Spying on foreign governments because you think they might present a threat to you in terms of war/foreign policy is generally defensible (although many on here would disagree with that), while using the apparatus of the state to support select private enterprise through espionage is not.
The US government has still not appreciated the full impact of the leaks or they would be far more concerned about cleaning things up fast as the economic consequences threaten to be huge.
From the beginning of the crisis, these people loudly blamed the victim, accusing NSA-critics of anti-americanism and telling us that "the NSA discussion is over".
Then, with time, the industrial espionage stories started to emerge (and it became known that Merkel's phone has been bugged since 2002). Turns out, there are quite a few instances where German companies had their trade secrets stolen by American intelligence agencies, which in turn gave those secrets to US competitors.
So now even the most blindly devoted atlanticists in government know that they must do something against the NSA problem, and to make it worse, they have to do something that actually works (as opposed to feel-good measures).
Fixed that for you. Please produce the articles about US companies benefiting from economic espionage.
Individuals are to be assumed innocent until proven guilty, but organizations being made up of many individuals, some of which are likely guilty to to statistical frequency of guilty people in a random population of people, are to be assumed guilty until proven innocent. If we know anything for certain from the last ~7 months, it's that "trust us, we're not doing anything wrong" is a bald-faced lie.
As far as I know China is the only one being blamed for Industrial Espionage. NSA is snooping on citizens and interest groups.
Note: I am no way in favor of any snooping on any countries citizens foreign or domestic.
The only use for that information would be setting bids. It's no small thing. Bids with insider information could cost Brasil tens of billions of dollars.
Apart from one other use: verifying that competitors aren't bribing officials to win the auction.
"We have cought you cheating! We know because… (we've hacked your exchange)"
How would the NSA choose which US company would receive the information? A lottery?
Yes. the snowden revelations with tons of documents; i dont know what are you trying to defend here, but you are clearly very emotive in your argumentation line.. trying to dismiss everything without anything to back up your arguments..
are you under fire here?
I dont see where it says they passed that info to American companies.
Please dont think I am downplaying this I am just trying to understand why.
I am trying to grasp at something that would justify it. Its beyond belief that they are actually doing this. Who's the good guys in this world or are the "people" the only good guys left?
In all the snowden leaks, there are documents to prove what they are saying; go to the guardian, or try to see if theres any attachment somewhere..
It would be very difficult to find something "in the cloud"; cause it would probably be under takedown (people could get into prison or even killed without notice just by porting some of those pen-drives or sd cards.. see David Miranda case in the UK for example)
The nefarious mix of government and corporations into one homogeneous body its pretty well know at least outside of US, and its the reason why governments who dont want to have that sort of relationship, are labeled as outliers ..
to be clear all governements do concessions to companies here and there, but in the US the thing its pretty scary; with the power of the lobby groups have into the politicians decisions
This is one of the greatest threat of the XXI century in the same way facist ideology movements were in the XX century..
If even the governement moves toward profits of its companies, what the future will bring to the population that do not fit in that plan? .. citizenship could be reduced to people being mere tools for profit..
Dystopic? yeah.. but just let the Koch brothers and people like them, take the power to see if this would not happen..
Staat heißt das kälteste aller kalten Ungeheuer. Kalt lügt es auch; und diese Lüge kriecht aus seinem Munde: "Ich, der Staat, bin das Volk."
State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Cold it lies, too; and this lie crawls out of its mouth: "I, the state, am the people."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
As you can imagine, the balance of obligation of national oil companies leans in favor of the governments which they represent over shareholders, making the pursuit of profit a lesser factor when political issues are at play.
No Petrobras has no known ties to organized crime. However if you were to ask a Brazilian citizen, they may think otherwise since we consider many of our politicians to be as corrupt as professional crime organizations. Then again, as a US permanent resident, I consider our politicians here to be as corrupt as the Brazilian ones. The Brazilian politicians steal while in office, while American politicians have institutionalized corruption by setting up a system where they get paid back indirectly after leaving office for all the favors they did while in office.
So to answer your question, some would say both the NSA and Petrobras have ties to organized crime, or, more accurately, institutionalized crime.
I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I think the only country not doing industrial espionage must be Somalia.
> The NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ, spied on the official in charge of the European Commission's antitrust office, which has threatened Google with large fines and has already levied punitive fees from Microsoft and Intel, a new report says.
...from this article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57616173-38/nsa-spied-on-e...
This and my other example are recent enough to have come from the Snowden documents.
Do you have a source for that? As far as I can tell Germany wants tighter intelligence integration with the US and howls at the slightest mention of even reducing the size of US military bases on German soil.
