The US state department says it will make a formal protest to China over alleged cyber-attacks on the internet search giant, Google. (BBC)
No reason to despair. This is not indicative of a ratcheting up of bilateral tensions (although that might happen anyway).
Rather, this is expected and obligatory. Google is a big company with good contacts with the Obama Administration. There is apparently evidence that the PRC government sponsored/conducted surveillance activities on Google’s proprietary info (e.g. Gmail accounts) without legal justification.
In other words, China was caught spying. It happens every once in a while. Everyone knows that every country that has a big enough budget will spy on someone else. Been that way for a very long time.
The problem comes when you get caught at it. You deny it, of course, but it gives the spyee the right to get a free whack at you out there in public (i.e. rhetorically).
So that’s what this “protest” is all about. Normal course of business for the diplogeeks, although usually a formal protest involves spying against the country itself, and not one of its corporations.
Anyway, nothing to get too alarmed about. I’m more worried about secondary effects on trade and Congressional hyperventilation.