish to do low-end manual labor).
      • by rAiNsT0rm (877553)

        And they will achieve it. My estimate is 4-5 years they will fully assert their dominance. They are #2 now and at any time could flex their economic and political muscle and severely cripple an already reeling U.S. With the rest of BRIC, the U.S. has already slipped from the top, it just isn't official yet. It's either corrupt corporations or China, neither is a great option.

        • China flexing their economic might on the US would be like the US flexing their military might against China over Taiwan.

          NEITHER OF US WANT TO FUCK EVERYTHING UP.

          • by rAiNsT0rm (877553)

            Not at the moment, but what exactly would China be "fucking up" by choosing to in 3-4 years time if BRIC continues to grow as slated? They will easily be able to supplant us and also keep us beholden to them in a number of key areas. The U.S. has far more to lose at this time than any other in history.

      • by hey! (33014)

        Well, they have done a pretty good job re-creating themselves along the lines of what they used to think capitalism was. Cozy relationship between the economic elite and high government officials? Check. Labor unions suppressed? Check. Psychological class warfare where workers are duped into working against their own interests by xenophobia and fear? Check. Meddling in economic outcome for the benefit of the politically connected, while maintaining a fig leaf of market freedom? Check. Imperialist poli

      • Ever heard of Hitler? Napoleon?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Its China that are the amateurs, the fact that you even hear stories about it means they don't control the media as they want to. The way the US Government does it on the other hand is masterful - so good in fact most of the time you don't even realize its happening until long after the fact.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We're amateurs at invading privacy and interfering with commerce compared to those guys...

      But here's the rub... in Chinese culture, the state is viewed as the great benefactor of all, your generous uncle, a friendly neighbor. This isn't just propaganda pushed by the Communists, but something that reaches way back into the dynastic periods. It's also one of the few things my SO and I ever really get into big misunderstandings about... to her, the state, while not 100% infallible, always has the people's i

      • by Cimexus (1355033)

        Well there's a continual scale there, it's not always one extreme or the other. Not ~all~ Westerners have the 'government should always be mistrusted' mindset. That particular attitude is prevalent in America, but many Europeans, or even Aussies or Canadian or New Zealanders, will disagree. To you it might seem that they have the Chinese view on the matter, but it's really somewhere inbetween that view and yours. They have a more central or moderate opinion than either.

        I'm Australian. I personally think tha

        • An excellent post. I don't have mod points for you so I'll reply instead.

          I think the key difference between our two systems of governance - speaking as a Kiwi to an Aussie on the matter of Westminster versus American Constitutional politics - comes down to the power and influence of the lobby groups. Such things are either non-existent or extremely circumspect down our way from what I can work out.

          Conversely it seems, from my uneducated position, as if big money more or less runs the US when it comes to

  • I find it interesting that, when the media talk about Chinese hackers, they invariably refer to it as attacks by "China" -- not "Chinese hackers", as would be the case in just about any other country in the world.

    Can we really always assume that the Chinese government or China as a country is behind each and every attack, or is it just the work of some extremists within the country's borders?

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday March 21, 2011 @11:57AM (#35560268)
      Interfering with traffic in-transit is beyond the ability of all but the best hackers without government aid. They would need to either be good enough to compromise and operate network infrastructure without detection (hard) or actually be employed by an ISP in a high enough position that they don't have someone else checking their configs (Also hard). It can't be the work of some basement-dweller gang. It's either an organised group of super-hackers, or a government agency. The latter seems more probable.
      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        It gets a lot easier when you have your own certificates ... I remember seeing some outcry about certain Chinese telecoms getting them a year or 2 ago. Perhaps people should be removing those from their trusted lists?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Posting AC as to avoid undoing a previous mod.

      I find it interesting that, when the media talk about Chinese hackers, they invariably refer to it as attacks by "China" -- not "Chinese hackers", as would be the case in just about any other country in the world.

      Can we really always assume that the Chinese government or China as a country is behind each and every attack, or is it just the work of some extremists within the country's borders?

      The reason that people usually say "China" as opposed to "Chinese" is that most hackers within China are affiliated with the government. There are units both in the People's Liberation Army and in the Chinese State Security apparatus that are devoted solely to hacking and other forms of online attacks. Most university students studying these things are getting recruited by the government, if not having their education paid for by the government. The universit

  • Company does business with censoring government; complains when government censors.

    Next up: War in the Middle East! The unthinkable has happened!

  • Uh.. Yeah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I've been living in Shanghai since September, and this place is annoying as hell to stay connected. I should not complain too much as I have not been jailed as others have (yet) for winge-ing, but my digital life in the Emerald City (Seattle) is difficult to maintain over here. Forget streaming as China Telecom breaks the connection every 10 minutes just to keep things boring. The last few weeks have been especially bad, as the riots elsewhere scared the police here poopless and they shut down large netw

    • by surgen (1145449)

      My VPN services are being attacked as well.

      It's real and it's real bad.

      I know this is a bit of a tangent, but how prevalent is the use of VPNs in china? What is your reading on how many people who want to get around the great firewall, are actually trapped by it?

  • Yeah, my heroes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elrous0 (869638) *

    Is that the same Google [wikipedia.org] that censors its Chinese search results to block terms like "democracy"? Guess oppression is okay unless you try to steal their source code [wired.com] or interfere with the quality of their services.