10.5.1. Strategic industrial espionage by the intelligence services
After the end of the Cold War, intelligence service capacity
was released and it can now be used in other areas. The United
States readily admits that some of its intelligence service's
activities also concern industry. This includes, for example,,
monitoring of the observance of economic sanctions, compliance
with rules on the supply of weapons and dual-use goods,
developments on commodities markets and events on the international
financial markets. The rapporteur's findings are that the US
services are not alone in their involvement in these spheres,
nor is there any serious criticism of this.
I have yet to see anything like this in the news. Thats crazy to think the NSA is helping companies with trade secrets.
For Americans Europeans are crazy, aren't they? For me and a lot of other Europeans (most I think) it would be crazy (stupid) not to believe that the NSA is spying for american companies.
Yeah, I get the reason for asking that, but as a question, its rather devalued these days as far as the US and its TLA's are concerned. Given the disturbing unrestrained scope of US spying its reasonable to start with the assumption that the US has stolen any information that exists and used it to promote itself at the expense of even its allies. Problem is, when the likes of the NSA boldly claim to be able to access literally anything, anywhere, we must assume that all information and data are compromised. Doing anything different would be negligence.
Now the USA is in the same position Iraq was prior to the illegal invasion. It now has to prove a negative. Here is why:
Iraq was accused by the US and its lap dogs of having WMD (which incidentally was redefined to stitch up Iraq. Prior, WMD was understood to mean nukes. It got re-defined to mean bio and chem), and was expected to prove that it did not have them, or face the consequences. It failed in US eyes, and the US responded by killing many thousands of Iraq's people in its OTT invasion of "shock and awe". This was impossible as it is impossible to prove a negative. Iraq could not win in any way. Now, I think, the rest of the world, including its allies, would be reasonable in suspecting the US of having anything it likes in data terms, and must now prove it has not in order to regain any level of confidence. The US has to prove that it has not literally stolen money, IP, and business form non US companies by using stolen data to its advantage. The US has been stinging in its fines for banks acting illegally and defrauding government and public, acting like a moral god. Well, the same standards must apply to the US. If the US cannot prove its innocence, the rest of the world has every right to act in response. Unfair, and very difficult, but the US did set that standard. Like Iraq, the US must now some how prove its innocence. Or admit to its wrong doing.
The UK had no defence here either. We conspired in this. And I as a UK voter would like to know what we got out of it. Or did the US steal our information too? I wonder what Aussies and Kiwis think. Are we willing partners who knew what was really going on, and getting something valuable out of it, or were we all duped by the Americans?
Also, given the fact that the NSA is government organisation, it could be argued that what the US has engaged in is literally an act of war. There for its reasonable for countries like Germany, or regions like the EU, to investigate the US and if found guilty, demand reparations.
IMHO, its getting close to cards on table time, or the US get treated like an outcast.
Or, do we do what we always do, and ignore it?
I say it time to take a stand. If we dont, we all might as well make our countries US states and be done with it.
Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Apple, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft...
Rules regarding abuse of dominant position could have been applied much stricter. Some of these companies have 90-something percent market share on several of the geographic and product markets they operate in. But not one of them has been forced to split up. MS was forced not to include IE in Windows and MS and Intel were fined (fined!), but not one of them have been forced to open access to (or just make it possible to export) their social graph. Apple is still allowed to block other content providers from selling movies and music iPhone and iPad. The iphone costs more or less the same all over Europe as does the music and movies on it. Amazon has been allowed to apply predatory pricing for more than a decade.
Tax laws could have been designed so that companies were taxed on their European profits, just like the European companies they compete against.
These companies barely employ Europeans, barely pay any European tax, but they hold thousands of European patents and make hundreds of billions of euro in Europe and operate in markets where there is curiously enough still not/no longer serious competition from European companies.
I don't believe for a second that NSA hasn't used their spying to improve American competitiveness.
It's supposed to, the European single market laws require that it costs the same in each country.
The iPhone in particular does not cost more or less the same all over Europe, if only because of varying VAT rates. Salaries are very different within Europe too, the ratio of average salaries is around 1:10.
How would US espionage force the EU from prosecuting or legislating against these companies?
Well, how about evesdropping on EU meetings where such actions is discussed, and taking the appropriate actions / applying pressure to favor european officials that are against them or remove from office officials that are in favor?
What pressure do you apply?
You usually have nothing they want.
As a result, pressure you can apply is the same with or
without knowing the content of the meetings (IE essentially "take your ball and go home").
Also, you know the content of the meetings because they tell you their positions. In very formal letters. That they will be held to in court.
It's not like any of this is secret.
