Tech and government: Report says U.S., Israel created Flame and Stuxnet; China censorship

Follow-ups to tech and government news previously mentioned on GMSV:

• There have been persistent whispers that the United States and Israel collaborated on the Stuxnet worm, which hit the computer systems of a nuclear plant in Iran a few years ago and was discovered in 2010. Earlier this month, spyware dubbed Flame was found on computers in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East. Security experts have said Stuxnet and Flame have the same creators. Now the Washington Post reports, citing anonymous “Western officials,” that the U.S. and Israel were those creators; that Flame was created first; and that Flame and Stuxnet are part of a broader cyber-sabotage campaign against Iran. That campaign started under President George Bush and is continuing under President Barack Obama, according to a New York Times report earlier this month. (See Burning questions about Flame and cyberwar.) The Washington Post report describes Flame as “among the most sophisticated and subversive pieces of malware to be exposed to date” — a fake Microsoft software update that allows for a computer to be watched and controlled from afar.

• Meanwhile, is all talk but no action OK in China? Ars Technica writes about new research that shows China may be more open than thought when it comes to online censorship. Harvard researchers who studied posts on Sina.com blogs, Weibo (China’s Twitter-like service) and other websites found that China did not censor all posts critical of the government. Instead, according to the researchers, China’s “censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content.” Separately, searches related to Tiananmen Square were reportedly being blocked in China during the anniversary of the bloody pro-democracy protests earlier this month. (See Quoted: on Tiananmen anniversary and censorship.) Perhaps merely learning about collective action falls under the “open” censorship umbrella.

 

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  • steve in MT

    China is not what western propaganda portrays. In many ways, China is more free than the USA. You could walk through Tiananmen Square smoking a joint as long as you did not attract undue attention.

    However, when it comes to be critical of the way things are, there is a proper way and an improper way of dissenting. American-style dissent in word, action, or deed is likely to result in harsh controls or worse.

    Communism did not shape modern China, Mao’s China shaped communism. The Chinese have lived as a collectivist society since the time of the Yellow Emperor.

    As many times as I have been to China, I still do not understand the Chinese way, but there is a Chinese way and it works well for the Chinese most of the time.

    Can we really say the same for our government?

 
 
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