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That Snowden chap was SPOT ON says China

Middle Kingdom concludes big meanie USA spies online, a lot

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China is ramping up its war of words with the USA over online espionage, releasing a report by its Internet Media Research Center that – surprise! - concludes Uncle Sam does a lot of spying online.

There's lots of pompous language in the report, such as this opening paragraph:

“As a superpower, the United States takes advantage of its political, economic, military and technological hegemony to unscrupulously monitor other countries, including its allies. The United States' spying operations have gone far beyond the legal rationale of "anti-terrorism" and have exposed its ugly face of pursuing self-interest in complete disregard of moral integrity. These operations have flagrantly breached International laws, seriously infringed upon the human rights and put global cyber security under threat. They deserve to be rejected and condemned by the whole world.”

China's specific allegations suggest the USA conducted the following activities against it and other nations:

  • Collecting nearly 5 billion mobile phone call records across the globe every day
  • Spying over German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone for more than 10 years
  • Plugging into the main communication networks between Yahoo's and Google's overseas data centers, and stealing data of hundreds of millions of customers
  • Monitoring mobile phone apps for years and grabbing private data
  • Waging large-scale cyber attacks against China, with both Chinese leaders and the telecom giant Huawei as targets

The document goes on a bit, mostly repeating Snowden allegations and throwing in a few other incidents reported by other nations. Expressions of outrage about NSA activities voiced by the United Nations and privacy groups others are given a new airing, as is just about every report from any newspaper anywhere about Snowden-sourced NSA activities.

That China has put this all on letterhead is significant inasmuch as it shows the nation is very, very grumpy indeed and wants the USA to know it. That the document doesn't miss a chance to paint the USA as a declining imperial power unfairly seeking to nobble its likely new superpower successor will also go down well with local audiences.

Actions like China's new vetting program for imported IT products and possible ban on IBM servers are likely to have more impact on the US because they hit it in the wallet.

And of course let's also note that there's colossal hypocrisy on both sides: if China could do the things the NSA is accused of, would it really back off? Or would it decline the grubby practice of same “pursuing self-interest in complete disregard of moral integrity” just like it did in Tiananmen Square? ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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