Irony Alert: US Filing Criminal Charges Against China For Cyberspying

from the hey,-look-over-there! dept

Even as more and more examples of questionable surveillance by the US government are revealed, the US is apparently still trying its "hey, look over there!" strategy in response. This morning, Attorney General Eric Holder is announcing that the US has filed meaningless criminal charges against members of the Chinese military for economic espionage done via the internet.

Of course, there's no chance of any actual prosecution happening here. If anything this is all just a bit of diplomatic showmanship. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to quickly see China respond in kind with "criminal charges" being announced against folks from the NSA for the various spying that they've done on China. US officials will, as they always do, insist that what the People's Liberation Army does is "different" because it's economic espionage, in which the Chinese army breaks into networks from certain industries and companies, and shares the details with Chinese companies. The US does not appear to do the same thing directly, though there are indications of indirect economic espionage (i.e., spying on companies to then inform general US policy that might help US companies). The Chinese have (quite reasonably) questioned how there's a legitimate distinction between the different kinds of espionage.

Either way, at a time when the US is under intense scrutiny for its questionable espionage efforts, including installing backdoors into US networking equipment (which is what they've accused the Chinese of doing repeatedly, despite no actual evidence), filing criminal charges against the Chinese for cyberspying... just looks really sad. It stinks of hypocrisy.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    Much of the US's diplomatic efforts have long stunk of hypocrisy so what's the point here, that they are still doing it?

    There's a reason why the US is the laughing stock behind it's back when it comes to diplomatic efforts and legal attempts such as this. Does the US court believe it will be able to overcome sovereignty to enforce it's findings and rulings? Looks like another kangaroo court to me.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    Make no mistake, the US does the same economic espionage they accuse China of doing. Petrobas, intercepting Cisco, Dutch banking sector, the list goes on.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    Make no mistake, the US does the same economic espionage they accuse China of doing. Petrobas, intercepting Cisco, Dutch banking sector, the list goes on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    John William Nelson (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 9:52am

    This is one of the funniest things I've seen today

    I first read about this on Slashdot. An article about these charges was two articles above an article about Cisco complaining to the President about how the NSA's backdoors on its systems have hurt international sales badly.

    I am so disappointed that the county and government I grew up thinking were the good guys have been behaving like the bad guys.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 9:56am

    The US Government's dirty laundry could be classified as a WMD at this point.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:07am

    Standard government practice, when in trouble find a foreign enemy....

     

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  7.  
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    Charles (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 10:13am

    To my government:

    Dear USG, DOJ, FBI, DHS, ICE, SCOTUS, and POTUS,

    I, for one, am MAD.

    And ashamed for us all.

    Sincerely,

    CCC

    Concerned Citizen Charles

     

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  8.  
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    Michael, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Re: To my government:

    Dear Charles,



    - The United States Government

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:21am

    HAHAHA! NSA: We spied on China and we caught them spying on us.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    After five years, no less.

    Good agency! Top quality spying there!

     

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  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
  12.  
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    Michael, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:37am

    Are these copyright infringement charges?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:41am

    Re:

    Probably not, so China will be just fine in the end.

     

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  14.  
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    ECA (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    Interesting

    So,
    is this a reason for extending CR, to ALONG TIME...
    THEN getting other governments to Sign a trade agreement that admits OUR CR policy, of ALONG TIME..
    So that we (not we, just corps with lots of money) can SUE them?
    For OLD TECH? that is obsolete..

    We did it to Canada..NAFTA gave our corps the ability to SUE the gov. of canada for a business in canada, that makes generic drugs.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    Re: This is one of the funniest things I've seen today

    NSA has done several indefensible things and thanks to Snowden we know some of them. When that is said, China has been doing several of the same things and they have a far more opaque and likely more permissive legislation.

    USA has lost most of the "moral lead" and in certain areas it is a moral deficit building up (the imposing of these from the "active foreign policy" is the real problem, not as much the moral itself), but there are no reasons to think other countries are squeaky clean either and no reason to hold other countries to lower standards.

    Several western populations have to accept that the governments are not as morally superior as we thought they were. The time of exceptionalism is over.

     

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  16.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: This is one of the funniest things I've seen today

    I don't think anyone is claiming other nations are squeaky clean or are forgiving their bad behavior. The issue is that we need to prioritize things, I think. Personally, the bad behavior of my own nation takes priority over the bad behavior of other nations. In part because of ethics, and in part because of practicality. I am personally at greater risk from the US spying on me than from China doing the exact same thing.

    In the end, though, the US hasn't a leg to stand on with these issues. It's impossible to scold other nations for doing the same thing we are doing without (rightfully) looking like hypocritical assholes.

     

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  17.  
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    MPHinPgh (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 11:12am

    Ye reap what ye sow.
    Karma is a bitch.
    What comes around, goes around.

    Are you starting to get the picture yet, US Govt?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 11:18am

    The Chinese have (quite reasonably) questioned how there's a legitimate distinction between the different kinds of espionage.
    Terror terror terror terror terror terror terror terror terror TERROR! terror terror terror terror terror terror terror TERROR TERROR TERROR TERROR TERROR TERROR terror terror terROR terror terror Terror! TERROR! TERRRRORRR!! TERRRRRRROOOORRRRR!!!
    Terror! Terror? Terror.

    (PS: terror)

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 11:33am

    Historical perspective

    The National Historical Park in Lowell, Massachusetts remembers and explains to new generations the stories of America's early growth into an industrial power. While the park rightfully celebrates American ingenuity and invention, the park does not mythologize a tale that Lowell's mills sprang, like Athena clad for war, from the brow of Zeus. Rather, as part of its mission to educate Americans in their history and culture, the park acknowledges the role played by industrial espionage.

