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American Security Firms Collaborate on Chinese Olympics 68

Posted by Zonk
from the helping-hands-across-the-world dept.
A New York Times story at News.com notes the efforts of American security organizations to help the Chinese government prepare for the coming Olympic games. Critics argue this assistance violates the spirit of Congressional sanctions, and that the technology left behind after the games are over could be used to track dissident elements. "'I don't know of an intelligence-gathering operation in the world that, when given a new toy, doesn't use it,' said Steve Vickers, a former head of criminal intelligence for the Hong Kong police who now leads a consulting firm. Indeed, the autumn issue of the magazine of China's public security ministry prominently listed places of religious worship and Internet cafes as locations to install new cameras. "
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American Security Firms Collaborate on Chinese Olympics

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  • – funneling money into security organizations, thus ensuring that there is a proper infrastructure to be put in place once too many US-citizens should decide to be fed up with the feds
    – providing a testbed for said organizations
    – ensuring that the US will not come under (economic) pressure from a democratic China

    Business as usual.

    CC.
    • Too much information/innovation has already been stolen by the Chinese. They commit computer crime to infiltrate computer systems and exfiltrate data. They use students and employees to steal proprietary information from companies. They reverse engineer products manufactured in China and/or run production lines long.

      Have people forgotten about the long string of Chinese engineers busted transferring information to the homeland? How about when their pilot Wang Wei crashed into and crippled a US recon airp
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        Do you REALLY want to start a penis size contest when it comes to international crimes when compared to the USA???
        • There is no denying that the current administration especially, and I'm sure others as well, have committed international crimes, that doesn't mean we should hand China everything they want/need to bury this country and oppress their own people.
      • by kaynaan (1180525)
        That is Funny.

        "Wang Wei crashed into and crippled a US recon airplane forcing it to land in China"

        And what do you think the U.S would have done to a chinese recon plane ???

        Reminder: you do not own the world, that is a valid response of any government that has the capability, the only reason it is not done more often, is that other governments don't have the power to do it.
  • by sokoban (142301) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @01:45PM (#21858094) Homepage
    Me American. Me play joke. Me put listening device in your Coke.

    And the new one for the Chinese:

    Me Chinese. Me play joke. Me put lead paint in your Coke.
  • ... and that the technology left behind after the games are over could be used to track dissident elements ...
    I don't think the Chinese government necessarily needs outside assistance with implementing technologies to track political dissidents. They might be pretty backward with their approach to human rights, but technologically impaired they are not. Their "Great Internet Wall of Censorship" is designed to filter the exposure of the populace to other cultures, for example. I don't think they're going to have any difficulty implementing more severe monitoring programs, with or without Western assistance.

    This is not to say that it's ethical for Western security firms to help their government, but business isn't always ethical.

    • the "great firewall of China" was pretty much built by US companies with approval from Congress years ago. Many Congressmen have financial ties to these companies and when they cry "think of the children" they really want their favorite censorship company to get a cushy federal law passed so their products can be forced on US companies all over.

      Sorry, but the cat's out of the bag already. It's been that way for years.
      • You may not believe this, but I'm in complete agreement with you. My main point isn't whether or not the U.S. is actually a shining example of free thinking, it's the fact that (as you so correctly put it) the cat is indeed already out of the bag, and all of this was inevitable. China's populace will have to be the driving force in deciding what is or isn't acceptable under their regime... my hope is that sweeping change won't have to involve a lot of bloodshed, but I'm fairly certain it will at some point.
  • Am I paranoid? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drspliff (652992) <harry.roberts@NOSPAM.midnight-labs.org> on Sunday December 30, 2007 @01:47PM (#21858114)
    Or would this be a great trial run before deployment in "the homeland". :)
    • "Or would this be a great trial run before deployment in "the homeland". :)"

      It's already deployed here, in the interests of defending us from the 'terrorist threat'. Of course none of this is going to affect terrorism, what it is directed at is stifling dissent at home, from their own citizens, a watched people is a wary one ..

      was: Re:Am I paranoid?
    • by base3 (539820)
      That trial run is happening in Iraq. Suspected fighters (i.e. anyone with brown skin) are retina scanned with portable units into a biometric database.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sumdumass (711423)
        Considering anyone in Iraq has brown skin, I don't see why it was necessary to put that in. Are you insinuating that it is being done for racist reasons? I mean if it was because of racism, why not just kill them and skip the suspected parts and claim they had a gun or something and shot at them.

