Joe Nocera for The New York Times: This Isn’t How to Stop Hacking

June 14th, 2013

The New York Times
by Joe Nocera
June 14, 2013

WUHAN, China — When we landed in China early this week, we hadn’t realized that a long holiday, the Dragon Boat Festival, was about to begin. It took us a little while to figure out why traffic was so light in Beijing, and why the offices where we were meeting officials were so deserted.

We were a handful of journalists on a three-city tour that included Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, an industrial city in central China. (The trip was organized by the China-United States Exchange Foundation, which organizes trips for Western journalists to China a handful of times per year.)

The news about Edward Snowden had just broken, and it was much on our minds. To us, at least, it seemed to scream for a Chinese response. Snowden, a 29-year-old employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, had leaked information about a huge program conducted by the National Security Agency to obtain a record of every phone call made in the United States. He also leaked news of another program, Prism, that gathered information from Facebook, Apple and other tech companies about the cyberactivity of customers. The revelations were astonishing.

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