    Early American Manufacturing:
     . . . After independence there were a number of unsuccessful attempts to establish textile factories. Americans needed access to the British industrial innovations, but England had passed laws forbidding the export of machinery or the emigration of those who could operate it. Nevertheless it was an English immigrant, Samuel Slater, who finally introduced British cotton technology to America.

    Slater had worked his way up from apprentice to overseer in an English factory using the Arkwright system. Drawn by American bounties for the introduction of textile technology, he passed as a farmer and sailed for America with details of the Arkwright water frame committed to memory. In December 1790, working for mill owner Moses Brown, he started up the first permanent American cotton spinning mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. . . .


    Power Looms
     . . . Successful power looms were in operation in England by the early 1800s, but those made in America were inadequate. Francis Cabot Lowell realized that for the United States to develop a practical power loom, it would have to borrow British technology. While visiting English textile mills, he memorized the workings of their power looms. Upon his return, he recruited master mechanic Paul Moody to help him recreate and develop what he had seen. They succeeded in adapting the British design . . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 11:46am

    This also shows why the CFAA needs to be either watered down or repealed. When foreign state officials can be charged like that, the CFAA has to go.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 11:58am

    Re:

    Ter-ror.

    -Terror

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Geno0wl (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 12:18pm

    Irony at its best

    Ironically the US government and the NSA have vastly done more "economic damage" to its own country than China could have ever hoped for.

     

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  23.  
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    Michael, May 19th, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    The US is the "Melting pot".

    I guess this just makes China the kettle.

     

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  24.  
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    gorehound (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 12:43pm

    Probably all done in the name of the Great Fearmonger.Why at this point should I ever trust one word that comes out of the foul lying corrupted Government.

    Is it time for people to buy products from overseas or not ?

     

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  25.  
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    KRA, May 19th, 2014 @ 12:58pm

    When I was thinking about Russia going into Crimea I just couldn't muster any indignation. My country goes wherever the hell it wants and doesn't care what anyone (including its citizens) think. This is the same thing. The line between the Chinese government and the US government is pretty blurry to me on this issue.

    I agree with Fenderson--I want to see changes made here, not in China.

     

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  26.  
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    MadAsASnake (profile), May 19th, 2014 @ 1:45pm

    I guess the USTR and dept of commerce are NSA customers because they have changed their primary purpose, like the FBI, to defeating terrorism.

     

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  27.  
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    Andypandy, May 19th, 2014 @ 1:56pm

    good

    This should give a very clear path for every country to take the us to court and sue them for spying on them. Let the US create a president and then everyone can join in suing the US.
    What a bunch of idiots, surely they must understand that China probably has more than enough evidence to prove beyond any doubt that the US has spied on them and done worse with this case ending up with the US paying billions to China and possibly to every other country the US has spied on, like most of them.
    Actually the best part of this is Cisco , they could sue the US government for every penny they have and will lose in selling equipment to foreign entities.

     

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  28.  
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    Personanongrata, May 19th, 2014 @ 3:18pm

    Public Relations

    Good propagandists always turn the tables on their victims by accusing them of acting in the same manner as themselves.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 3:59pm

    i heard that the US has used the excuse that this Chinese hacking 'is different'! different to what, i have to ask? funny how when the shit hits the fan and splatters the USA, it is such a big deal and the other country is the worst of the worst! it could always try getting China put on to the 'dreaded 301 list'!! my God! anything but that, please!!

     

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  30.  
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    Kronomex, May 19th, 2014 @ 4:31pm

    (wipes tears from eyes) MWAHAHAHA. My sides hurt from laughing. This isn't a badly written comedy script is it?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2014 @ 6:06pm

    The DOJ is out of control and I seriously think it's gone rogue. Between shutting down the bank accounts of legitimate businesses covered under the 2nd amendment of the US Constitution, and shutting down bank accounts of adult entertainers. Then going on to accuse the Chinese of cyber espionage after it's been exposed that the US is doing the exact same thing to Brazilian oil companies. It all just defies logic and common sense.

    The DOJ hasn't prosecuted a single bankster for the 2008 financial crisis, yet they're trying to prosecute military officials outside their jurisdictional authority? Absurd! The citizens of the United States would be wise to indict Eric Holder.

     

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  32.  
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    Anon, May 19th, 2014 @ 7:31pm

    I used to think that whenever the Republicans rail against, is exactly what they are attempting to promulgate (e.g., they talk about voter fraud, and commit it by curtailing voting by the poor). But it appears more and more that the same can be said about Eric Holder and inJustice Dept.

     

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  33.  
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    FM Hilton, May 19th, 2014 @ 7:32pm

    Terms of usage

    "It stinks of hypocrisy."
    "It's impossible to scold other nations for doing the same thing we are doing without (rightfully) looking like hypocritical assholes.",


    Let's get the term right:

    It is hypocrisy, plain and simple.

    "Do as I say, not as I do."-mantra of the United States Government, brought to you by the NSA, the CIA and a whole host of other hypocritical lying assholes.

    I bet the Chinese are having a riotous laughing fit over these charges.

     

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  34.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 10:30am

    In other ironic news...

    The US is about to file criminal charges against Russia for their censorship of free speech, and are contemplating filing criminal charges against themselves for auto-rape.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Historical perspective

    Hey! Independent invention...oops...maybe not. So, apparently even knowing something is being done, and having all the resources you would think might be needed, you can, in fact, keep secrets. Sorry, those of you who believe independent invention is inevitable.

     

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  36.  
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    Sharonto, May 22nd, 2014 @ 12:59am

    Actually, I don't care about the mutual cyberspying game between two countries. I just care about how I can spy my son's computer? How about Micro Keylogger which is said to be the best spying tool for family.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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