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US National Security Agency

America's National Security Agency (NSA) is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defence responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence. The NSA is a key component of the US Intelligence community, which is headed by the Director of National Intelligence. By law, the NSA's intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications although there have been some incidents involving domestic collection, including the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.

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Visitors from China targets of wiretapping by US spy agency

Rise in wiretapping of mobile phones during arrivals for Lunar New Year last year revealed

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 August, 2013, 5:55am

A surge in Chinese visitors to the United States during Lunar New Year celebrations last year offers a clue to the scale of American spies' wiretapping of citizens in China.

According to a report on privacy breaches by the US National Security Agency, leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden and published by The Washington Post yesterday, an 11 per cent rise in "roamer" incidents in the first quarter of last year may have been caused by the annual Chinese holiday.

These incidents are when a "valid foreign target" whose mobile phone is being wiretapped without a warrant lands on American soil.

The target becomes active in the US when they land and an individual warrant is needed to continue the wiretap, or else it would be a breach of US laws which protect the communications of Americans and others while they are in the country.

The report, which tracked accidental and deliberate breaches, said that the rise in roamer incidents between January and March last year "may be attributed to an increase in Chinese travel to visit friends and family for the Lunar New Year holiday".

The classified audit was part of a number of wider leaks made by Snowden in June this year which exposed the domestic and global reach of the NSA's cyberspying programmes.

Snowden further claimed, after he broke cover in Hong Kong, that US spies had been hacking into computers and mobile phones in Hong Kong and mainland China for years.

The audit separated the violations into two categories: those in breach of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and those that flouted Executive Order 12333, which gives more power to spy agencies.

In the 12 months to March 2012, the NSA broke privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority 2,776 times through the unauthorised collection, storage and access to, or distribution of, legally protected communications, The Washington Post reported.

The NSA did not deny the report but rather offered a more positive interpretation. It said it had rigorous procedures in place to review any breaches of privacy and that most of the errors were inadvertent and due to technical glitches.

"NSA's foreign intelligence collection activities are continually audited and overseen internally and externally," the agency said in a statement

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government said US officials had still not responded to a letter sent in June which sought answers to Snowden's claims that US spies had hacked the city's computers.

Macau officials are also waiting for a response to a letter demanding answers over hacking claims, which was sent to the US consulate on July 3.

 

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caractacus
Middle finger? The USA isn't stealing any technological secrets from China because China doesn't have anything worth stealing. The so-called "Middle Kingdom" has gained many times more technology by spying and stealing other countries' industrial and technological secrets than it could ever invent by itself in a thousand years. Many Chinese business people spy and steal and many students sent to the USA and Europe are PLA agents who insinuate and ingratiate themselves into the favour of naive academics so as to gain access to secret technological research. The USA and Europe actually have new ideas and invent new things, which Chinese culture has been unable to do for 600 years. The typical Chinese mindset when criticised is a knee jerk reaction to point the finger at someone else. Who are the hypocrites? For honest people, Chinese or otherwise, I have only goodwill, but for the facist Chinese State apparatus a rational, fair minded person can only have contempt. The tide is turning.
pseudotriton
"For honest people, Chinese or otherwise, I have only goodwill, but for the facist Chinese State apparatus a rational, fair minded person can only have contempt."--However, throughout your comments here and elsewhere, you don't appear to make any effort in distinguishing the Chinese gov't from the people or culture. It makes one question the sincerity in your "goodwill" or the degree of your "fair mind".
pseudotriton
"many students sent to the USA and Europe are PLA agents"--What's your source for this claim? Or do you just make up stuff as you please?
"The typical Chinese mindset when criticised is a knee jerk reaction to point the finger at someone else."--Show me one major culture/country that doesn't react in such ways. Try to talk to an American about their sometimes racist behaviors or a Japanese about WW2, the usual response is a deflection of "well, other people have done it too, and often worse."
And there aren't really that many new ideas and inventions as you think. Most technologies are just transferred among countries. China would gladly purchase many of the technologies from the US, as the US allows many countries do. China has repeatedly stated that American sales of technology to China would offset its trade deficit. But it's the Americans who refuse to sell them to China, for ideological and other reasons.
And just what is the US spying on Chinese citizens for anyway? It certainly can't be for its professed cause of fighting terrorism. When was the last time you've heard of a Chinese suicide bomber?
chaz_hen
Hmmm...seems you beat me to the punch with your comment mirroring exactly what I wanted to express. Especially sentence four.
daily
To the American government and especially Obama, here's the middle finger...........You guys are hypocrites at it's very worse...... and get use to the fact that USA is eventually no longer going to be the most respected country in the world or with the largest economy........While you guys are wasting time spying around the world, the rest of the world will just focus on their economies while yours keep going downhill..........Really Obama, don't you guys have anything better to do?
ejmciii
Like your masters in Beijing are not doing the same thing in the USA and here in HK. Get a clue. The Chinese spy, hack and steal on a 24/7 basis. But I guess you are ok with that.
pseudotriton
At least they're not trying to embellish it and pretend doing it for some noble cause. Americans can definitely claim mastery in hypocrisy.
pseudotriton
"the Hong Kong government said US officials had still not responded to a letter sent in June..."
Don't hold your breath over this, dude.
And if this doesn't further dispel the US pretext of spying for only combating "terrorism", I don't know what would. It's such a lame excuse to begin with. Only the most dimwitted ones would believe that the US gov't is spying for the greater good of the people.
Javed Mir
--US spies had hacked the city's computers--
That is clear that cyber war has already started quite a long time ago..
 
 
 
 
 

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