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  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 1:37am
Edward Snowden
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Hong Kong lawmakers demand answers on cyberspying

Alleged hacking of computer networks unites lawmakers; US consulate issues security warning to Americans living in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 June, 2013, 8:22pm

Political pressure is mounting on the government to demand answers from the United States over how and to what extent Hong Kong has been targeted by Washington's top-secret cyberspying programme, exposed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

The clamour for information comes two days after ex-CIA analyst Snowden - who is hiding out in the city - told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview the US had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and on the mainland "for years".

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum yesterday weighed in on the growing controversy ahead of a rally today outside the US consulate. The planned protest in support of 29-year-old Snowden prompted the consulate to issue a rare security warning to US residents in the city and tell its diplomatic staff to stay away from the mission's headquarters in Garden Road, Central, unless they are on "official business".

Snowden said secret and illegal attacks on Hong Kong computers by the US National Security Agency, which he said had been taking place since 2009, had recorded a success rate of more than 75 per cent. One of the targets he identified was the Chinese University of Hong Kong, home to the Hong Kong Internet Exchange - a central hub of servers that most web traffic in the city passes through.

Yesterday the British government issued a warning to airlines around the world not to allow Snowden to fly to the UK.

During an official visit to London, Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing became one of the city's first top political figures to comment on the hacking allegations.

"Hong Kong people will feel worried if the allegations are found to be backed by facts," Tsang told the BBC's Chinese Service, adding: "The Hong Kong government should launch an investigation. But even if a probe is conducted, it will not be made public."

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok has filed an urgent written question to the administration, demanding details of the alleged hacking.

He asked: "What will the government do to ensure it will not happen again? Will it take action against the US government or demand remedies?"

Security minister Lai Tung-kwok is expected to address the question in the Legislative Council on Wednesday.

The Democratic Party has suggested inviting Snowden to Legco to question him over his claims, and Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit urged the chief executive to raise the matter with President Barack Obama. It is understood an appearance in Legco by Snowden is considered unlikely due to security fears.

The Hong Kong government has refused to say whether the US has made a request to surrender Snowden.

In his BBC interview, Tsang insisted that the Hong Kong courts would "act independently" according to the law and "make a correct judgment".

"I do not think the incident will put any pressure on Hong Kong," the Legco president said. "If the case involves foreign affairs and national defence, it will be handled according to the Basic Law [which makes it Beijing's responsibility]."

In a move to support Snowden, pan-democratic lawmakers Claudia Mo Man-ching and Gary Fan Kwok-wai wrote a letter to the White House yesterday and pleaded for mercy for him.


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The question that has been on everyone's mind, since Edward Snowden exposed the pervasiveness, and depth, of the surveillance conducted by the NSA, has been whether Mr Snowden is a traitor, or a whistle-blower. My own thought is, that, as long as he has not released the names of fellow spies, or endangered American lives, he is not a traitor for exposing possible criminal behavior conducted by agencies of the American government that has has been held secret from the American people. This leaves Edward Snowden as a whistle blower, which is a protected by American law. The object of the surveillance conducted by the NSA, has been to protect the American people from terrorism, and this is legitimate, the problem is whether this activity has over reached the authorization given the NSA by the American people. And an even more disturbing question, that I have not heard discussed, is whether this monitoring of the American people, even achieves its goals. In the past, agents of the CIA have been limited in their access to top secret information. Because, of this major secrets have usually been exposed only when top spies, sell to, or reveal these secrets to foreign governments. The revelations of Edward Snowden makes it clear that over 1.4 million NSA contractors have access to almost unlimited information. This suggests that foreign governments have now, over 1.4 million portals for obtaining American secrets.
C Mo and G Fan are always in a hurry to grovel before Western political authorities
They wrote a letter to the White House yesterday and pleaded for mercy for Edward S
getting ahead of the US judiciary, prejudging that ES were guilty
forgetting that they're legislators representing HK people's interest
To relieve their urgent desire to take every chance to show support to everything West
Mo / Fan should have written to HK people and pleaded for forgiveness for US invasion of privacy
the sun also rises
of course,Hong Kong people have every right to know how and why our messages on the internet and mobile phone calls have been targetted by the top-secret cyber-spying programme:Prism of the National Security Agency of America since 2009.Even our students (maybe Wong Tze-fung or other so-called radicals)' computer have been hacked/monitored by the NSA on the excuse of anti-terrorism.Maybe this Old Hong Kong's also suffered.What a terror. Is it a type of white terror ? I wonder.Our lawmakers have the responsiblilties to demand answers from the U.S. government on their hacking of our netizens (up to 4 millions !) through their hacking into Chinese Univ.'s Internet Exchange since 2009 why we're the targets and their intentions plus the data/info gathered for what purposes----anti-terrorism or just spying or...We are furious to be spied through secret cyber-survellience ! We really are ! Bravo ! Snowden ! We are proud of you and your courageous acts ! You are an international hero indeed and not a 'traitor' even in many Americans' eyes or minds !


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