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U.S. plans formal complaint over Google attacks

Attacks on Google and other U.S. companies believed to be the work of the Chinese government will be met with a formal protest from the U.S. Department of State.

The U.S. government plans to ask China for a formal explanation regarding the cyberattacks against Google and other U.S. companies, according to a State Department spokesman.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had already hinted at such a move in a statement she released when Google first revealed the attacks. "We will be issuing a formal demarche to the Chinese government in Beijing on this issue in the coming days, probably early this week," AFP quoted State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley as saying during a briefing Friday.

Google's disclosure of attacks that are thought to involve more than 30 U.S. companiesset off a firestorm in the diplomatic and security communities this week, tapping into growing frustration over trade and China within the U.S. government, according to the report. Google is also considering leaving China altogether unless it is allowed to offer an uncensored search engine, which is not very likely.

Secretary Clinton is expected to deliver "a major policy address on Internet freedom" next Thursday in Washington, D.C., which could be the setting for the introduction of a more comprehensive government policy on cyberattacks and censorship.