China Media Wants Apple, Others Punished for Being NSA Pawns

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China state media outlet, China Daily, is demanding the government dole out sever punishment to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other big tech companies for acting as pawns of the U.S. government to steal secret information. The news outlet alleges the companies it is targeting worked as U.S. government agents to monitor Internet activity in China, although it isn't saying what type of data was stolen.

China media calls US companies spies, wants harsh punishmentChina media calls US companies spies, wants harsh punishment

The People's Daily, another Chinese new publication, echoed China Daily saying, "U.S. companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. are all coordinating with the PRISM programme to monitor China."

The punishment demand is yet more fallout from the revelation that the U.S. Government has been involved in widespread surveillance and was collecting data from companies, although Apple, Google and others deny that they were handing over information.

While China may see Apple and other tech companies as willing participants in government spying efforts, there's a movement in the U.S. to remove the veil of secrecy surrounding NSA surveillance. In an open letter to the White House, Apple and other companies said,

We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It's time for a change.

The Chinese news agencies said they want to create international guidelines and that severe punishment is in order for the tech companies.

"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," People's Daily said, according to Reuters. "The priority is strengthening penalties and punishments, and for anyone who steals our information, even though they are far away, we shall punish them!"

While the statements are coming from media outlets, they represent more than just a call to action because China Daily and People's Daily are both essentially mouthpieces for the Chinese government. Translation: Get ready for China to start targeting U.S. tech companies over NSA spy tactics.

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This smells of political posturing and has the potential to be a big headache for tech companies regardless of how complicit they may or may not have been with the NSA.

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Politics is the root of all evil.


Spell it with me, people: H… Y… P… O… C… R… I…S… Y.


Time bring all of those jobs back to the Untied States.


How does Brazil look as an alternate for assembling electronic devices?


Keep in mind that the accusation is over alleged surveillance of users, through the computers (and phones) sold to them. I’m presuming that the punishments the news agencies are talking about would be higher import tariffs or even sales bans on products from US companies. Moving the manufacturing of those items out of China would have little to no effect on this, and would be just as retaliatory an action.

Lee Dronick

On the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square.


Then have the PLA stop hacking U.S. companies.

Bob Faulkner

Remember, this comes right after the U.S. Indicted some of China ‘s military personel on spying charges. Maybe this is in retsliation for that. In any case, the NSA is out of control and the things they did we’re wrong. Remember when we were screaming here when we found out that they had got out data from the tech companies, oh! And AT&T, too?


Pot, meet kettle….


@Bob Faulkner:  all true, but it is quite disingenuous of China to complain when they are currently the top state actor involved in corporate hacking and IP theft/corporate espionage.



Commentary like this from the readership is one of the many reasons why I keep reading TMO.

Any student of the Chinese political system knows that statements like these from the mainstream, government-run media, fuelled as they are with bombast and faux outrage, are mere indications and justifications for decisions that have already been taken, and actions that are already in play.

Bob Faulkner has it exactly right. Any savvy foreign company knows that, at any moment, it can be hostage and sacrifice for any actions taken by its government that has run afoul of the Chinese government. The issue can always be redressed by the government in question making reparations, however defined, to the Chinese government.

It’s not personal. It’s just business, which in the Chinese system is quintessentially political.

As for those named companies; brace yourselves. This is going to hurt.

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