        Indeed, I am having trouble understanding your comment.
        • by base3 (539820)
          Is this your first encounter with rhetoric? Or do you really actually understand the post and are making an attempt at sarcasm?
    • Yes.

      The government is not out to get you. They may implement more cameras in the interest of security, but they are not trying to silence your dissidence, or intimidate you, or even track you. Ushering cameras in may make it slightly more possible for a government who will do all those things to come into power, but right now, you really are paranoid.
      • by drspliff (652992)
        Not trying to track me...

        Just like the congestion charging cameras in London, UK don't track you or where you go. Or how some cameras on the motorways don't track you either to judge your average speed and fine you if you go over...

        You know one of the main reasons their introducing more cameras in the UK - to get rid of street crime.. by intimidating you (the randomly violent thug) into being really cautious about what you do because you're almost always on CCTV. See what I'm getting at...

        Ofcourse there are
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          My point is: with a current trend of power hungry politions, leveraging whatever they have now to ensure their political ideals are on-top in future; are you sure you're happy with that?

          Yup, I'm pretty much fine with that. Whatever repulsive-sounding thing they have to do to make the people happy, I'm fine with. So long as they don't actively hide harmful activities from the public, they can do as much bending over backwards, ass-licking, baby-kissing, mud-slinging, etc, as they like, so long as democracy w

          • by drspliff (652992)

            So long as they don't actively hide harmful activities from the public, they can do as much bending over backwards, ass-licking, baby-kissing, mud-slinging, etc, as they like, so long as democracy works.

            I'm just worried that democracy isn't working that well, for example in the 2003 stop the war protest in London, ~5% of the voting population turned up - in person, outside parlaimant to object to the governments actions regarding Iraq.

            In this example, their actions were actively harmful and as we all later found out there was much deception going on.

            If the greed of those in power (industry lobbyists via the Bush administration etc.) brings them to commit crime on an international level with no rebuttal, w

            • If the greed of those in power (industry lobbyists via the Bush administration etc.) brings them to commit crime on an international level with no rebuttal, what happens when they start doing things that affect you?

              Then I act. I vote, I donate to the appropriate organisations, I soap-box locally, I write a letter to my local newspaper, etc, etc. I think you'll see this from kind of response from the apathetic masses when the government does something to seriously threaten their lifestyle.

      • by Nikker (749551)
        "but they are not trying to silence your dissidence"

        So what about my dissidence?
  • by rucs_hack (784150) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @01:54PM (#21858150)
    Would these be the same kind of sanctions that are still being applied to Cuba, decades after they stopped being a Russian pawn?

    Honestly, the whole thing about congressional sanctions seems to be a low point on the moral landscape to me when I consider that case. Ok, perhaps relevant three or four decades ago, but still?

    The idea that you can pass rules in Washington, and somehow bring about magical barriers to the kind of nastiness that can be done with technology at any levelis absurd. After all, the US (and many other countries), spent untold billions preparing high tech weapons for an expected large conventional/nuclear war, and restricted the sale of, or passing of information about, much of this technology. Then what do we find? It's actually nutbars with explosive belts and cheap guns that are the problem.

    I recommend we sanction sanctions, that'll fox em..
    • But don't sanctions prevent the spread of technologies to countries we don't like? There's an impenetrable anti-technology force field emitted by Congress, transmitted via satellite uplink to unfriendly nations. All the members of Congress hold hands in a big circle, and hum the theme from Star Wars backward to activate the super-wamodyne technology impairment field.

