何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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Spying and Surveillance 精选

已有 11112 次阅读 2013-6-8 19:37 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

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Any modern nation for security reasons engages in gathering intelligence, whether it is against other nations or from her own population. It is a necessary evil you might say. In the US, because of our concern over privacy, inconsistency and shock happen when the citizens discover how extensive such  intelligence gathering activities have become.  In fact,reportedly that Presidents Obama and Xi will discuss cyber-spying during theirmeeting in California this week  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/us/politics/obama-and-xi-open-informal-meetings-in-california.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130608&_r=0.

Basically, since 9/11/2001 under the Patriot Act passed and extended by Congress in 2001, 2005, 2009, 2012, and other related  legislations,the US government can legally and secretly monitor communications (e-mail,Internet, and phone) of anyone; people can also be prosecuted for aiding or given knowledge to potential enemies  of the US. Under these broad power grantedby the Congress, the government has in fact been doing such surveillance. The surprising thing is that the wider population only just began to be aware of this.

In previous blog articles I have mentioned about the end of privacy and gave indirect evidence that all my e-mails are monitored by both the US and China. http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-35816.html Two recent incidents worth reporting.

First,  last year Business Week actually reported a case of a University of Tennessee  professor  being successfully prosecuted and convicted and now sitting in jail http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-01/why-the-professor-went-to-prison  for doing business with China. It is a long story complicated by the personalities of the professor involved. But one can easily imagine that the US government can if they wanted to put me in the same predicament.

Two years ago, I was asked by a friend of a friend of afriend who wishes my help for finding a place as a visiting scholar in the US(I get such request often).  Accordingly I asked for the CV of this person to see if I am in a position to help. Back came the document showing prominently that this person is from the National Defense University of China specializing in Anti-submarine research.  Now this is not my specialty or expertise. And if I did anything, then I will have directly committed a crime under the current US law. So I explained why and refused . Subsequently, I have wondered if this was indeed a test instigated by either the US or the Chinese government to test my loyalty, allegiance and willingness to do spying.

Nowadays it seems that the only defense is not to do anything you will be embarrassed to be made public. Privacy and the need for surveillance is always a tradeoff.

Note added 6/11/2013. As suspected this is a two way street. Both sides tries to do their best http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/10/inside_the_nsa_s_ultra_secret_china_hacking_group?page=full&wp_login_redirect=0



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