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US Inadvertently Enabled Chinese Google Hackers

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the um-yeah-we-meant-to-do-that dept.

Google 103

Phrogman writes "In this CNN article by Bruce Schneier, he states that the US Government inadvertently enabled Chinese hackers access to Google's Gmail. The article states 'Google made headlines when it went public with the fact that Chinese hackers had penetrated some of its services, such as Gmail, in a politically motivated attempt at intelligence gathering. The news here isn't that Chinese hackers engage in these activities or that their attempts are technically sophisticated — we knew that already — it's that the US government inadvertently aided the hackers.'" Update: 02/22 20:26 GMT by S : As readers have noted, Schneier said not long after he wrote this article that he no longer thinks this is what happened.

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Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232416)

Proud computer experts of China,

We were made aware of your recent exploits concerning Google and a number of other Western corporations. We know that you have the facility to go after bigger and better targets, so why not go after the U.S. government itself? Instead of hacking Gmail to read average citizens' e-mail, you could go after congress and deliver to us their damming communiques. We want to know all about their marital affairs, business dealings, money streams, and even their bowel movements. We want them to know that they are being watched using the very systems they voted to put into place. We cannot do the same, for our society is becoming repressive and average citizens are being tried as war-criminals if not tortured detained indefinitely without trial.

You can do it. We understand that your government tacitly condones your hacking actions against U.S. interests. Google is your friend. The United States government is your enemy. Google will publicly condemn China and cause it to lose business. The U.S. government will not release public statements out of fear of humiliation, so they will not affect Chinese business. Get into their computers, post their secrets on Wikileaks, and you will be our heroes. After exploitation, publicly supply the methods of exploitation to humiliate our government. Our government are out of touch with reality and are stinking drunk with power and the money earned with capitalistic corporate greed. You must become heroes of the people. Not just your people, but the people of the world.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31232522)

Nice sentiment, but Capitalism isn't the problem. Crony Capitalism is the problem. The wealthy gamble with the people's money. If they win, they keep all the profits. If they lose, politicians make sure the taxpayer bails them out. This needs to stop.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31232622)

Clearly the citizens of America do not want it to stop. That is why they keep electing the same people over and over and over and over and over and over again, even when it's been shown that they do whatever they can to fuck over the average American.

So it must be the Will of the People for their government to behave in such a fashion.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31233032)

All of the politicians are the same. When people have the option to vote in a jackass who will screw them or another jackass who will screw them they don't have very many options left now do they?

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

pitdingo (649676) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233354)

Sure they do. However, you lump all politicians together which is horrible generalization. Not to mention it shows you have been conned by the existing corrupt establishment. The fix for the US Government starts very simple, never vote for a Republican or Democrat. Ever. If all the people bitching about the goverment did that, it would sure shake things up a bit.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233558)

But, we're not looking for an earthquake.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232846)

It will never happen unless it physically hurts otherwise. Governments have had centuries of practice at, and have thus become exceedingly good at, keeping the populace docile and compliant. Panem et circenses and all that.

If one really wants to change the way things are done, try bringing down the cable TV system(s). There would a freaking armed revolt.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (4, Interesting)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233266)

Nice sentiment, but Capitalism isn't the problem. Crony Capitalism is the problem. The wealthy gamble with the people's money. If they win, they keep all the profits. If they lose, politicians make sure the taxpayer bails them out. This needs to stop.

That's not "Crony Capitalism", that's just Capitalism. Capitalism done poorly, but still, plain old vanilla Capitalism.

Crony Capitalism is when you get the contract because of who you know (which is still plain old vanilla Capitalism, actually, just done poorly in a different way).

The problem isn't with Capitalism per se, the problem is with worshipping Capitalism as the highest ideal form of economic system. It's not. It's really good, but to blindly follow a rule of "Capitalism or bust" is doomed to failure.

The banking system fiasco is a perfect example of pure Capitalism at work. The banks got your money voluntarily. They then "invested" it voluntarily. They then lost it, all completely voluntarily. Although it should have happened much sooner, *that's* when the government finally stepped in to halt this perfectly valid form of Capitalism. Had they not stepped in, we would very likely be in a depression right now, instead of being in an actual state of economic improvement.

They should have stepped in sooner, and disallowed the high-risk gambling of something so precious as the savings and checking accounts of the American people. But the ruling party at the time has the motto of "Capitalism or Bust". The problem is they actually got both.

Now, the standard Capitalist response would be that, sure, *some* banks will gamble, and they will fail, but the smart banks will not and they will outcompete their competition and rise to the top, making the market even *better* than before.

The problem with that is that in some configurations, that doesn't really work. If it takes a long time for failure to occur. This is what happened with the banks, where it took about a decade for the house of cards to collapse. In the mean time, all the smart banks (of any significant size) *had* to follow suit with the risky practice for two reasons:

1. They *were* being outcompeted by their competitors. Those that took the risks were seeing the higher rewards immediately. Those that were playing it smart were not, and their boards and shareholders where at their throats if they didn't also see similar earnings.
2. The cancer of these bad investments where making their way all throughout the system. It's difficult to invest in anything without having it be involved, in some way, with this house of cards illusion.

Sure, there were a few small institutions that weren't a part of this scheme, but they were hardly capable of taking over the financial burdens of the US.

And once everything fell apart, *HUGE* amounts of American capital instantly disappeared. This left a huge vacuum, and as the *rest* of the economy began to collapse, the government, and specifically, the Federal Reserve, did the only thing it could to prevent full catastrophic failure. They filled in some of those gaps with printed money. This slowed the collapse and is in fact reversing it as we speak. But at a cost, a huge cost. The cost is inflation. With more dollars in existence, each dollar is worth less.

This is all thanks to Capitalism. Not Crony Capitalism, not Any-Other-Qualifier Capitalism. Just plain old Capitalism. Some things should not be allowed to happen. *Not* because government knows better than you or I, but because some things are traps. Traps where a profit seeking Capitalism, done completely correctly, has no choice but to fall into. Some traps may be acceptable, if they get us to a better state of affairs, and maybe it means horse and buggy dealers have to lose out to the automobile industry, or electric cars replace gasoline cars, or the Internet topples the current music industry configuration.

But some traps are far too devastation to be allowed to be sprung. And *any* trap which will inevitably lead to the decimation of our banking system one such trap. For the government to put into place restrictions protecting such a thing is *NOT* Communism. It's the government protecting the very fundamental building blocks of Capitalism.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233546)

Near as I can tell, Capitalism should involve capital. Perhaps that's just me being silly. What the banks did had nothing to do with capitalism. They had NO capital. That was exactly the problem -- they made stuff up and then spent money on it.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31234374)

That definitely is you being silly.

Since you surely know that all banks operate on the Fractional-reserve banking [wikipedia.org] system, you would be proposing two things:

  • There has been not a single capitalist system in the last two centuries (and therefore any model for "true capitalism" would either be older than the 18-hundreds or fictional)
  • All currently existing banks should be abolished

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234742)

That wasn't the problem: the problem is fiat currency to begin with. Banks create money via the fractional-reserve banking system [wikipedia.org] . This can work okay (the fact that the US dollar is actually debt, not wealth put aside for sake of argument) if you have good risks. The problem is with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guaranteed riskier loans, some banks were required to lend to people who had no means to pay it back, and others jumped on the bandwagon as it was a good way to make a quick buck; show some strong "gains" for a few quarters, the execs can take their fat bonuses and let the next generation deal with the fallout when it collapses.

Banks for a long time were responsible in how they created money through lending; they took acceptable risks, and it was relatively problem free for decades. The currency created proved to be creditworthy, by and large. It was when banks got greedy that the system failed, making it hard for even good risks to get credit for a while.

This affected me; I had to get a loan and I had a heck of a time. I don't have bad credit, the problem was I only used credit when I needed it, and hadn't used credit in years. So, I could not get financing until trying for weeks, and found a local credit union willing to work with me (and I got a pretty good rate). One of the lenders had told me that although I have good credit, I don't have "enough" credit. Well, two deadbeats use them for financing on cars, and when I mentioned them by name and said "so-and-so and so-and-so have had multiple cars repossessed and you financed them each time" (both of them had at least one car repossessed and financed again through the same bank - WTF?) - the response was "Well, they have recent credit." WTF? The system was completely broken, and is still somewhat broken at this point. How the heck is really bad recent credit worse than limited but good credit? I learned my lesson; always keep at least one credit card open and use credit regularly even when you do not need it.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237314)

Near as I can tell, Capitalism should involve capital. Perhaps that's just me being silly. What the banks did had nothing to do with capitalism. They had NO capital. That was exactly the problem -- they made stuff up and then spent money on it.

To claim that banks have no capital is to say down is up.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31234040)

The banking system fiasco (and the intertwined housing market fiasco) are both HEAVILY influenced/supported/enabled/etc by the government. In fact, our banking system doesn't exist without government. Not saying that completely unfettered capitalism is the best approach (there need to be SOME regulations), but you can't make the argument if the basis is flawed.

tired, failed argument (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234278)

the banking system bubbled and bursted a number of times in the 1800s-1920s, because it wasn't regulated. so the government came in and regulated it. it bubbled and bursted again in 2007 because the government was hard at work REMOVING regulations for a decade before that

and then idiots like you come along and go "look, the government is involved, so its all their fault"

the only thing at fault in the government is idiots in the government who think the solution is less government

you WANT heavy government regulation for a healthy functional economy. simple solid fact

Re:tired, failed argument (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#31235430)

I find it strange that the business community claims that capitalism thrives in a society with a strong rule of law. Except when those laws apply to themselves, of course.