    • Re:Yeah, my heroes (Score:4, Informative)

      by uss_valiant (760602) on Monday March 21, 2011 @12:49PM (#35561092) Homepage

      Google China stopped serving censored results. Source: The very same Wikipedia article you reference.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Yeah, only after China tried to steal their source code. Again, Google was fine with this until China actually threatened their profits by trying to steal their precious search algorithms.

        • by smelch (1988698)
          Oh shut your mouth. I'm tired of hearing this bullshit. There are shades of gray in the world. Before Google was allowed over in China there were articles and debates over what was worse, no Google or Google without some of the results. They looked at it and realized "well shit, they aren't getting the democracy links either way, may as well open it up with censored results...." but you could tell they weren't happy about it. Not everything is a war for the human fucking spirit. Sometimes a straw breaks a c
          • by elrous0 (869638) *

            And sometimes companies just want to make money. In fact, that's *all* they want to do.

  • In China, China decides what China wants, and what it doesn't want, and if you do not offer them a way to do what they want your app to do, they will find a way themselves, and usually not a very efficient way either...

  • A country infamous for their "great firewall" screws with yet another service.
    Be honest, the service being screwed with (Google) is the only reason this is a headline.
  • How is this surprising? China is a communist country they are not a democracy. They will not hesitate to bring military actions against there own people in order to bring them back into line. You do business with the devil and somewere down the line your going to pay
    • by voidness (1900074)
      How is this surprising? Western are not communist country they are democracy. They will not hesitate to bring military actions against other people in order to bring them back into line (read headlines news now!). You do business with the devil (to get oil) and somewere down the line your going to pay
      • by surgen (1145449)

        How is this surprising? Western are not communist country they are democracy. They will not hesitate to bring military actions against other people in order to bring them back into line (read headlines news now!). You do business with the devil (to get oil) and somewere down the line your going to pay

        The nice part is we can openly question our governments for doing so.

  • The problem with google is that they are taking political posture too much as a private company. Politics and moral ground wouldn't get along well with business. If google see itself as the God, get out from China. Is that simple? The problem is google wants to do business with China but also pretend to be the God. Adding too much Western value it. China is entirely different country and culture. It has no history to be altered by out force. They will never get succeed in China. Losing China in business is
    • by surgen (1145449)

      So how much do you make as an internet shill for your government? If language skills at your level are good enough to get the job, I'd be a shoo-in.

      • by voidness (1900074)
        Beating around the bush? Typical. Why do I have to speak my third language (not even the second) as you do to get job? Besides, I have good job. Don't shoo-in. LOL.

        So how much do you make as an internet shill for your government? If language skills at your level are good enough to get the job, I'd be a shoo-in.

        • by surgen (1145449)

          Beating around the bush?

          Actually it was pretty damn direct. I posited my assumption rather than ask for conformation. Don't worry about not understanding my first post, being bad at English makes it easier to identify shills such as yourself, and for that we thank you.

          • by voidness (1900074)
            If you can't come out sth rational to fail my points, then it IS good strategy to attack sth irrelevant. But still, convince me if I'm wrong. Do not beat around the bush!
    • heya,

      Oh man, seriously....where do these clowns come from...haha....

      The 50-cent army strikes again. Question - is that 50 RMB cents, or some other currency that isn't intentionally devalued by your own country to be worth peanuts? Lol indeed....

      And I'm sorry, but if your English skills are that appalling, then they paying you 50c for that post was a sour deal for them. (Disclaimer - I'm Chinese, just not a PRC hoon. And my point is this - if somebody was paying me to troll on a foreign language forum, I'd m

      • by voidness (1900074)
        Your comment only shows your disabled mind. You should come out some thoughts more rational. If you r Chinese with this attitude, good to you. You will be not the part of prosperity PRC, loser. LOL.
        • heya,

          The PRC is totally not getting value for money, if you're posting rubbish like that...lol. They should ask for a refund. Oh wait...Chinese don't give refunds *grins*. (No seriously, we don't...haha...try asking a Chinese shopkeeper for a refund. Doesn't happen. Customer service is something that seems strangely endemic to the West, although even then it's hit and miss).

          And buddy, if you're not from the 50C army *shrugs*, then you're another sad little Han-supremacy boy who believes that we're still the

          • heya,

            Now, I don't doubt that China will rise again *shrugs*, but I suspect the form that it rises in will probably resemble their hated West more than they'd like. They'll just become another modern economy, along with the US, the EC and Japan.

            See, we have this weird quasi reverse-racist relationship with the West. It's probably got something to do with being subjugated and being the laughing-stock for several hundred years. We hate the "West" because they've toppled us from our perch which we held for thou

        • Your comment only shows your disabled mind. You should come out some thoughts more rational. If you r Chinese with this attitude, good to you. You will be not the part of prosperity PRC, loser. LOL.

          Is this rubbish really the best response you can summon to his argument? And you suggest he should 'come out some thoughts more rational'! A previous post regarding the PRC's overwhelming arrogance seems to be nicely supported by your example.

          Seriously, you're not actually grossly mentally incompetent enough to think that you're actually going to share any of that prosperity are you? Really? How old ARE you? Fourteen?

  • As a non US citizen I think I am going to come across as a troll.... by making this coment.

    America is in great danger, China is going to take over the world and you should live in fear and prepare for war...

  • Why don't they just buy Google? They have enough dollars saved in the piggy bank to buy 100 Googles.

    • Because google is not for sale.

      Despite google being a publicly traded company, the founders retain
      enough voting rights to keep the majority no matter what.

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.

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