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Germany Names US Second Most Dangerous Country for Data Theft


Which country is more likely to steal business secrets, Russia or the US? If you ask the Germans, it’s the US in a landslide. A new survey by EY found that within the German business community, 26 percent of those surveyed said that America is a “high-risk place for industrial espionage and data theft,” a close second to China, and considerably higher than Russia. As the FT notes, this is up from 6 percent only two years ago.

Ever since the PRISM revelations, the US has been reassuring its European allies that the data mining programs are focused solely on terrorism, and that business secrets are not at risk. Clearly, Germany isn’t persuaded.

Thankfully we don’t have a Republican president. Otherwise we’d be listening non-stop to harangues about the breach with our vital German ally, a casualty of our lawless and unilateral behavior. Fortunately, since the president is a Democrat there will be minimal noise about this whole unpleasant subject.

But regardless of the media coverage or lack thereof, the whole subject of legal restrictions and legislative oversight over the NSA and similarly chartered agencies needs to be reviewed. There are lots of things that you might do very suddenly in an emergency, but as the emergency becomes routine, it’s necessary to develop practices that command confidence.

It’s reasonable, after all, for other countries to worry about mission creep in our intelligence agencies. There’s a certain support for the US hunt for bad guys among our allies. But are we careful with the information we get? Do we limit its use? Are close partners and allies consulted, not only when there’s trouble, but to ensure that the system makes sense from their point of view as well as our own? These questions and others like them will need to be answered as America’s intelligence programs expand.

[Edward Snowden photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

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  • rheddles

    Honeypot water plants hacked by Chinese and others:

    Wilhoit went on to show evidence that other hacking groups besides APT1 intentionally seek out and compromise water plant systems. Between March and June this year, 12 honeypots deployed across eight different countries attracted 74 intentional attacks, 10 of which were sophisticated enough to wrest complete control of the dummy control system.

    The 74 attacks on the honeypots came from 16 different countries. Most of the noncritical attacks, 67 percent, originated in Russia, and a handful came from the U.S. About half the critical attacks originated in China, and the rest came from Germany, U.K., France, Palestine, and Japan.

    • Corlyss

      Good job, Rheddles. You have the numbers to blow in the author’s face.

  • Corlyss

    Regrettably, the German poll reflects merely more Eurotrash hostility to America rather than reality. I am shocked that the author takes it as a slap at the US rather than the exhibition of monumental self-destructive ignorance to which the Europeans are so addicted.

    • Pete

      Exactly right.

      The Euro-trash demand that we protect them, arguing that it is really for our own good that we do, and at the same time carp endlessly at the means we have to use to do it.

      That Europe see the U.S. as a danger and not the Islamic cancer growing within them shows what a powerful & destruction force envy is.

      And by the way, one of the main reasons why Europe has gotten such a free ride for so long is because our elite are enchanted with the concept of Europe.

      The danger for Europe is that the general American public does not suffer from any such false delusions.

  • Boritz

    I expect this anti-American trash from the French. That said I will not offer further insult.

  • Enemy Leopard

    I’ve become concerned about the tenor of comments on this blog. I’ve been a regular reader for a couple years now; while I was relieved when WRM shut off comments some time ago, I was also optimistic when they were restored, as the new system seemed designed to let the cream rise to the top. I’m not convinced that the full potential of the new system has so far been realized.

    It’s dispiriting to see the rise of a new cohort of partisan bomb-throwers, whose approach seems to be to comment first and let God sort ’em out later. If I may mix metaphors a bit, they constantly pound their own hobby-horses, with only a minimal nod toward the actual content of the posts and not much evidence that they’ve deeply considered the issues involved. Invective and trite one-liners take the place of reasoned analysis. I think most regular readers know who are the worst offenders; and I should add that they span both sides of the ideological spectrum.

    In my view, this blog has been a revelation in the way news and information are discussed online. WRM and his writers have shown that it’s possible to stake out strong positions on political issues while being civil and, in fact, charitable toward those with whom you disagree. I don’t agree with every facet of the prism through which they filter the news, and they certainly do hammer away at their own hobby-horses from time to time, but, as it’s their blog, I take that to be their prerogative. If other people want to write constantly about how the right wing is full of racists and religious nuts, or how the “Eurotrash” are a bunch of ingrates, I’d prefer it if they did it on their own sites, where at least they wouldn’t befoul some of the most decent commentary online.

    So that this comment is not entirely tangential to the content of the post, I’ll add that, as the original write-up mentions, the percentage of Germans surveyed who deeply distrust the US on issues of “industrial espionage and data theft” has risen from 6 to 26 percent in two years. If it were simply reflexive anti-Americanism on the part of Germans, I doubt they would have been so trusting in the recent past. What has changed in the interim? Obviously, the revelation that the US government has been running a massive operation to collect information on, essentially, what everybody everywhere does online at all times.

    Has the German government been cynical in its outraged response to PRISM? It certainly has, especially if, as has been reported, they knew about the program for years and even made requests for intelligence gleaned from it. But let’s keep in mind that, depending on how one asks, something like half of Americans are also deeply concerned about the scope of PRISM. To expect that Germans ought to be more supportive of American intelligence operations than are Americans themselves strikes me as a bit optimistic, to say the least. National borders still matter; each government has to play to domestic political sentiment; that doesn’t mean we can’t all get along.

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