Trends by Martin Khor
Monday 4 November 2013
in the web of foreign spying
by foreign intelligence agencies is also prevalent in Malaysia and
other Asian countries, whether through the internet or spying equipment
located in Embassies, as revealed last week.
last week it was the turn of Asians to learn that their region was
also the subject of foreign spying.
was no surprise. If American intelligence is spying on Americans,
on Latin Americans, and on Europeans (including its top political
leader, Angela Merkel of Germany), it is a foregone conclusion that
Asia would not be left out.
is no revelation yet that Asian Prime Ministers and Presidents have
had their personal mobile phones and emails tapped.
it is also a foregone conclusion that these things are happening.
Be prepared therefore to read in the coming weeks about famous Asian
leaders, opposition stalwarts, journalists and celebrities being the
subjects of snooping.
the news that American and Australian Embassies are being used to
snoop on Asian countries justifiably caused outrage in our region.
The Australian surveillance is reportedly in cooperation with the
is one of the places where Australian intelligence operates to spy,
according to reports in the Der Spiegel and Sydney Morning
Herald. They revealed that the spying takes place from the Australian
High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.
Asian countries where the intelligence collection is conducted is
the Australian Embassies in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, East
Timor and Papua New Guinea.
news reports also revealed that the US embassies have also been conducting
surveillance activities in many Asian countries including Malaysia,
Indonesia, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.
last Friday registered its protests in official notes handed to the
Australian High Commissioner and the US deputy chief of Mission who
were summoned to Wisma Putra. The note warned that surveillance
of close friends could severely damage relations.
warned the US and Australia that continuation of surveillance facilities
inside their embassies threaten to derail years of trust built up
China also responded to the report that the American Embassy in Beijing
and consulates in Shanghai and Chengdu operated special spying facilities.
Its Foreign Ministry has demanded an explanation from the US, saying
that "Foreign entities must not in any form engage in activities
that are incompatible with their status and that are harmful to China's
national security and interest."
last Friday, Brazil and Germany introduced a draft resolution to a
United Nations General Assembly committee calling for an end to excessive
press reports on spying in Asian countries are based on information
leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the US National
and magazines had previously revealed that the personal phones of
the German Chancellor and the Brazilian President had been tapped.
Both leaders have registered protests directly to US President Barrack
week also saw revelations by the Washington Post that the US
and UK intelligence agencies had found a way of intercepting communications
from Google as well as Yahoo as the data were being passed between
their data centres. "We are outraged at the lengths to
which the government seems to have gone," said Google's chief
internet giant companies have found that their encryptment system
protecting email and other information flowing through its data centres
are not secure after all from the snooping activities of the spy agencies.
technology companies are worried that their millions of customers
will no longer trust that their privacy will be protected.
will this affect the use of browsing, email, facebook, and other facets
of the internet technology?
companies and entities currently dominate the global internet business.
Much of the world's flow of data go through internet companies based
in the US.
US administration had projected itself as a honest host of the internet
centres, respecting the rights and privacy of the world's internet
and email users, and a champion of internet freedom.
image has been shattered by the series of revelations emerging from
Snowden's leaked files. The opposite image has replaced it,
of a government that has used high technology to gather billions of
bits of data on practically all internet users.
counter-terrorisms was the official reason, this now seems to be only
a pretext for also spying on any important person, including one's
that they have lost confidence that the US or other countries will
respect privacy of the politicians, companies and citizens of their
countries, some governments are now planning to limit the reach of
American-based internet companies.
Financial Times reports that:
Brazil is planning regulations that would force technology companies
to retain information on the internet about its citizens and institutions
within Brazil itself.
European officials are discussing the need to have stronger cloud
computing capabilities in Europe to protect their citizens' privacy.
is also planning to bring up in various United Nations agencies and
fora the need for a global framework to respect and protect privacy
on the internet.