There was an article on TechDirt yesterday that made an interesting connection and then bizarrely came up with a ridiculous conclusion.
The article pointed to a NY Times article about China’s high-tech surveillance campaign backed by technology from US companies, and connects that to two Boston Globe articles about the US efforts to track its citizens.
The TechDirt article gets all antsy about folks in congress not liking US companies helping China’s evil government when we are doing essentially the same thing here in the US, but instead of saying that it is time to check our own policies and stop US companies from doing inhuman things the author simple concludes that:
…unless we’re willing to look at the same issues in the US, it seems rather hypocritical to complain about US firms supplying the technology for China to do something quite similar to what we’re doing at home.
Clearly, we need to look at the same issues in the US, and I think in a small way we are. Do we need to do that more extensively? Of course. Does our government’s foray into totalitarianism mean that we should excuse the US companies supply technology that will be used to abuse human rights? No. Never.
When it comes to human rights no one country gets to set the standard, that standard is predetermined. The only question is how each country lives up to that standard. The US government has taken some steps back, and there is no excuse for that. The thing to realize is that nothing done in the US excuses the terrible things the Chinese government does and the US companies helping China can not be given a free pass.