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For China Activists, Hacking Attacks a Fact of Life

By REUTERS, June 12, 2011, (Additional reporting by Beijing bureau, editing Tim Pearce)


LONDON (Reuters) - Even working on her laptop in Amnesty International's London headquarters or talking on her mobile phone going around the city, Corinna-Barbara Francis suspects Chinese authorities are listening in.

At a time when authorities in Beijing are carrying out the most serious crackdown on dissent since Tiananmen Square, the human rights group's China researcher says she simply assumes all her electronic data is already compromised.

Whether or not she is right is almost impossible to know. Beijing angrily denies any suggestions of official complicity in a string of recent high-profile computer hacks including Internet giant Google, which said it traced an attempt illicitly to access accounts of activists and others to China.