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.

Filed Under: china, cyberspying, doj, economic espionage, eric holder, espionage, nsa, spying, surveillance

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 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 . . . .

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