US cyber-scoundrelism doomed to backfire

Updated: 2014-05-24 13:42


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BEIJING - "Play by the rules" seems to be Washington's sacrosanct motto on international interaction. But time and again rules are just a lump of clay in Uncle Sam's hands.

In a recent farce about cyber-security, the United States slapped some fabricated charges against five Chinese military officers, accusing them of hacking into the systems of US companies to steal trade secrets.

In its sanctimonious indictment, Washington distinguishes between national-security and economic espionage. And it has for long denied any involvement in the latter kind of spying.

The self-righteousness of Uncle Sam, easily the biggest hacker in the world, is ludicrous. Serious media reports abound about US spooks routinely spying on foreign companies to seek economic advantages, and these news stories are corroborated by revelations by fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

A report published earlier this week by the New York Times said that although US officials insist the United States never acts on behalf of specific US companies, the government does not deny it routinely spies to advance US economic advantage.

Also according to the US newspaper, while the National Security Agency (NSA), of which Snowden is a former employee, was now allowed to spy on Airbus and give the results to Boeing, it was free to spy on European or Asian trade negotiators and use the results to help US trade officials, and, by extension, the industries and workers they were trying to bolster.

Available information is plentiful enough to expose Washington's true colors in the cyber space: a Janus-faced rogue more than ready to distort norms and rules for its own benefit in disregard of the common good.

That is pure scoundrelism. Washington are stealing horses but do not allow others to look over the hedge. In an era when concerted international efforts are needed to maintain order in the virtual world, such behavior is harmful to all, including Washington itself in the long run.

Trust is among the first casualties. Following the recent farcical charges against the Chinese officers, Beijing has suspended operations of a bilateral joint work group on cyber security and pledged to react should Washington stick to the wrong track.

Without trust, it would be impossible for the international community to carry out any genuine dialogue on establishing commonly acceptable norms on cyber-space governance.

Cyber security is a global responsibility. It is advisable that members of the international community refrain from unilateral, counterproductive action and join hands sincerely to push for meaningful progress in the undertaking.

For the United States, canceling the groundless charges and abandoning its hypocrisy and double standard would be a good start.