How do you "favor officials that are against them"? They are appointed.
Why would they care? They usually can't be voted against individually.
Can you point out any that were removed from office?
I'm really trying to understand what such a thing would buy you.
Blackmail them. Bribe them. Make them a counter offer under the table that gives them some benefits. Expose something they'd done (that you know because of spying on them) to the press. Play into their parties politics to get them ousted. Sponsor your own lackeys to outvote them.
>How do you "favor officials that are against them"? They are appointed.
Lackeys are appointed all the time too (which can also be their bosses). The number of people paid by agencies like CIA to take specific action against their countries' interest is staggering.
>Can you point out any that were removed from office?
Here's a recentish example:
It's incredible how easy you can setup this kind of situations to "happen" to people you want to take out of the game.
Sometimes you don't even have to set them up, you just know their tendencies (from watching them) and just decide when it's best time to act on them or ignore them.
Of course, those actions being covert, and the quality of police work being what it is, don't expect those things to be unmasked in time and be able to be proved 100%. Usually we learn about those manipulation after decades, when somebody opens his mouth, or some files are declassified.
But if you study the post-war history of places like Latin America, Italy, Greece, etc, you can find tons of such instances that have been verified (by declassified agency files, court documents, reporting etc).
Here's some convenient one-tome insight on such affairs (the critisicm to which has been pedantic BS):
This is honestly the funniest thing i have heard. Europe is usually literally fighting over who gets to open and push investigations to regulate these companies first. That is often the main holdup. They sit in rooms drawing straws to see who gets to reap the political benefit of being anti-US.
How easy indeed
It all comes down to perception, the other guy is not the right
(Full disclosure: I've been directly involved in the antitrust efforts of at least one of these companies)
If you do not know, the NSA is paying American cloud providers for spying. That is an illegal subsidy that is killing the European cloud industry.
One could argue that the regulatory environment in Europe has prevented local success, you don't get to baselessly blame these companies (none of which have gained their position undeservedly) and spue accusations without proof.
Also you don't get to blame the US for Europe's lack or enterprise, I suggest you ask an economist for a better excuse.
Exactly. And this is something that has been going on for ages,
To be clear, it's not like they feel they promote "select private enterprises" by doing so. That is, it's not "let's help our pals at company X" -- it's more like "let's give the US corporations a leverage against Mexico / Brasil / France etc".
It already is an unfair (and illegal in most cases) leverage because it's based on huge spying machinery. But when it's also combined with the kind of huge diplomatic, political and military pressure the US has, then it becomes a way to crush competition, in other words post-colonialism at its best.
And no, not "all countries do the same" (a common counter-argument). A lot, maybe all countries do have spying agencies, but most of them are concerned with internal affairs (dissidents and such) and dangerous neighborhoud countries (feuds). And of course, their scale and scope is orders of magnitude smaller.
Only someone watching too much 24 and Homeland would believe that countries such as, say, Chile, Argentina, Luxemburg, Czech republic, Albania, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, Colombia and such have the same kind of spying infrastructure and reach as the US has (and much much less the diplomatic might to take advantage of it, even if they had). It's not called a "superpower" for nothing.
You're picking up on something very interesting here. Sadly, you don't fully address the issue.
Hollywood propaganda  could very well be THE reason why we have become so politically apathetic and hence THE reason why such tyrants have managed to gain power in the USA/UK.
I am genuinely curious why the former would be defensible while the latter not. The former in this case would trend toward causing (at some point) some level of death an destruction, the latter amounts to high level piracy.
Is the basis for the former's defensibility the assumption that it is strictly defensive in nature?
Why would a country not have a program to enhance it's own industry through espionage?
Because the one is (supposedly) defensive tactic, the other is offensive.
>Why would a country not have a program to enhance it's own industry through espionage?
Because the country being a superpower gives all other countries an unfair advantage. Even if you don't believe in morality and ethics, so you don't care about that, this can still get to bite its ass at some point.
Second, because it's also hypocritical with said country paying lip service to "free markets".
For instance, Japan works very hard to grow rice even though it would be much cheaper to import rice from China. It's because not being able to feed your own population is bad in a war. Energy (oil) is the same way.
The line between military and industry is often not very clear.
“We do not use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to — U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” said Vanee Vines, an N.S.A. spokeswoman.
But she added that some economic spying was justified by national security needs. “The intelligence community’s efforts to understand economic systems and policies, and monitor anomalous economic activities, are critical to providing policy makers with the information they need to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of our national security,” Ms. Vines said.
1. Zero "friendly" nations have gone beyond carping. If the NSA still thinks they can put the toothpaste back in the tube it's because nobody who matters has told them otherwise, much less acted on such a declaration.
