Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has labelled China in his new book The New Digital Age, which will be out in April, as the world's "most sophisticated and prolific hacker".
"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 writes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"The United States 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. This is a difference in values as much as a legal one”, he continues.
Relations between Google and China have always been tense, above all after Gmail service was blocked in the country when the search engine accused Beijing of hacking email accounts.
The book is written in collaboration with Jared Cohen, a former member of the State Department who now runs Google Ideas. Both call China "the world's most active and enthusiastic filterer of information" as well as "the most sophisticated and prolific" hacker of foreign companies.
According to the authors, China will see "some kind of revolution in the coming decades”, like they predicted in 2010 with their essay The Digital Disruption.
They wrote that “citizens, armed with virtually nothing but cell phones, take part in mini-rebellions that challenge their authority”, and a month later, a wave of popular uprisings began across the Arab world.
The book also suggests that, in the future, the Internet could be fractured into pieces. One of them controlled by an alliance of tolerant states and a second one composed by parties that want citizens to live in a world without online life.
In addition, they make reference to the Chinese power on the ICT sector. “Superpower supplier nations will look to create their spheres of online influence around specific protocols and products, so that their technologies form the backbone of a particular society”, they say.
Schmidt's declarations come a day after the New York Times and Wall Street Journal revealed they had been the victim of Chinese hackers.