Information highway or spy-way?

Updated: 2013-06-18 07:58

By Philip J. Cunningham (China Daily)

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                Information highway or spy-way?

Preventing the information highway from becoming the information spy-way is in the interests of people around the world.

The creeping intrusions of Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants, whose business model is predicated on reading people's e-mails and scanning the intimate lives of others in order to mine metadata for profit, has long been a concern to many. But the extent to which the US government has infiltrated Silicon Valley is only beginning to become clear.

US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations about the breathtaking scale of US government spying and the murky but documented collusion between intelligence agencies and the Silicon Valley signal a paradigm shift in public awareness. The spying and snooping is not just about ad clicks and crass commercialism, it's a political onslaught, an assault on civil liberties and an affront on human rights around the globe.

The National Security Agency has an insatiable appetite for other people's data, especially foreigners. Why else would former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton sully her diplomatic efforts with a crusade to make the world safe for Facebook? Why else did US supremacists and their fellow travelers and useful fools in the tech industry cry for Google when it stumbled in China? It was a fool's errand and it failed. China was, and remains, fully within its rights as a sovereign nation to say, "Get out, Google, take a walk, Facebook, we don't want any Trojan horses here."

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