The Chinese state-run media outlet People’s Daily attacked Silicon Valley giants including Apple, Google and Microsoft Wednesday for their alleged cooperation with National Security Agency bulk surveillance programs.
“U.S. companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. are all coordinating with the PRISM program to monitor China,” the People’s Daily said.
After naming the companies on its micro-blogging platform as complicit conspirators in the NSA’s sweeping Internet data collection program, the media outlet vowed repercussions and punishment for all involved.
“To resist the naked Internet hegemony, we will draw up international regulations, and strengthen technology safeguards, but we will also severely punish the pawns of the villain,” Reuters translated. “The priority is strengthening penalties and punishments, and for anyone who steals our information, even though they are far away, we shall punish them!”
The English-language China Daily published a more-subdued statement, stating that “online services have become a major way for the U.S. to steal information globally.”
“We cannot say this more clearly — the [U.S.] government does not have access to Google servers — not directly, or via a back door, or a so-called drop box,” Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said in a statement Wednesday. “We provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law.”
Companies named have denied such intimate cooperation with NSA since PRISM and other programs were revealed to the public by former contractor and leaker Edward Snowden last year. All have been jointly and outspokenly opposed to such surveillance since the leaks began, and engaged in numerous petitions, protests and lobbying efforts touting reform.
The tech giants insist they only cooperate to the extent that legal subpoenas for data from the government require, despite the competing testimony of a top NSA legal official who said in March that the companies were aware of and cooperated with the PRISM program. Further evidence surfaced last month in the form of emails between former NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Google, which revealed a much closer relationship between the two than either ever publicly acknowledged. The original leaked documents describing PRISM also indicate a high-degree of “back-door” access to the networks of companies including Google.
China Daily’s indictment prompted outrage among other Chinese media, which labeled the United States “a high-level hooligan,” and accused the U.S. of maintaining “double standards” on cyber spying.