press trust of india
Beijing/WASHINGTON, 17 June: China today joined the growing international chorus in demanding an explanation from the USA over its controversial surveillance programmes which had collected troves of information by tracking millions of telephone records and Internet activity globally. “We believe that the US side should pay attention to concerns and demand of international community and public over this issue and give a necessary explanation,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters here.
She made the remarks when asked whether China has sought explanation from the USA as some countries like Germany and Japan have demanded details on its National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillance programmes.
India has also taken up with the USA the reports that it was the fifth most tracked country by the American Intelligence using a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide Internet data and sought further details in this regard.
China also refuted the allegations as “groundless” that former US Intelligence contractor and CIA employee Edward Snowden spied for it before defecting to Hong Kong, as state media called for his asylum saying that his extradition would result in “loss of face” for Beijing.
“I think it is completely groundless,” Hua said, dismissing allegations by former US Vice-President Dick Cheney that Mr Snowden could be spying for Beijing.
Mr Cheney told US television that he was “deeply suspicious” about Snowden as the CIA employee.
Mr Snowden, who had also alleged US cyber attacks on China thus reinforcing Beijing’s claims, chose to go to Hong Kong, the former British colony which functioned under the Chinese government though it has some administrative autonomy.
The 29-year-old former CIA employee defected to Hong Kong on 20 May and since then has given media interviews reinforcing China’s allegations in the past that it was a victim of hacker attacks from the USA.
Apple releases details on US data requests
US tech giant Apple revealed today it received between 4,000 and 5,000 data requests in six months from US authorities, days after Facebook and Microsoft released similar information.
Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and several other top Internet and technology companies have come under heightened scrutiny since word leaked of a vast, covert Internet surveillance programme US authorities insist targets only foreign terror suspects and has helped thwart attacks. In a statement on its website, Apple said in the period between 1 December 2012 and 31 May 2013, federal, state and local law enforcement had requested customer information up to 5,000 times, related to between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices.