I take no pleasure in passing it along, but on February 13, the ABC News blog, The Blotter, reported U.S. agencies have stepped up domestic intelligence collection on account of the Olympics taking place near the U.S. border:
As the winter Olympics begin, the Department of Homeland Security has disclosed that it will be monitoring the comments and posts on websites and social media like Twitter for information on possible terror threats. Among the sites listed in a privacy impact statement filed Friday afternoon by DHS are the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post, Twitter, Google and this web site, the Blotter.
Earlier stories on ESPN.com detailed how similar actions were taken during and prior to the Super Bowl in Miami.
Well, now the Chinese media has picked up on these stories, obviously as a counterpoint to American criticisms of China’s web controls and surveillance of netizens. Today, summarizing the above ABC News report, Huanqiu Shibao reports:
Commenters on the story, who might or might not be “50-Cent Parties” (e.g., hired hacks paid 50 Chinese cents per BBS comment in support of the government line) quickly jumped in with statements like “Great, now Google can leave the United States,” which was superceded by “No, Google now needs to leave planet earth and try to set up a company on the sun.”
Perhaps China would also like us to recall the rash of stories in 2008 about security politics and surveillance in the city of Beijing, such as this story from March of that year by ABC News which evoked “Big Brother.”
Speaking of George Orwell and the “Patriot Act,” might it be possible to just follow China’s example by renaming the Department of Homeland Security the “Stability Preservation Office“? You know things are getting bad when America sounds more fascist than China. (Please note verb choice: sounds is different from acts, but then again, maybe Huanqiu Shibao has a point and critics of American security state now have a friend in China in the same way that the Black Panthers grooved to Chairman Mao’s support. But is that a good thing?)
As a concluding note, being based in the Seattle area means I’ll likely be heading up to the Olympics within the week. Thus, I hope to have a fuller report posted on this blog regarding China’s presence in Vancouver, since, according to the Daily NK, the North Koreans sent a grand total of two athletes and aren’t likely to cross my path.