      • by sumdumass (711423)
        Actually, it is the way the US stops people who are supposedly our friends from helping them get the tech. The main benefit is, it shows us who is really friendly and who isn't. So if war breaks out, we know who to protect and who to help.

        If you think that is meaningless, then you should think again.
        • by rucs_hack (784150)
          friends like, ooh, let me see, who was that guy you trained, funded, and supplied with high tech weapons again? Ossama something, wasn't it....
          • by sumdumass (711423)
            Why don't you come right out and say it. I mean being partly wrong by insinuating something is the same as being completely wrong by saying it outright.

            The US never funded or trained Osama Bin Laden. He and his band of followers had their own funding and operated separately from the CIA supported works in the area. High tech weapons might have funneled over from joint operations but they were primarily supplied by Egyptian and Pakistani supported works.

            I won't comment out how your spelling of the name is a
        • by ultranova (717540)

          Actually, it is the way the US stops people who are supposedly our friends from helping them get the tech. The main benefit is, it shows us who is really friendly and who isn't. So if war breaks out, we know who to protect and who to help.

          I think that you're confusing friends and thralls. Thralls obey your every command. Friends don't, altought they might obey a request if they judge it reasonable.

          The inability to understand this difference seems to be a recurring theme in US foreign policy, and is ex

          • by sumdumass (711423)
            I see what your getting at and somewhat agree. However a lot of the inability to understand this difference is an illusion created out of ignorance.

            I'm glad you brought up freedom fries because this illustrates this problem perfectly. You see, France has secrete oil deals with Iraq that went against UN sanctions and were a part of a prime reasons that sanctions didn't have the effect it was supposed to have and war was an eventual outcome. And this isn't just a US sanction, it was a world wide sanction that
  • At least things in China are fairly obvious.
  • ... only 80 proof!

    AFAICS, the concern is military and dual-use technology, and that can adequately be covered by ITAR and EAR regs.

  • by xs650 (741277) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @02:17PM (#21858300)
    They have been hired as technical advisers for a new Olympic event. Water boarding.
    • Hey, don't deride their culture just because it's different. We should cherish foreign cultures, and be thankful that having an international event like the Olympics is being held in a non-Western country, so that we can be exposed to these fascinating local customs!

      - RG>
    • by sincewhen (640526)
      And also the new demonstration event, the 10,000km rendition.
  • IPv6 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by H3g3m0n (642800)
    According to Wikipedia china is going to be using the olympics to show off their new internet systems such as IPv6 based security cameras etc...

    "China plans to showcase their new CNGI and their new IPv6 networking at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Everything from the security cameras to the taxis to the cameras filming the Olympic events will be networked via IPv6; the events will be streamed live over the Internet while the networked cars will be able to grasp the traffic situation more readily."

    http://en.w [wikipedia.org]
  • Is that just like IBM, etc... who sold Hollerith machines to the Nazis to assist them with their "final solution"...

    The purveyors of this system are going to have to hire some smart PR folks to manage the public impression. Nothing more.

    And the people who speak out against this sort of thing will be vilified as crackpots and crazies.

    • by timmarhy (659436)
      you do realise everyone did business with the nazi's at some point right? the nazi's WERE a legitimate government afterall and just because they turned out to be evil bastards it doesn't mean anyone who sold them anything was helping them do that shit, so why don't you try applying logic to your arguments instead of this kind of worthless rubbish?
      • by gillbates (106458)

        Okay, so I was wrong. They won't have to hire PR departments when posters like you are willing to excuse a corporation's culpability because, "Everyone else was doing it..."

        You know, the interesting thing about global warming is that everybody is doing it. So why not just burn more coal, pollute the environment, etc..? Why bother holding companies responsible for their actions at all?

        At some point, you have to realize that the torch has been passed to us. Our world is the way it is because we don

        • by timmarhy (659436)
          Are you suggesting one party should be responsible for another parties actions?

          because that's what you are dangerously close to proposing. under your logic if you handed me a stick and i poked someones eye out with it, YOU would be responsible as well.

