Over the past couple of days it has been revealed that a group of computer-savvy Chinese military officers hacked into the computer systems of various US companies such as U.S. Steel Corp., Westinghouse, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies, the United Steel Workers Union and SolarWorld.
The USA is completely OUTRAGED!!!! How DARE the Chinese hack commercial secrets in USA?? In fact, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced federal indictments against the five Chinese nationals living in the USA, charging them with cybertheft!
The fact is that these Chinese hackers probably are, in fact, guilty of hacking commercial American secrets for use by Chinese companies. So the issue is not really innocence or guilt. The real issue actually is far more outrageous than that.
Does anyone remember the National Security Agency (NSA), a.k.a., “No Such Agency”? Does anyone remember the hacking and spying on Americans that that NSA is now known to have conducted (and is still doing), as revealed by Edward Snowden not too long ago?
So think about this for a minute: If the USA is spying on its own citizens, what do you think they’re doing to other countries and companies?
And here’s another question to ponder before beginning the REAL discussion on the merits of any indictment against Chinese nationals who spied on American companies for their trade secrets:
What do you think EVERY large American corporation does to learn their competitors’ secrets? Doesn’t anyone really think that when Apple sued Samsung over copyright infringement in 2009, that Samsung “accidentally” figured out how to duplicate the Iphone all on its lonely own?
The fact that US Attorney General Eric Holder publicly announced the indictments this week of the Chinese nationals who allegedly rang the cybertheft ring is, to a large extent, more a function of the politics in play during an election year than for any other reason. In all probability, if the election had already occurred, the US government would have quietly contacted the Chinese government to tell them to tell their operatives to knock it off, and the Chinese would have extracted their nationals involved.
The reason for this is that the trade and debt relationship between China and the USA is extremely complex, and no one really wants to upset that Apple cart (pardon the pun). Furthermore, as the Chinese ambassador to the USA stated, the USA is no one to be shaking its finger at ANY country for cybertheft, which more accurately is defined as spying on others….be they Chinese or Russian or from anywhere else. People who live in glass houses…..
The GOP and their big Corporate America funding sources are, of course, demanding action be taken, demanding that people be held accountable, demanding harsh action against the perpetrators. And yet, there isn’t a single large corporation in America, and perhaps even on the entire planet, that wouldn’t attempt to steal trade secrets from competitors in the business world if they could. It’s called free market capitalism (every company for itself) and it’s a pretty hypocritical position that these defenders of all things free market have adopted. But it goes hand in hand with far right’s favorite manta, “Do As I Say, Not As I Do”.
Yet, as bad as it is that to be expressing this purported outrage, perhaps the worst part of this is that the Chinese used some of the most primitive and rudimentary ploys, such as email spam, to get employees at the various hacked companies to allow the Chinese hacker access into their systems. According to the indictments, the Chinese got the American employees to open questionable email attachments and to click on innocent-looking websites, and even used the misspelled name of a company CEO to trick the employees into installing all kinds of malware on their own work computers, which, incredibly, were not well protected against some of these most simple of cyber-tricks.
So perhaps the outrage against the Chinese perpetrators is misplaced and misguided. Perhaps the outrage should be directed at the companies that did not adequately protect their trade secrets with the proper anti-hacking software and the proper training of their employees in the need to be careful what they open on line.
And yet, the most outrage probably should be directed against the elected politicians who allowed the USA to lose the high moral ground years ago by torturing prisoners in secret “black” prisons, and getting caught hacking and spying on other countries and their commercial enterprises. And even then, these self-same politicians scream with false and undeserved indignity when someone else does what both corporate and governmental USA has done for years….
No WONDER the ultra-right hates Edward Snowden for blowing the whistle on the NSA (and through their funding association with the right, Corporate America’s own spying tactics)!!
In the meantime, though…. “Oh, so WHAT??” seems a more appropriate response.