echo August 18, 2021 7:52 AM

Speaking for myself I’m more interested in the hierarchies and social constructs and law than the technology which I believe is a red herring. It would be interesting to read more comparative studies on governance and human rights and economics because I believe discussions about this are more fruitful than anything a room with no windows full of nerds and zealots are up to. At least, the technology doesn’t interest me as technology is technology and any propellorhead gets this.

It’s a bit of a headache reading up on Russian law let alone Chinese law which is very underdeveloped and even when new law is introduced is a rip-off with Chinese elements. Law in China is also a bit patchy as local police chiefs sometimes haven’t heard of it and never implement it or communities which have heard of it drag their feet.

Is there an actually legal commentary on Chinese surveillence and human rights law worth reading? The reason I ask is I have never not once read a legal analysis by anyone only a lot of finger pointing and woo-woo. It would be useful so reports on what the Chinese are getting up to and who they are targetting and why can be put in some sort of context.

Unless they ahve taken it down the last MOD report I read which listed national security priorities for attention included development of the law and civic structures. Yet all I read about is people blowing off and technology which I think has more to do with rote learned linear minds and bad habits than policy progression as there’s no real dialogue in there.

There’s also the issue of how do you deal with countries with a mindset governed by recent revolution and tradition and culture? Modern technology tends to turbo-charge this and this is something the West fails to take into account because this was the case in the West before this stuff was invented. Most people have a perceptual window of around 20 years with a lot of forced shrinkage in some areas down to 5 years, two years, six months, or a week or so as these forces have accelerated in the West too. Progress is slow, mistakes can be fatal. Success is additive, mistakes multiply.

Freezing_in_Brazil August 18, 2021 10:09 AM

@ echo

Speaking for myself I’m more interested in the hierarchies and social constructs and law than the technology which I believe is a red herring.

Wikipedia: A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question.

I have to strongly disagree with your argument. The whole point [raison D’être] of this forum is technology. Nation-state espionage by definition operates outside social constructs. It is a manifestation of deeply ingrained inclinations towards aggression [of avoidance thereof], and it is always enabled by whatever technology available at the time.

JonKnowsNothing August 18, 2021 10:26 AM


You might be happier with EmptyWheel for your preference. Marcy Wheeler and the folks that post on her site do a spot on job of deep diving analysis of “hierarchies and social constructs and law” and they are also fairly savvy about technology, although from a high-user level rather than the deep down bits here.

Marcy and crew have been involved in the legal and technical aspects for a long time and she has a absolutely fantastic time-line analysis of events. There is no one going to get past her: This is the Order and This is What was Said When.

There maybe some frothing on topics but it’s worth it to read the analysis.

The other posters on her site are worth more than one read through too.

echo August 18, 2021 1:06 PM

@Freezing_in_Brazil, JonKnowsNothing

That depends on your definition of security. What bores me to utter tears is the incredible narrow focus without considering the wider context including ethics and sociology and psychology and all the rest of it. Yes the host of this blog ca and has touched on this issues and sometime only partially but security is more than just “boys toys” (unless it’s Mr Certified Professional with a patent on “thus” then you lap it up).

If I wanted to read Marcy Wheeler I would. She has nothing to say about anything which interests me and rarely with the viewpoints I like exploring.If she does I’ll get to hear about it eventually if it’s that important.

It’s possible to have too much focus.

1&1~=Umm August 18, 2021 2:49 PM

@ JonKnowsNothing,

“You might be happier with EmptyWheel for your preference.”

Ahh but that would be to obvious, so would be not the solution.

Somebody has an itch they want to not just scratch but rip asunder. Thus as you see “The lady does protest to much” whilst not actually having a care for what she appears to claim is “Oh so” important.

So the writing gives away the game, they want to appear to be some misunderstood / victim as well as claim some form of brilliance, yet offers not a jot of proof for either.

Which reflects in behaviour, where rather than be constructive, they come across as critical beyond measure or reason and parochial as a lady that lunches in the village hall.

If you do not genuflect1 before the arm wavery then Petite bourgeoisie ire comes to the surface with pointless patronizing verbage. Remember,

La femme de César doit être au-dessus du monde


Jon August 18, 2021 9:26 PM

@ echo :

I’m A Chinese Dissident!

Flood the database with crap, and it’ll become worse than useless. J.

Clive Robinson August 19, 2021 3:07 AM

@ Jon,

Flood the database with crap, and it’ll become worse than useless.

Saddly no that probably will not work these days.

Whilst we think of the “crap” as being random, it will not be, because of two reasons,

1, It’s determanisticaly generated.
2, It has a limited source database.

Both of which will with “enough crap” leave recognisable “characteristics in the crap” that can be used to identify it and flag it as “crap” or “potential crap” to an administrator or worse.

Freezing_in_Brazil August 19, 2021 9:21 AM

@ echo

I understand the multidisciplinary nature of Security, and the social/cultural backdrop upon which it is practiced. But it would be foolish to deny the supremacy of the hard sciences in the field.

I think of espionage as a distinct [hard science & technology intensive] category in the broader landscape of security.

What you call ‘boy toys’ is the very basis of civilization as we know it.


lurker August 19, 2021 1:26 PM

I am not a Chinese dissident, and when I visited China several times off the beaten track I strenuously avoided javascript and Chinese keyboard layout. At first I was anxious about being added to the database. But after the nth occasion my passport, visa, and other personal papers were photographed by some village or railway station policeman, I decided they needed a set of foreign language documents for bragging rights at the next local police convention. It didn’t seem to interfere with my visa applications.

Ismar August 24, 2021 6:51 AM

Great, let’s fix those browser/ websites holes and make it that much harder to make exploits of this nature next time

ResearcherZero August 25, 2021 6:02 AM


The United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party is a department that reports directly to the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which gathers intelligence on, manages relations with, and attempts to influence elite individuals and organizations inside and outside China.

Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Alex Joske has noted that there is no clear distinction between domestic and overseas UFWD activity and often overlap between the two.

The UFWD and its affiliated front organizations have also served as cover for intelligence agents of the Ministry of State Security. Multiple national intelligence agencies have expressed concern that the mandate and operations of the UFWD can constitute undue interference in other nations’ internal affairs. In their book Nest of Spies, de Pierrebourg and Juneau-Katsuya allege that the United Front Work Department “manages important dossiers concerning foreign countries. These include propaganda, the control of Chinese students abroad, the recruiting of agents among the Chinese diaspora (and among sympathetic foreigners), and long-term clandestine operations.”


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