bbcSecretary of State Hillary Clinton asked China to launch an investigation into the hackers who broke into Google’s network in search of email account data on human rights activists.

The high-level request shows that Google won’t be alone as it tries to deal with its problems in China, where it has said it will no longer censor its search results to screen out matters that are sensitive to the Chinese government.

“Countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of Internet users risk walling themselves off from progress of the next century,” she said.

Google said on Jan. 12 that its network had been breached by cyber attackers who originated from China. The attacks targeted the email accounts of human rights activists, and dozens of other companies were also targeted for similar data. The company said that it was no longer willing the censor the results of its searches in China and might be forced to close its offices in the country.

Clinton said she wanted the Chinese government to probe the attacks and make the results transparent. She said that the Internet should not be fragmented, with information differing based on where you live.

China’s vice foreign minister He Yafei said the rift with the web company should not be “over-interpreted”, according to state news agency Xinhua. Clinton also named Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Egypt as restricting the free flow of information.

[photo credit: BBC]

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