The ongoing spy/hacking spat between China and the U.S. continues in entertaining fashion: now Chinese state media are hammering the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook, using last year’s PRISM revelations to claim they are “pawns” of the U.S. government.
According to a Reuters report, the Chinese People’s Daily (an outright state-run newspaper) emitted the following florid phrasing on Wednesday:
To resist the naked Internet hegemony, we will draw up international regulations, and strengthen technology safeguards, but we will also severely punish the pawns of the villain. The priority is strengthening penalties and punishments, and for anyone who steals our information, even though they are far away, we shall punish them!
Meanwhile, the China Daily (not state-run but usually a faithful messenger for the ruling Communist Party) also published a lengthy report on Wednesday that bore the headline, “Foreign tech firms pose threat on Internet.”
China said last month that it would vet incoming technology products and services, because of unnamed “governments and enterprises of a few countries” using their “monopoly in the market and technological edge” to hoover up loads of sensitive information.
The country is reportedly even considering banning banks from using IBM servers. Of course, IBM is a U.S. firm, but such a ban would no doubt lead to more business for Chinese suppliers – a likely motive for much of this hue and cry, though Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations certainly gave everyone genuine cause for concern. It should be noted, of course, that the U.S. firms in question all deny funnelling data to the U.S. government in any way beyond the usual cooperation with court orders.
The current argument follows the U.S. indictment of several Chinese army officials for allegedly heading up hacking operations that targeted American firms for sensitive commercial information. Expect many more fireworks before this is over.