In the past hour, Google has announced that it is to end censorship of its Chinese search engine, google.cn, following a set of attacks on the search engine that the company claims came from within China and were aimed at Chinese human rights activists. Google also says that other attacks were aimed at its infrastructure and intellectual property, and that more than twenty other companies were also attacked.
On a posting on the company's official blog, titled A new approach to China, following details of the attacks and their effects the company says:
"These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China"
The company goes on to say that its Chinese staff had no part to play in this decision, and that it is committed to resolving these difficulties responsibly.