US calls for Internet ‘freedom’ to facilitate spying [China Daily]

Updated: 2014-03-26 08:03
By Philip J. Cunningham (China Daily)

‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” William Shakespeare said it first, back in 1602, in reference to the broken trust between Hamlet and his scheming mother Queen Gertrude who liked to think her crimes were undetectable, but it also applies to Lady Liberty in the latter-day United States of America.

American politicians love to promote the Internet; Hilary Clinton made a fine art of it, even Michelle Obama has now joined the fray.

“It is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the Internet … because that’s how we discover the truth,” she patronizingly told the net-savvy students at Peking University.

She went on to say how this technology “opens up the entire world” and “exposes us” to ideas, but she neglected to say the Internet also opens up the world to surveillance and it also exposes our ideas to those who police us.

As if the first lady’s talking points were not clear enough, US Ambassador Max Baucus made a pitch for Facebook and Twitter in his introduction to her speech.

The cheerleaders for Team America have a point, up until a point. Free speech and free information flow are essential to feedback and correction of errors. A modern society needs information flow like a modern city needs electricity.

But it is the electric nature of today’s communications that point to a special problem.

The same messages that can be created and distributed with unparalleled ease can also be hacked and traced back to senders. Surveillance and espionage of unprecedented thoroughness is the flip side of the Internet revolution, so anyone who waves the flag to promote Google or Facebook as supposed icons of freedom is either naive, or turning a blind eye to the spying, data mining and commercial surveillance conducted by those huge corporations[, or evil – Zuo Shou].

What’s more, the Silicon Valley giants cooperate with NSA’s even bigger, even more comprehensive spying operations, both willfully, for a fee, and unwittingly, as their own servers and cables get hacked.

The latest revelation from Edward Snowden’s vast collection of documents pointing to NSA malfeasance shows how the NSA, contrary to all protestations of innocence, hacks into the secure servers of foreign companies and electronically stalks its personnel; in this case, Huawei of China.

What makes this unbecoming act all the more insidious is that the US government singled out Huawei as a untrustworthy company on the unproven assumption that it was hacking other people’s information, allegedly using backdoor electronic access of precisely the kind that the NSA was using against Huawei.

Looking back, one can only wonder, was the left hand of US government unaware of what the right hand was doing, or was it a diversionary tactic in which the thief accused the victim of stealing to blur the lines of right and wrong?

Edward Snowden was a run-of-the-mill NSA employee, the kind of person who signed up for the US military and US intelligence because he felt it was a higher calling until he saw too much, heard too much and had a Saul-Paul conversion.

At great risk to himself, he confronted his demons and become more human, and more humane in the process. He’s no longer a cog in NSA’s huge information-machine, he’s no longer a professional peeping Tom or an electronic intruder.

But what about his tens of thousands of colleagues, contractors and “made men” alike who still work in slavish obedience to their NSA masters? Do they too have their doubts? Will they too step forward to blow the whistle and say enough is enough?..

…Ever since the Clinton presidency, US Internet diplomacy has provided cover for NSA surveillance. More people on the Internet means more people on the grid, which in turn facilitates electronic snooping and spying, a field in which the US is undisputed world leader…

The author is a visiting research fellow, Cornell University, New York.

Excerpted; full article link:

Original article title: “US calls on Internet freedom for spying”


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