US snooping an aggressive intrusion of privacy
Updated: 2014-07-18 07:44
By Chen Weihua(China Daily)
A Pew Center Global Attitudes Project survey released on July 14 shows that the majority of people polled in 37 countries find the US surveillance of foreign citizens unacceptable. This includes 97 percent in Greece, 94 percent in Brazil, 89 percent in South Korea and 85 percent in both China and Japan, compared with only 47 percent in the US.
A related finding is that admiration for the US' respect for the personal freedoms of its own people has gone down dramatically in 22 of 36 nations in the past year following the Edward Snowden revelations about the NSA's snooping.
It is sad to see that Americans have not protested against such massive surveillance as strongly as in many other nations, given that many believe the NSA activities violate the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. Of course, the amendment, which does not apply to foreign citizens, gives the NSA a free hand to spy on foreign citizens and trample over their privacy.
The US government claimed last week, in response to Microsoft, that data stored digitally did not hold the same Fourth Amendment rights as physical items. But a report on the right to privacy in the digital age issued on Wednesday by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights argued to the contrary. Commissioner Navi Pillay described Snowden's revelations of massive state surveillance as in the public interest.
Many US officials and pundits have argued that the kind of surveillance and espionage conducted by the US government, in particular the NSA, is what every other country and government has been doing. But they would never be able to name a government that spies on its own people and people all over the world on such a large scale and in such an aggressive way as the US.
The truth is that no other government is spying on the people in this world and violating their privacy like the US government.
The author, based in Washington, is deputy editor of China Daily USA. firstname.lastname@example.org