Snowden case vindicates need for Web security rule

Updated: 2013-07-01 19:42


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BEIJING - The Edward Snowden case plus the latest revelations by a German magazine that the United States was eavesdropping European Union (EU) offices give rise to the need for international regulations on surveillance activities.

The EU has warned the Obama administration of "grave adverse consequences" and demanded "swift and concrete" answers.

In response, a US statement has promised to respond to the concerns of the EU, and argued that it "gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations."

Without giving any further details, it is hard to know what type of foreign intelligence all nations are gathering.

As a matter of fact, it seems more like an excuse of the US government to whitewash its notorious spying programs.

The US explanation did serve as a reminder that the international community now lacks a set of internet security regulations that are both legally-binding and globally recognized since the advent of the World Wide Web.

The dangerous and disturbing fact is in every way identical to a scenario where reckless drivers drive on a road without traffic laws, leaving no one in safe situations.

With the Snowden case being further exposed to the entire world, it is crystal clear that cybersecurity is a problem that confronts almost every nation on the surface of the planet and needs collective efforts.

Therefore, at this information age, when people's daily lives are increasingly connected with the internet, smartphones and computers, and when private data are facing all kinds of possible illegal exposure and theft, the time has come for all members of the international community to work out just and fair global rules, and jointly maintain order and security in cyberspace.

Yet if nations worldwide fail to act this time, and allow the rare chance to slip away, it is very likely that in the future cyberspace would be turned into a place crowded with arbitrary wiretapping and hacking.

Furthermore, when it comes to the making of these regulations, it has to be well acknowledged that the laws have to treat all nations as equals and respect their individual sovereignty and national interests.

When the internet was first invented and introduced for public use, it was meant to bring better lives to people of all countries and regions, yet if the cyberspace continues to be "uncharted waters," this purpose might fail.