And I find the claim that the sorts of crimes that business tend to commit are somehow 'less serious' than those of common criminals. "I don't worry about someone approaching me in a dark alley selling unregistered securities", the saying goes. The problem is that, in the long run, its this sort of crime that does the most damage to society as a whole. The individual is less equipped to deal with complex white collar crimes than they are with simple thuggery. If Bernie Madoff had been a stick-up artist, odds are pretty good that he'd have been killed long ago by one of his potential victims. But due to the complexity of things like contract law and financial markets (something our government helped to create) the average person is helpless in the face of these scams. We need a strong regulatory infrastructure to protect us.

exactly (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#31238286)

the retarded libertarian mantra is the market polices itself

bullshit

the truth is that some assholes notice natural imperfections in the market, and exploit them

furthermore, smaller players are not on the same footing as larger players. the free market fundamentalist delusion is that without government, everyone will coexist in equality. when the simple truth is, smaller fry are abused by larger fry UNLESS a strong regulatory policing governmental force keeps thing equal

but no, all these ayn rand naive philosophy students with dreamy ideas and no fucking real world common sense imagine themselves to be one of the big guys, and they clamor for their right for coexist with the big guys as equals. its some sort of mass delusion. when the simple truth is, they aren't big, they just have big heads, and they merely fight for the "rights" of entrenched economic class structures, rather any sort of equality. all of their libertarian mantra serves to keep the rich rich, the poor poor, and themselves ignorant. there is no equality in libertarianism. well, there is, in all of the propaganda, but no equality in the real world effects of the idiotic philosophy. libertarianism is the mirror image of communism, and is equally stupid

for the clean functioning of a healthy capitalist system YOU NEED A STRONG GOVERNMENTAL REGULATORY FORCE. iron clad rock of gibraltar fact

if that makes some assholes whine about having to deal with red tape, well, now you know what it means to have no red tape: the implosion of 2008. so live with the fucking red tape already and shut the fuck up because now you've learned your lesson the hard way, fucking morons

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234452)

At the basis of Capitalism is a Free Market. There are at least two conditions that must be present for a Free Market to meet its definition:
* barriers to entry must be close to zero (exactly zero is impossible)
* perfect information about all products/services in the market is available to all customers

Unfortunately, no markets truly satisfy this condition. Instead, what we have are markets that fall in a spectrum: some have low barriers to entry and information is broadly available (carpentry), others have very high barriers to entry and broadly available information (ISPs), and others finally have very high barriers to entry and no available information (financial markets).

So no, Capitalism is not really the problem, nor is the banking problem the result of pure Capitalism. On the contrary. The banking problem arose because the underlying requirement for a free market was not there. Which means that the real, fundamental problem is actually with Free Market evangelists who preach capitalism without understanding its limitations. In that sense, they operate much like the communists of yore, who were waiting for the proletarian revolution that "was just around the corner." It never came, because they had made assumptions about human nature that just didn't hold. Just like the Capitalist evangelists with their "The Free Market will fix itself" assumption.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 3 years ago | (#31235532)

I think we're confusing the free market for the perfect market. In a perfect market:
A. everyone knows everything about the state of the market,
B. there are no barriers to entry or exit, and
C. everyone has equal access to the means of production.

as a result of this,

D. No one person has the power to set or fix prices

because anyone can notice a disproportionate margin (A), and start their own company overnight to take advantage of it (B and C). All of this is of course, impossible.

In a free market, the government essentially takes a hands off approach to to the economy, with no subsidies, regulation, or government monopolies. For example, if a factory started dumping mercury into a river, the responsibility would fall to the consumer to find out and boycott that company. Police and fire departments would be considered government subsidized monopolies, individuals would have to negotiate with private companies for these services. It is essentially the logical conclusion of privatization.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237280)

You're correct on one sense - a perfect market is a free market, but a free market doesn't necessarily have to be a perfect market. However, what you're missing is that the rationale behind people supporting a free market is that it is supposed to operate like a perfect market - hence all this talk about "the free market will fix any problem on its own."

To take your example, a free market would work if people would have the means to find out about the mercury dumping. If people don't have access to that information, then a free market approach to the problem cannot possibly provide a positive outcome.

because anyone can notice a disproportionate margin (A), and start their own company overnight to take advantage of it (B and C). All of this is of course, impossible.

Which is exactly my point. When people talk about the free market working without government interference, they all assume an impossible situation - exactly like the communists, who assumed that humankind would work in peace together: "to all according to their need, from all according to their ability."

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31242076)

The basis of capitalism is capital. Period.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234748)

None of that is capitalism, it is all cronyism.

The problem is not your economic system, it is your political system, which allows itself to be corrupted by the wealthy.

Wealthy should try and corrupt the political system because it is a cheap way to get free money. It is the attribute of a failed political system that allows a process, where the wealthy are successful at this.

You are mixing quite a few things in your lengthy post, most importantly this: free money provided by the fed allowed the banks to gamble with the money in the first place. Free money, as in very cheap to pay back, because of artificially low interest rates. The fed is stealing your money, giving it to the rich and the rich gamble with it. The people working for the fed have subverted the system.

It's not the capitalism and it's not the lack of regulations over capitalism, it is absolutely one thing: corruption in the political system.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237396)

None of that is capitalism, it is all cronyism.

No, it's most definitely Capitalism.

Cronyism plays a role, to be sure, but the underlying substrate is Capitalism. Specifically, those with the money doing what they want with it, regardless of the effects on others.

