The world’s largest telecommunications company, Huawei, is banned from bidding for contracts in the US because of fears about espionage; China in turn has accused infrastructure giant, Cisco, of building backdoor surveillance systems for the US into its networks. Now the director of British intelligence organization GCHQ has called on private internet companies to recognise that, like it or not, they are the “command-and-control networks of choice” for today’s criminals and terrorists.
In this 25th anniversary year of the World Wide Web, creator Tim Berners-Lee pointed out that in the US people tend to trust companies but not the government, while in the UK people tend to distrust companies but expect the government to be ‘gathering intelligence.
It seems we have come to accept that there at least one powerful organization will have us by the short and curlies: we just want to be confident that the power is safe in their hands.
We don’t mind our own government/companies spying on us, but we don’t like the idea of foreign ones doing the same. According to a survey by the Pew Research Centre, 55% of Americans and 38% of Brits dislike China and yet only 8% of Chinese citizens think their country is heading in the wrong direction compared to 62% of Americans and 55% of Brits.