Rupert Goodwins' Diary -- Guaranteed MS Free!

Monday 22/10/01The free Western world seems remarkably adept at making weapons to use on itself these days. Take Nortel, which has come under attack from civil rights activists for its work with the Chinese government on mechanisms of state surveillance.

Monday 22/10/01

The free Western world seems remarkably adept at making weapons to use on itself these days. Take Nortel, which has come under attack from civil rights activists for its work with the Chinese government on mechanisms of state surveillance. Nortel argues that it's just selling infrastructure to a government, flogging the same products to the Chinese as it does to anyone. Which is a bit sneaky: it's not what you've got; it's how it's configured.

But still, there's no law against selling commercial off-the-shelf networking technology to someone, nor in helping them set it up. And, truth to tell, the Home Office, the NSA, GCHQ and everyone else in government from Blair and Bush to the Bognor Regis Town Council, would love to be able to buy in that sort of system to keep tabs on all us untrustworthy peons. Shame we have traditions of privacy and freedom to stop this.

But there'll be more terrorist attacks. Nortel will be able to turn to the US Government and say "Want a state surveillance system? We've got one ready-to-go, tried and tested." I've not got a good feeling about this.

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