Spying claims are spreading and escalating across the globe, from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom. The latest big Guardian exposé claims that the U.K. government spied on G20 summit meeting guests in London using various methods. These reportedly included penetrating the security of BlackBerry phones and setting up internet cafes with key-logging software. The report actually shows a purported government document excerpt: “What are our recent successes? BlackBerry at G20 – delivered messages to analysts during the G20 in near real-time.” It’s a little eerie to see super spies adopt startup pitch language and tone.
UPDATE: BlackBerry issued a statement to Bloomberg in response to the accusations: “We remain confident in the superiority of BlackBerry’s mobile security platform for customers using our integrated device and enterprise server technology. There is no ‘back door’ pipeline to that platform.”
The commentary section following the article reflects the same deep schism that is developing in America right now: the latest revelations about spying that involve foreign countries are beginning to trigger accusations of treason against the leakers. There are also adorable British expressions like “tough cheese” and “@UnIikelylad – is it just me or is this not entirely wonderful?” What started as a simple and dramatic story about PRISM and American citizens is now rapidly evolving into a bigger debate about how intelligence gathering is conducted.
The injection of questions such as how allies, neutral countries and possibly hostile countries should be treated may well cloud the ongoing core debate about what is happening with domestic surveillance. There is clearly a possibility that the ongoing series of revelations will turn the entire discussion into a much more complex debate, perhaps helping reduce the possibility that the initial public outrage will actually lead to any meaningful policy changes.