Cronyism is just the players. Are they giving each other deals based on friendships and connections? Or are they engaging in deals based purely on objective financial decisions.

Cronyism is a problem, but it's an inextricable part of Capitalism. So long as you have capital, and you have the right to spend it as you see fit, you *have* to allow for cronyism.

Hell, even passing management positions (and eventually ownership) down the family line is cronyism.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234870)

What we need is expedited recovery from a bank blunder.

Put the federal reserve back in its place and let the banks get desperate enough to borrow from the fed. That's what they are there for, lender of last resort.

Bailouts are a load of bullshit. Here's why:

If a bank is in trouble due to a liquidity problem, they should go to the fed and take out a loan to cover their tills until the depositors calm down. If the crisis really is temporary, carrying a few points of interest on a fed loan for a month shouldn't hurt them too badly anyway.

If something is wrong with the balance sheet, and not just with cash flows, then the bank is a zombie that needs to fail anyway.

And raise the cap on FDIC insurance to a million, and cover a hefty portion of the rest. People need to have one last refuge against disaster, and keeping money under the mattress while it rots instead of in the banking system where it's being invested does nothing for the economy. That's what primes the credit pump.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237504)

Bailouts are a load of bullshit. Here's why:

The bailouts aren't for what you think they are for. They aren't to keep the banks afloat. They are to keep the economy from collapsing into a depression.

It sucks that the bankers are making so much as a side-effect of this, but it's better than the alternative.

But this will all fail again if we don't reign in the banks themselves with laws like Glass-Stegall. If we don't, they'll just do the same thing because *someone* will pull the same old shit again, and then everyone else will eventually have to follow suit.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 3 years ago | (#31235554)

"The banking system fiasco is a perfect example of pure Capitalism at work."

It most certainly was not. In a system that even remotely resembles capitalism, businesses that make bad investments lose money and ultimately end up in bankruptcy. Furthermore, the whole Federal Reserve system, where we have a central bank that ARBITRARILY sets interest rates and expands the money supply on a whim is the absolute antithesis of capitalism and the free market.

"Had [the government] not stepped in, we would very likely be in a depression right now, instead of being in an actual state of economic improvement."

We're not in a state of "economic improvement" by any reasonable metric. Debt fueled government stimulus spending, pulled-forward demand and indefinite extensions of unemployment benefits are not indicative of any sort of sustainable "improvement". The banking system has receieved trillions of dollars in aid, but they are still sitting on monumental losses. The bankers' buddies in Government suspended mark-to-market accounting requirements however, thus allowing banks to lie about their assets. We have banks right now that are carrying HELOC loans at full nominal value when the home in question is in foreclosure on the first mortgage. The "cancer" of bad investments is still there. In a capitalist system, these banks would fail, the assets would be sold off at market value (this is the dreadful "catastrophe" that they try to scare us with), bad debt would be expunged from the system, and THEN we would be on a firm footing for economic growth. All these Government programs keeping their banker buddies on taxpayer funded life support are the single biggest obstacle to economic recovery. A significant portion of our banking system (namely the largest banks in the U.S.) DESERVES to be decimated.

The Federal Reserve didn't "slow" the collapse, and they sure as hell aren't "reversing" it now. They're trying to re-inflate a debt-fueled bubble, and it just is not happening, and can't happen. The Fed, and loose monetary policy was the sinlge biggest enabling factor in this whole fiasco. Right now, they're holding things together by a thread. Sooner or later we're going to have to face the consequences of that irresponsible monetary policy (that we should have faced in 2007) or face a full blown currency collapse.

WTF does this have to do with Chinese hackers and government back doors into G-mail?????

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237632)

"The banking system fiasco is a perfect example of pure Capitalism at work."

It most certainly was not. In a system that even remotely resembles capitalism, businesses that make bad investments lose money and ultimately end up in bankruptcy.

Did you even read my post? I pointed out that this is the standard Capitalist response. Let the fail and the market with right itself. Unfortunately, as I pointed out in my post that you clearly didn't read, letting the banks fail would have sent the economy into a depression.

Which brings us to the ugly truth of Capitalism. Unregulated Capitalism always leads to depressions. The Capitalist will say this is good, because it purges the economy of the failed businesses and allows the truly successful models to thrive.

This may be true, but it fails to address one thing: people have limited lifetimes. If I lived to be thousands of years old, I wouldn't mind a decade here or there of hard times if it meant a net better lifetime. But I only get to live 50-90 years. A decade of hard times is fucking bullshit, especially if it can be avoided.

And how many people's lives are going to be totally destroyed by even a recession, let alone a depression? Do you realize that, already, hundreds, if not thousands of Americans are dead as a direct result of the current financial crisis?

How can anyone possibly support such a disgusting world view? That it's OK to let people die unnecessarily so long as it serves the great god of Capitalism?

Now, sure, I suspect most people who are ardent Capitalists won't condone such an atrocity directly, but when it comes to the policies that they promote, these things are exactly what's going to happen.

And that's just deaths. What about all the children unable to get a proper education, all the people who will be poorly fed and end up with chronic medical conditions? And the homeless? We're not talking about bums here, but people laid off from their jobs and not able to pay for a place to live?

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31236106)

hey idiot...... its not capitalism that is flawed, but the people. The greed the corruption is the problem. Show me something that works better........

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237748)

hey idiot...... its not capitalism that is flawed, but the people.

Hey idiot, you can't have Capitalism without people.

The problem isn't the people, it's what they are allowed to do. If the people at the banks weren't allowed to risk their depositors' money they way they did, this current financial situation would be *very* different.

The same with the housing collapse. Just a bit of regulation on both sides and there wouldn't have been any collapse at all.

But instead, in the name of Capitalism and the so-called Free Market, we removed those safeguards, and surprise surprise, we got fucked.

You see, the problem isn't the bad people. We can deal with them. The problem is if you *allow* the bad people to do the things that make them bad. If you do that, then eventually the *good* people have to do bad things just to remain competitive.

*THAT'S* what brought all of this about.

The greed the corruption is the problem. Show me something that works better........

Regulated Capitalism. Often called Socialism in America. You get all the benefits of Capitalism, while minimizing the negative impacts of the corrupt people.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

sp3d2orbit (81173) | more than 3 years ago | (#31238330)

Why was the solution a bailout? It seems to me we got into this mess because large numbers of people don't understand the concept of mortgages, especially principal and interest. Why wasn't the solution more math education?

Every student should have to answer this question to graduate:

"A teacher makes $40,000 per year. Her house costs $500,000. What interest rate can the teacher afford for her house?"
Answer: Nothing. The teacher can never afford a $500,000 house.

If capitalism was really working then the government would not have underwritten these loans (Fannie / Freddie Mac), the teachers would not have bought their McMansions, and we wouldn't have had a crash / bailout.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 4 years ago | (#31240032)

They're "reversing" the collapse? It's more like they're digging themselves into a deeper grave even as we speak. The double-dip recession and pending Depression are still to come...

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31242400)

Well written, but I think not the root of the problem.

One of the ideas behind capitalism is that if you have money, that investing it gives you a reward, but also a risk that you loose your money. Usually the reward is proportional to the risk.

What is wrong with the current banking system, is that the bankers and traders got huge rewards while the risks where not theirs but homeowners/pensioners/shareholders.

The problem is that if a banker/trader takes a big risk and it pays off, he gets a big bonus, if he loses money the money, it's someone else who pays the bill. That biassed effect is what fuelled all the craziness.

Rewards should only be proportional to personal risk. Managing someone else's money should not give a big reward, unless you pay out of your own pocket if you loose the money.

Well said sir (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233532)

That is exactly correct.

Unfortunately, too many people see this as a reason to prevent the wealthy from "gambling" (ie: investing). It's not the gambling/investing that is the problem.

Example: If General Motors can not pay it's bills, then it should file bankruptcy just like any other company in the world. The unions are the reason it got bailed out and they are the pinnacle of cronyism.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31233676)

No, capitalism isn't the problem... but it's part of the problem.

There is no such thing as non-crony capitalism. You can idealize like some people idealize communism, but we've seen the reality of communist regimes. The problem is that the negatives are not always so apparent in either system from the inside. Look at China... most people there are pretty happy with communism. Just like most people in the US are happy with capitalism... but neither side ever sees either economic ideology in its pure form, only in the corrupt form. There is no other form.

That's why regulations are not optional, they are a necessity. And as new forms of corruption arise, new regulations must be created to keep them in check. This is an advantage of superimposing capitalism over a republic... the people can hold the institutions (corporations, government, etc) accountable. The disadvantage is that a republic is very slow to react to these kinds of issues, often waiting for the boiling point. In an ideal republic, people are rational and educated (and value both of those properties), but realistically, as we see in our own republic, the term "intellectual" has become an insult. Just as no economic system is ideal, neither is any political system... but so long as they both function, and can push back against each other, the house can stand.

Today, both are broken.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234520)

what absolutely necessary regulations do you speak of? More often than not they are the root of problems biting in the ass with their unintended consequences.

Go to youtube and watch some Peter Schiff clips who is quite famous for predicting the collapse with details how it will happen back in 2005-2006 or even earlier (and being laughed at, literally) - he runs for senate in CT now. He asks people:
- how many of you have bank accounts? ok, pretty much everyone... so, how many of you looked up into the bank's balance sheets? nobody? why? after all you do shop around and learn about other stuff, be it laptops or plasma tvs? so simply you don't care about condition of the bank? why? because if something bad happens, government got you covered?
If there was no regulation you would be afraid of losing your money and you'd check very thoroughly if the bank is safe. Do you see any bank advertising itself as the safest of all? No, they all compete with rates, how much they will offer you for keeping the money at their accounts.

As you can see fear of loss is removed from the natural balance and banks take a lot of risk. If they don't they'll lose that race of death. No guarantees would mean that everybody would check every invested dollar twice.

Barnie Madoff scheme worked for 15 years or so and no government agency found anything despite numerous tips that something is fishy.

Some mortgage backed papers that crashed global economy were rated at AAA even though their true reliability was much lower. Another example of too much faith put into regulatory bodies, rating agencies and all that unnecessary cruft freeing people of thinking and clouding true situation.

Re:Open letter to Chinese computer professionals: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31233078)

OP suffers from a fundamental misunderstanding.

Any group of people will have unpleasant crap within it. There will be stuff behind the scenes that the public wouldn't accept. There will be people sniffing coke and taking pills at parties. There will be committee leaders getting whipped by leather-clad hookers. At the very least they will discuss their intense hatred of the opposition and desire of cutting them up with chainsaws. Cue e.g. climate emails and the debate that followed.

Therefore, many things follow:
1. 'undercover journalism' will always succeed. By definition an undercover journalist would find it difficult to be partisan, since whichever organisation you infiltrate means that you will find something unpleasant. This means that the result of who looks bad is given by your choice.
2. people in general suffer from overblown expectations of their leaders. Sure, maybe 10% of politicians use drugs, but so does probably 10% of their employer's board of directors, and 10% of their friends who can afford it.
and so on.

The challenge that could therefore be made to anyone who feels that individual sordidness should be rooted out from groups with power is - how about YOU let ME into YOUR little group of power, for a year and with a video camera and tape recorder?

If there is a moral to this story, it is in my view that we should all pretend to be nice even if we aren't in the hope that others will be, and if we harm anyone that person should be ourselves only. Hence I don't really WANT to know how many of my government's politicians do coke. I just want to know if they award contracts to their friends or political allies. Please focus on that rather than marital affairs and bowel movements.

Ahem. (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232456)

Booga booga (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232488)

I don't see how doing what is required to not be put in prison, is "inadvertently aiding" anything.

I want my ad impressions back :P

Re:Booga booga (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232584)

I don't see how doing what is required to not be put in prison, is "inadvertently aiding" anything.

You're an idiot if you can't understand how government backdoors into our (tele)communication infrastructure is at least as bad as backdoors resulting from coding mistakes.

Hint: Both can be exploited by bad actors, but the government backdoors can also be exploited by anyone authorized to access the system.

Re:Booga booga (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233418)

Nothing you say refutes my statement that everyone doing business in those countries are required by law to have such backdoors.

Nothing I said implies good or bad either, only current legal state.

Re:Booga booga (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234556)

Nothing you say refutes my statement that everyone doing business in those countries are required by law to have such backdoors.

Lol, that's because you didn't make that statement until just now.

Maybe it was in your head all along, but it certainly isn't what your fingers posted.

Re:Booga booga (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234680)

Nothing you say refutes my statement that everyone doing business in those countries are required by law to have such backdoors.

Lol, that's because you didn't make that statement until just now.

Riiiight... Because I clearly meant all those OTHER ways one ends up in prison without breaking any laws

*rolls eyes* the trolls sure are out in force today

Re:Booga booga (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#31235760)

See, you did it again. What's in your head is NOT what you write.

You wrote about "inadvertently aiding" as if following laws can't have unexpected results.

Re:Booga booga (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237398)

"...all those OTHER ways one ends up in prison without breaking any laws"

Well, we are talking about China here, aren't we ;-)

Re:Booga booga (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#31236448)

I am running a mail server at home and I do not provide backdoor access to any US government agencies. I have not been "put in prison" for this yet.

Please point out the piece of legislation that requires all email service providers to guarantee backdoor access to the US government. Otherwise please stop spreading FUD.

Re:Booga booga (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237010)

I am running a mail server at home and I do not provide backdoor access to any US government agencies. I have not been "put in prison" for this yet.

There is definitely a separation between providing 'personal' email, and being a full blown telecommunications carrier.
I'm not exactly sure -where- that line is, but it's way above a personal email server.

I suppose one might argue Google isn't a telecommunications carrier for email services...

Please point out the piece of legislation that requires all email service providers to guarantee backdoor access to the US government. Otherwise please stop spreading FUD.

Can't show anything that requires ALL email providers to do any such thing.

However the law covering the likes of Google is the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

It applies not just to the 'old style' POTS phone network, but email, VoIP, and broadband as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act [wikipedia.org]
I realize that's just a wiki link, but it will have all of the standard believable links at the bottom.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31232496)

Why would you use GMail to do anything private? You're already trusting Google and the NSA, and they are more likely to want to interfere in your business than China.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31232724)

Neither Google nor NSA wants to take your business. China wants to out and out own it, and steal any and all tech.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31233050)

Is that some veiled form of racism? White men don't interfere with each other but the yellow man wants to own/steal what you have?

List the ways that China has interfered with your business (assuming you are a US citizen), and I'll list the ways that the US intelligence services have interfered with your business.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31233176)

Is that some veiled form of racism? White men don't interfere with each other but the yellow man wants to own/steal what you have?

They were talking about Communism, not Racism, dumbass.

Re:I don't get it (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#31236634)

So you actually believe that PRC is a de facto communist state?

Re:I don't get it (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233844)

Let's see, there is a fairly successful robotics manufacturer that makes robots for plastic injection molding. A Chinese company decided they needed a few hundred of these robots, so they ordered 2 of them. From there they reverse engineered the robots and made the hundred they needed out of those two robots.

Omitting names for obvious reasons.

Anecdote is an anecdote, not an isolated case.

Olllddd (4, Informative)

Trailrunner7 (1100399) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232498)

This is a month old, and Schneier has since backed off this assertion.

Re:Olllddd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31232568)

Because he was threatened to be treated like a terrorist for telling the truth---national security gag order.

Re:Olllddd (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232604)

Link? I was surprised to see this show up on Slashdot so long after the fact, but I don't see any retraction on Schneier's blog.

Re:Olllddd (5, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232652)

Okay [schneier.com] .

Re:Olllddd (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233484)

Wow. Slashdot is ridiculous. They re-run a month old story instead of running the actual story, which was a retraction.

Re:Olllddd (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234294)

Well, on the good side at least someone was able to post the the URL for the retraction. Obviously it isn't perfect (since it was rather far down from the summary) but at least it is there.

Re:Olllddd (3, Informative)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232640)

Exactly. See: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/02/more_details_on.html [schneier.com]

The rumor that China used a system Google put in place to enable lawful intercepts, which I used as a news hook for this essay, has not been confirmed. At this point, I doubt that it's true.

Seriously slashdot, you're not even trying. Although, I have to say it was somewhat irresponsible of Schneier, who in general I have enormous respect for, to write an essay predicated on an unconfirmed rumor.

Re:Olllddd (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234472)

This is why I read the comments first, and then the articles. Thanks Slashdot, for coming through when I needed you. ;)

Re:Olllddd (1)

lassen (979851) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232962)

Yes, he has mentioned several times that he now doubts the veracity of this account. Time to UPDATE the story to stop confusing people.

Re:Olllddd (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234780)

It would have been even better had he not used a rumor as the basic for accusations in the first place and waiting until the facts are in. But he's got an agenda to push, and like all pundits he's only important so long as he's got something worth publishing - the more controversial and likely to get eyeballs on the publisher the better. Facts are secondary to this the reality that agendas must be served.

Re:Olllddd (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#31238028)

This is a month old, and Schneier has since backed off this assertion.

Kind of reminds me of a certain interview in which Dvorak reveals that he would whip the mac users into a froth but leave himself an out, then a month later he'd have another column in which he'd take back the statement and claim that he never really meant it, and predicted the way things actually turned out all along, and he kept getting published because it meant many eyeballs.

Re:Olllddd (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31239866)

Backed off? Looks more like he retconned it.

In his original CNN article he stated it as hard fact, omitting any mention of rumour or speculation.

In his revisited article it is suddenly an unconfirmed rumour that he used as a newshook.

If he actually had backed off and said something along the lines of "I thought this, I was wrong" he would have lost a lot less respect in my eyes.

Re:Olllddd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31240148)

Where is the correction on CNN and Schneier's original blog post, very poor form.

No proof whatsover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31232528)

This is something that Schneier has insinuated but provides no proof or detail about this " US backdoor access" at all.

I'm calling bullshit on this one. Where is the evidence for his claims? Has anybody at Google confirmed such a system exists?

I think Bruce has taken this back... (4, Informative)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232562)

Bruce appears to have taken back this assertion here [schneier.com] :

The rumor that China used a system Google put in place to enable lawful intercepts, which I used as a news hook for this essay, has not been confirmed. At this point, I doubt that it's true.

The original essay, linked to in TFP, is dated January 23rd; the update I quote from is from February 8th.

Not only that, but even more relevant... (3, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232974)

...is the fact that 30-some other companies -- companies without any such lawful surveillance facilities -- were also compromised as part of this Chinese operation, and all accounts indicate it was via 0-day vulnerabilities in IE and JavaScript-enabled PDF documents, not via any mechanism to enable surveillance intercepts.

This was Schneier using the incident as a platform to grind a political axe (probably based on a bogus tip), from which he wisely backed off.

Presuppositions are very effective propaganda (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31232642)

This article is just drilling unsubstantiated claims deep into our heads using presuppositions. It's just a "How US govt. inadvertently enabled Iraq to build WMDs" kind of article.

All is fair in love and war. (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232790)

Arm the penguins and let Linus sort 'em out!

A modest proposal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31232798)

Dear people of China,

We buy a lot of cheap shit from China and don't export anything (other than debt) so consequently, you have a surplus of dollars. You also have a deficit of pussy. Due to the one child policy and a penchant for aborting girls, men outnumber women and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It's well known that guys who can't get pussy like to protest the government and try to speak freely, so you need that pussy to keep them shut up and in the factory. Add to that, most chinese women prefer white men (larger wallets, larger dicks). Invading thailand, taiwan, and the phillipines is an option but they don't have enough pussy and there's a good chance when she drops her panties there will be a package waiting for you. Trust me, it's very disturbing, even if they do give awesome blowjobs.

What to do?

Well, the US has a surplus of pussy. Black pussy. Thing is, nobody wants to fuck black girls, so they're pretty desperate and would be happy with small chinese cock. They also are excellent at cooking and cleaning and other shit like that. If you like mexican, we've got plenty of mexican pussy too.

I realize the irony that some 40 years ago, you offered to sell chinese women to the US to raise cash. Well, the tables have turned.

Thank you for your consideration.

Our "Cybersecurity Czar"'s first recommendation.. (1, Troll)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232810)

..should be: "Repeal CALEA."

The rule is.... (1)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232868)

When it comes to data:
To PROTECT it,
Don't COLLECT it.

Re:The rule is.... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233334)

Well if your job is to protect Data, then, it must be valuable so it should be collected then.

Probably social engineering (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232904)

The chinese probably called up Googles secretary, and talked her into giving them their password (ChuckNorris).

Re:Probably social engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31235580)

you said ChuckNolis?

Re:Probably social engineering (1)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237620)

you said ChuckNolis?

It's the other way around ;) OH HERRO PREASE!

CNC (1)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232906)

Every time I read something about China I can hear that freakin' bulldozer saying; "Building the Chinese empire" or "I build for China".

How About Some Content? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#31232922)

In order to comply with government search warrants on user data, Google created a backdoor access system into Gmail accounts. This feature is what the Chinese hackers exploited to gain access.

Put on your tinfoil hats people!
Not only is Google working WITH the government, they're doing a sloppy job of it!

Re:How About Some Content? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233258)

Not only is Google working WITH the government, they're doing a sloppy job of it!

Cause, effect?

Classic kind of propaganda (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233096)

Presuppositions. Or unstated assumptions [wikipedia.org] .

which you wouldn't realize because (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233642)

you are too prejudiced. Evidence? Click the link given in the summary. In the CNN article that comes up, go to the paragraph that starts with "And surveillance infrastructure can be ...". Hover your mouse over the link labeled with the word "helped". Your browser's status bar will tell you that it links to yet another article about China's surveillance. You won't open an article that supposedly talks about such an "obvious" thing. But only when you click that link, you will know that it doesn't exist. Apparently, the CNN propagandist is an expert who is aware that you won't click the link. But that is not the issue here. The fact that nobody complained about this, either in the CNN site or here on Slashdot, tells volumes about how prejudiced the public is and how badly the propagandists are exploiting it.

look at the summary (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233796)

The summary uses the phrase "we already knew". Who knew? and how did they know?

Opinion Section (2, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233212)

Every article I have read that explains who committed the hacking, how, and why has been an opinion piece, and ends with "the opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of X". I have no problem with this per se, but we should all take it with a grain of salt; Slashdot should preface it's headline with "Theory:" or "Opinion:".

I prefer my news to be my news, and my conspiracy theories to be my entertainment.

Empty summary (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#31233478)

Why bother having a summary when it adds nothing to the headline?

fa1lzors!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31233596)

having lost 93% fellow travellers? Then disappeared GAY NIGGERS from the future holds shower Don't just too, can b3 a a sad world. At the public eye: by BSDI who s^ell

This is retardedly hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31233866)

How the news media portrays 'chinese hackers' as this hugely sophisticated bunch launching attacks, when in fact if you leave a door unlocked a fucking child can open it.

It's all a front to take your civil liberties anyways.

Repeat Story (1)

jfredric (1724030) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234018)

This story was on /. a month ago. LINKED TO THE SAME ARTICLE. Come on guys.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/01/24/1518213/Surveillance-Backdoor-Enabled-Chinese-Gmail-Attack [slashdot.org]

Re:Repeat Story (1)

andrewagill (700624) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234176)

And that submission actually explains what happened, unlike this one.

US inadvertently enabled Chinese Google hackers - It turns out that the US may have inadvertently enabled the Chinese Google hackers. How? As CNN is reporting, the US enabled the Chinese Google hackers, but inadvertently.

Re:Repeat Story (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234252)

The public is so prejudiced and so uncritical that even a million "Come on guys"s won't matter.

IE6... sooooo sad (1)

LordAzuzu (1701760) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234666)

All this mess for an "undisclosed vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6".
WTF! Still using it? Google employees or anyone else? You deserve it!

Inadvertently? (1)

Livius (318358) | more than 3 years ago | (#31234738)

Yeah, right....

Picture Shopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31235712)

Did anyone else notice the banner in the article is completely shopped?

Seriously, and we treat them like allies? (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#31235992)

I'm sorry but Communism is IMHO a scourge and a threat and always will be!

Anybody remember "Die Yankee dog, running dogs of imperialism!", I do.

#irc.trolltalk.c0m (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31236028)

3 simple ste4s!

BREAKING NEWS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31237050)

Armstrong and Aldrin safe on the moon...
haha I scooped /.

The irony... (1)

batrick (1274632) | more than 3 years ago | (#31237828)

here is that the affront to our freedoms here enables the Chinese to squash those advocating Chinese freedom.

Slashdot never even pretended to be journalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31238056)

Slashdot never even pretended to be journalists and to check spelling, facts, etc. but it is now beyond a joke. Will EVERY story now come with a "this turned out to be bullshit" disclaimer ?

oh snap! I enabled muggers! (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31239312)

guess this means I enable muggers by walking down the street with a cell phone and mp3 player.

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