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Google boss blasts China as a tech 'menace' and hacker

Eric Schmidt has attacked China's Internet activities in a forthcoming book, saying it could lead to a revolution if we're not careful.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt has lambasted China's Internet policies in a book he's written. Schmidt labels the country "the world's most active and enthusiastic filterer of information", as well as the "most sophisticated and prolific" hacker of foreign companies, according to a review in the Wall Street Journal.

Due for release in April, The New Digital Age looks at what Schmidt sees as China's pernicious effect, using the Internet to carry out cyber espionage and protect the country's image. And with the Internet pervading every aspect of our lives now, that's really quite dangerous, Schmidt asserts.

"The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage," Schmidt says in the book. He writes that Washington "will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violates the American sense of fair play."

That's quite some timing too, with Twitter being hacked this week, along with the Wall Street Journal (the very paper that reported on Schmidt's book) and New York Times. The Journal reported those hacking it were in China, and were trying to monitor what the paper said about the country, while the Times said Chinese hackers had "persistently" penetrated its systems over recent months.

China denies any wrongdoing.

Schmidt has words of warning for what lies ahead as well. If China goes unmonitored, things could get ugly, he reckons. With its "mix of active citizens armed with technological devices and tight government control", the country is "exceptionally volatile", and could cause "widespread instability" and even "some kind of revolution in the coming decades".

Which sounds ominous. Do you agree with Schmidt? Or is he pursuing his own agenda? Google was blocked in China for a few hours at the end of last year. Let me know what you reckon in the comments, or on Facebook.