back to article Reporters without Borders confirms, yes, lots of nations are spying on their citizens

Revelations of domestic and international phone and web surveillance operations by US and UK spies have earned the two countries a dubious distinction on the Reporters Without Borders' "Enemies of the Internet" list. The press freedom and privacy activist group said the two nations earned a place on the 2014 edition of the …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    It's all good 'cause without it the terrorists will get us. Spying on us has stopped many terrorist plots. It is necessary for our safety that the government know everything we do. If you have nothing to hide then you should have nothing to fear.

    1. xerocred

      "If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing."

      There, fixed it for you.

      The US criticizing China over hacking? Pot, meet Kettle.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Nicely put. I love cynicism. At least I hope that's what you were doing.

      1. oolor

        >At least I hope that's what you were doing

        Read some of Mr. Pott's previous forum posts, it shouldn't take too long to be thoroughly convinced of the cynicism.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge



  2. Guus Leeuw

    Am I getting tired?

    Dear Sir,

    after another long night of migrations at the office, I read this:

    "The group noted that in 2012, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution which asks member nations to apply human rights protections on the internet just as they would in the real world".

    'The group' refers to Reporters without Borders who fret about spying on citizens by governments.

    "asks member nations" "apply" "on the internet" "just as" "in the real world"...

    So Reporters without Borders agree that governments are spying via internet on citizens? After all, government already does spy in the real world: That's what the police is for, traditionally. Well, maybe not so much spying but certainly looking out for people who commit crimes...

    On the other hand, Reported without Borders don't like that government is spying on citizens.

    I know I'm tired... but do I sense a paradox in terminus here? Maybe they said it right but it got wrongly reported? Maybe it was reported correctly, and those borderless reporters are not too clever using English?

    Who cares :) As long as something is reported, and people read it :)



    PS: The icons under the editor was much better... an extra click to bring up the icons? too much work! Bring them back to the fore, I say!!

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Am I getting tired?

      "So Reporters without Borders agree that governments are spying via internet on citizens?"


      "On the other hand, Reported without Borders don't like that government is spying on citizens."

      Also Yes.

      I do not understand why these things would be mutually exclusive? Or perhaps I am reading your comment wrong...what exactly is your issue with the RWB statement again?

    2. frank ly

      Re: Am I getting tired?

      " After all, government already does spy in the real world: That's what the police is for, traditionally."

      No. Traditionally and currently, the police are for upholding the law and protecting citizens from criminals. (The cynical among you might start laughing at this point.) Government spying is a totaly different function and a different organisation.

  3. AndrueC Silver badge

    I <Redacted> thanks.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Well done the UK & US.

    You've worked really hard to get into this club.

    And now you are in this club.

    You must be so proud.

    I can almost see a joint Obama/Cameron press conference coming up.

    1. Ole Juul

      Re: Well done the UK & US.

      They have a dream.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well done the UK & US.

        Yes we SCAN, to ensure a safer, double-plus-good future for all of Oceania's citizens.

        Really just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Error in title

    Without borders...

  6. Hans 1

    We were organizing political talks in a pub in town ... up until the point where the owner said we had to stop as he had been asked by the local intelligence agency. There were never more than 10-15 people participating ...

    The agency also interviews judges to be after the written examinations, which obviously meant that a relative of mine would not get the job, seeing as I was politically active outside of the corruptible system.

    Not anon because I might as well let everyone know who I am ... in case I vanish ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hans 1, hoping you are still around

      Hope you are just kidding, but if you weren't, in which nation state did this happen exactly? You might as well give the reporters without borders something to report about...

  7. Gordon Pryra

    "so-called democratic countries"

    What exactly has the type of Government got to do with a misuse of powers?

    The way the people in charge are selected has nothing to do with what the people in the background do on a day to day basis.

    And misuse of power is what this is what this is after all. GCHQ etc use these powers because they can and probably not for any real nefarious “Police State” type reasons.

    The average people who can use these systems and can understand/implement them are hardly qualified to ask the question “Should I do this?”

    The people doing the "spying" are just kids playing with cool gear or otherwise the normal Asperger’s 40 year old IT virgin, neither stereotype thinks there’s any problem doing what they are doing because they really haven’t thought about it for more than 10 seconds.

  8. Bluenose

    Bit confused here....

    Reporters without Borders says that:

    The placement on the list puts the US and UK into a rather dubious group of nations that have been called out for censoring web access and cracking down on journalists.

    So let's see the Guardian and other papers in the UK as well as various newspapers in the US have all been happily printing the press releases provided by Edward Snowden about how much spying is going on. Yet any other country on that so called list plus the majority of the others that are not on it would probably have shut down such newspapers, imprisoned the owners and probably shot the journalists. Please explain to me how spying on the citizens (and the extent to which the Govt actually looks at the citizens information is still unclear) equates to attacking and harming journalists.