2. Even more surprising is that zero small nations who are far down the "Eyes" hierarchy, have concluded they can't win, so they should not play the game. That is, nobody has said: "It's unacceptable for our citizens, industry, and government to be an open book to the NSA, therefore we will take action to make communication secure." You would think some nation would seize the opportunity to become the "Switzerland of data."
So, you build a data centre in a "Switzerland of data" and throw something like national government-level resources into its physical security, and buttress it with legislation highly supportive of nondisclosure and customer privacy. So what? To get any utility out of such a place, outside users need to send traffic to and from it. Unlike, say, copyright enforcement takedowns or what have you, the NSA's surveillance isn't highly reliant on physical proximity to that kind of facility, or nearby listening posts. Much of the Sigint took place at vulnerable transoceanic Internet traffic convergence points in countries like the UK and Germany.
How would a Switzerland of Data stop that? :-)
Either play along with the 14 eyes, or join some loose alliance with the BRIC countries.
The result of your decision, combined with your country's geo-political circumstances, could range from political/economic isolation and worst-case scenario military invasion, to mild prosperity in exchange for total colonialist-like obedience at the expense of your own citizens' full potential in prosperity and living standards.
Of course, there will be hordes of people claiming that this piece of the puzzle is "nothing new", but it is-- this reveal is another very meaty piece of evidence for the thesis that the NSA's goal is universal control and that the terrorism justification is merely a pretense. There is literally no room to argue that eavesdropping on UNICEF is making Americans even an iota more safe.
To locate bin Laden, the CIA launched a fraudulent vaccination campaign in a poor neighborhood, then switched it, uncompleted, to a richer area where the suspect was thought to be.
The CIA operation violated fundamental principles as old as the Hippocratic oath. It also endangered health workers associated with a polio vaccination program in Pakistan, several of whom were abducted and killed, prompting the UN to withdraw its anti-polio team.
The CIA ruse also will lead to the deaths of unknown numbers of Pakistanis who have been deprived of protection from polio because they fear that foreign killers may still be exploiting vaccination programs.
The particular EU antitrustocrat was involved in decisions relating to many other firms that FedGov might find of interest, including Gazprom, Citigroup, JP Morgan, HSBC, ICAP, ISI, UMG, EMI, Panasonic, Toshiba, Intel.
I'm not defending use of the NSA's surveillance apparatus for economic espionage; in fact, I'd be happy to see all relevant FedGov employees fired, denied their pensions, and prosecuted if that's true. What I'm saying is simply let's not assume software companies are the beneficiaries when there may be legitimate reasons to spy on companies like Gazprom, which is controlled by the Russian government and likely the largest natural gas extractor in the world.
Sounds like saying "everybody has an army. there is no difference" in response to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_e...
That the spying itself is out of control, too, doesn't help. Then there is the amount of international communications that go through the US, versus the amount that goes through France.
There's not even a comparison -- a far cry from "the only difference is media spotlight". (reminds me of Bush voters talking about liberal media btw... if that offends anyone, good, because it takes real energy or natural talent to dismiss differences of orders of magnitude that easily)
And as soon as that passes no one will care again.
BTW, is Snowden done yet? Is there a chance that we'll find out that the NSA spies on the US President and the UK Queen? (I'll take as a given that they spy on London Mayor Boris Johnson for pure entertainment value. Hell, even I'd do that.)
All we need now is the head line "NSA spies on NSA", and the whole thing will implode.
Sorry HN. Its just that it is getting so absurd, it has to be funny.
If you assume NSA spying net benefits the United States, then a U.S. citizen should count it beneficial that the extent of the surveillance is so comprehensive. If you don't, or have interests not aligned with the U.S., these revelations are pretty horrible.
Put it this way, if you or I hacked say, I dunno... NASA, looking for proof of , oh random subject... aliens... Would it be a defence to say, "I was just looking, I did no harm. I didn't use any data I saw"? Or would the US try to prosecute such a person? Hmmmmm
Do you guys understand just how much all your efforts in tech could be for naught when you have government acting against you every step of the way? I would think that eventually it's got to sink in just how damaging all of this is to you. You could be an oncredible engineer or scientist and have a guy (or gal) you supported politically destroy your efforts through action or inaction. Time to really pay attention folks.
We can affect change by boycotting the services of Google and other tech giants. We all know that the Senate only listens to rich Corporate lobbyists rather than citizens.
In fact Google was challenging the legality of FedGov national security letters in two different courts (my article in May was the first to disclose this) even before the Snowden documents began to appear.
edit: here's the link: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57587005-38/