Politics Magazine

Are You Really Surprised About This ?

Posted on the 13 June 2013 by Jobsanger
Are You Really Surprised About This ? (The cartoon above is by Stuart Carlson at Carlsontoons.com.)
For the last few weeks there has been a story that some in the press have considered important -- and which has outraged some in Congress (or at least they are acting that way). It is that China has been hacking computers in the United States, trying to learn some secrets our government would rather they didn't know. Of course, the Chinese deny that they have done any hacking.
Now Edward Snowden, the person who made public the NSA's spying on American citizens through telecommunications companies, says that the United States government has been hacking into computers of other countries -- and one of the primary targets of that hacking is China. I'm sure it won't be long before the U.S. government also denies that computer hacking.
Which brings me to my headline question -- is anyone really surprised by either of these stories? Of course the United States has been hacking into the computers of other countries (and it's probably with our friends as well as enemies) -- and China is doing the same thing. And they are not alone. You can be sure that the Russians, Israelis, English, French, Germans, and any other country with sophisticated enough technology is doing the same thing.
Countries have been spying on each other for thousands of years now. Computer hacking is just a new tool to use to do that spying, and it would take a very dim-witted person to think that any country with the technology wouldn't use that technology to help in their intelligence (spying) efforts. Countries have always used the best available technology to aid in spying on other countries -- and they will continue to do so in the future.
Is it proper or ethical? No, it is not. But spying has never been proper or ethical, and it will not stop because people are surprised or outraged. It's just the way things are -- and all we can do is try to develop and use effective counter-measures (while knowing they will never be 100% effective, just like past counter-intelligence efforts were not always successful).

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