    I also note that like most trade unions or protective organisations there is no mention of those journalists who willingly print, present or communicate the lies and flummery of their own county's governments. For example are the journalists working for China State TV highlighted in their report as gang of toadies who will lie for money?

    The whole issue of GCHQ and NSA is criminal in my view and without merit. As I have previously pointed out without actually having someone to watch looking for patterns in a massive load of data is probably worthless. But report such as this really piss me off as they are politically and emotionally biased in this instant in respect of two countries that actually do have, to the extent that it is reasonably possible in an imperfect world, a free press where journalists can go about their daily activities (phone tapping, processing stolen materials, snapping unsuspecting celebities in the street, etc) without fear of arrest or persecution (unless caught going about their daily activities).

    1. stizzleswick
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Bit confused here....

      "Yet any other country [...] would probably have shut down such newspapers, imprisoned the owners and probably shot the journalists."

      And the U.S. didn't try to shut Snowden down?!?

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Bit confused here....

        "And the U.S. didn't try to shut Snowden down?!?"

        No, not really. They said "you are a suspected criminal, please come back so we can try you in a court, where you might get off". In Russia they send a guy with polonium out and assassinate you. Should we put the two countries on the same list? Really? How about we have the list headed "countries that do bad things" and another list headed "countries that do *really* bad things".

  9. nematoad Silver badge

    Enough talking, already.

    It's time to stop talking and start doing something about this nonsense.

    We need to mobilise the resources of the FLOSS community and develop means by which we can shield ourselves from the malignant forces at work. i.e NSA and GCHQ. Yes, they may say it is for our own good and is done within the law, but proof of the first is sorely lacking and as they are the ones framing the laws, naturally what they do is legal. Not nice, ethical or right, just legal.

    The politicians will not help, certainly the organisations involved will use every means to stymie efforts to give us back our privacy. No, we have got to do this for ourselves.

    If we can devise ways of making encryption less of a hassle to use, get it so that everything is encrypted by default and let people know that it is available, then we will be going some way towards reining in those that threaten us.

    Personally I use all tools available to me, TOR, TAILS, HTTPS Everywhere, GPG and so on, but I, like many of you, are in a privileged position. We know whats what and how to do this, others do not and for their sake we need to make encryption painless and invisible.

    We have no-one to turn to for help so we will have to do this for ourselves, and everyone else.

  10. Hit Snooze

    Pot meet Kettle

    RWB have a "do as I say not as I do" attitude as most reporters stalk, hack, and dig dig dig until they find something/anything they can use for a story on you. Just ask the alleged creator of bitcoin

    It's hard to convince people to follow your rules when your own house doesn't even follow your rules.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Life at the top

    When you look at all the disclosures of spying, and this isn't even a complete list, it reminds me of Game of Thrones. Everything boils down to the special interests of the Elites and their self-preservation society. Think of all the Monies flowing to campaigning, spying, pet projects, lobbying, the Industrial Military Complex etc etc. Simply put, the National Interest is those of the Elites. That applies to every country. Elite Politicians, Elite Business Leaders, Elite Corporations, Elite Banks, Elite Lobby Groups, Elite PR etc... The people are often found at elite sports Clubs and of course the WTO / G8 / G20 / WEF / Davos etc.

    The spying programs only benefit the Elite too! They don't exist for safety or security, that's all choreographed illusion. In fact, this type of Dragnet spying only works to spy on the innocent, as Criminals and Terrorists are much too mindful. Whereas, if I'm a politician trying to position myself for a G20 issue, I want to know where my opposite number stands. If I'm a diplomat awaiting an important outcome at the UN, I want to know how the vote is looking. If I'm a US business leader competing for a tender in France, Mexico or Brazil I want to know what the competition is bidding... This type of abuse of spying power has been well documented. A journalist at the BBC even calls it The Wild West, because there are no laws, no marshals!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Life at the top

      All very true, but as a previous poster said, we need to protect ourselves as much as possible before said elites have completely consolidated the 99 % into a state of virtual serfdom.

      It is one thing to own and control banks, national legal systems, media outlets, politicians and much of the means of production but when we descend to the point where our very thoughts, expressions, conversations and dreams can also become a means of control, then I'd say that is when all free-thinking humans will be rather royally and totally f*cked. Ubiquitous encryption is a very good way to start, followed by the voting out of politicians who are too in love with hoover-surveillance. If history is anything to go by, they certainly won't step down on their own.

      Wouldn't it be great if the EFF and other privacy warriors could organize an "Encrypt your email" Day!

  12. url

    GJ RWB, took you long enough!

    Admittedly there wasn't a metric shit load of conclusive evidence before now, but, it was never not obvious what was going on - only the most naive assumed it wasn't happening.

    I think at best the gargantuan scale of the operation is the only real surprise.

    Having said that, I'm not sure what people thought 10 billion dollars bought. The Utah building tipped their hand in a fairly major way.

    E: not sure how the NSAH & GCHQ aren't labelled as practicing disinformation despite having proof that they do.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021