          If you want to know what's wrong with the world it's people like you that see a problem then proceed to try ram through solutions that are more dangerous then the problem to begin with.

          lastly i suggest you burn your collection of Al Gore and Micheal Moore

          • by c6gunner (950153)
            I don't really agree with the GPP either, but I couldn't resist responding to this part:

            Are you suggesting one party should be responsible for another parties actions?

            Are we talking legally or morally? Legally speaking, it depends on where you live. Here in Canada, for instance, a bartender (or just a host at a party) who allows someone else to get hammered and then drive home is considered responsible if that person causes an accident. Similarly, if you sell a gun to someone who has made it clear that

            • by timmarhy (659436)
              i agree 100%.

              if it's clear the item you are selling someone is going to hurt them or others, you should be held liable.

              however, this has to be decided case by case, which the GP isn't doing. Did IBM know the nazi's would try exterminate the jews? I doubt it very much.

              • "Did IBM know the nazi's would try exterminate the jews? I doubt it very much."

                Einstein [wikipedia.org] was smart enough to work out what was going on in 1932, cheap labour capitalists from the US were a tad slow to catch on, almost 10yrs too slow in some cases.
          • "lastly i suggest you burn your collection of Al Gore and Micheal Moore video's and go out there in such of real facts."

            You know, to the rest of the fucking planet AG is simply presenting the IPCC reports [www.ipcc.ch] to a laymen audience. His nobel prize was for communicating the "real facts" as understood by science at the time. I would have thought that such geek like behaviour in a politician would be considered a GoodThingTM, but I'm probably wasting my breath since you have already shot the messenger for party
      • "the nazi's WERE a legitimate government afterall and just because they turned out to be evil bastards it doesn't mean anyone who sold them anything was helping them do that shit"

        While that is probably true, what a lot of people don't know is that Prescott Bush (George W's grandfather) continued to deal with the Nazi's even after it was declared illegal by the US government. Charges were even brought against him but through power and influence, he got everything to conveniently go away.

        Don't believe
        • by timmarhy (659436)
          While i don't doubt there are people in the world that would deal with the devil to make a buck, this blanket attack on anyone who ever sold anything to the nazi's is just nonsense. and for fucks sake it was 60 years ago, they aren't the same people calling the shots, so it's bloody unfair to go tagging them with the mistakes of past generations. As with the GP's example of IBM, i'm sure if the IBM board could go back and not deal with the nazi's they would.
        • by c6gunner (950153)

          Don't believe me and think it's just a troll? Please take a moment using your favorite search engine and look up "Prescott Nazi WWII". You might be surprised at the results.
          Well if Alex Jones and Webster Tarpley said it, then it MUST be true!

          BTW, a bit off topic here, but I think slashdot could be greatly improved with the addition of an eye-rolling emoticon....
    • by c6gunner (950153)

      Is that just like IBM, etc... who sold Hollerith machines to the Nazis to assist them with their "final solution"...
      So the Chinese are Nazis? But...I though George Bush was the Nazi?

      I'm so confused :( This new-age logic makes my head hurt.
  • The chinese do that because they aren't stupid and know that's where terrorists will go/try use as a shield.
  • What is "Blackwater" in Chinese?
  • > "'I don't know of an intelligence-gathering operation in the world that, when given
    > a new toy, doesn't use it,' said Steve Vickers, a former head of criminal intelligence
    > for the Hong Kong police who now leads a consulting firm. Indeed, the autumn issue of
    > the magazine of China's public security ministry prominently listed places of religious
    > worship and Internet cafes as locations to install new cameras."

    With all due respect, we will earn lots of money, and we won't have to look at tho
  • Not just china (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Sunday December 30, 2007 @10:06PM (#21861650) Journal
    In Australia a whole package of laws that undermined the average aussie's freedom were passed just before the Olympics. It used to be legal to own semi-automatic rifles and it wasn't legal for our own army to point and fire at our own citizens and more without any sunset clauses.

    I just wonder if it has happened anywhere else, china was repressive enough, who knows what else they will enact.

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