While “don’t be evil” is a laudable aim, and transparency is something to be admired, attempting to preserve both these noble virtues in China does not seem to be paying off that well for Google. Back in March, they more-or-less accused the Chinese government of disrupting its Gmail service, drawing the ire of Beijing, which publicly deemed the claims “unacceptable” – the more eagle-eyed among you noting the absence of a denial. This was followed by a still ongoing wrangle over an online mapping license. And now, in a move that will be sure to endear them further to their reluctant hosts, the internet giant has stuck their heads above the parapet again and leveled a now over-familiar accusation at the Middle Kingdom. Google has detected and disrupted a “cyber spying campaign” that originated in eastern China. The campaign seemingly had the goal of monitoring the email communications of intelligence targets, including senior US State Department officials, along with the requisite journalists and political activists. In a move that will surprise absolutely nobody, Chinese state media have managed to omit the origin of the hackers from their reports.
Another tech firm whose previously good name is now being dragged through the dirt is the Alibaba Group. Following the rather sudden resignations of both CEO David Wei and COO Elvis Lee, who fell on their own swords following a sales fraud scandal in February, came last week’s rather public spat with Yahoo. The (allegedly) secret spin-off of Alipay into the hands of group CEO Jack Ma last summer unsurprisingly riled the US firm, which owns around 40% of the Chinese group, which has ridden into town to call Alibaba out and demand redress for its grievance. Thankfully from Ma’s perspective, a few promises and a fistful of dollars seem to have resolved the dispute without any need for bloodshed.