NSA Surveillance: The US Is Behaving Like China

Many are shocked by reports on the scope of the US National Security Agency’s PRISM operation, and comparisons to the monolithic security apparatus in China may not be far off. Both US citizens and foreigners are left wondering about the targets. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has both lived in the US for 12 years and been in detention in China, expresses surprise and disappointment. Acknowledging that China lags in recognizing such rights, Weiwei suggests the US, given its tradition of individual liberty and respect for privacy, should refrain from such power, lest it send wrong signals to other countries. He concedes that plenty of personal information is available, easily collected. Governments that abuse their ability to gather personal details run the risk of stunting their own development by encouraging citizens to engage in self-censorship and destroying trust. Authorities may be sincere in their belief that the surveillance activities are intended for the common good, yet there are no guarantees against abuse. Weiwei concludes, “To limit power is to protect society.” – YaleGlobal

NSA Surveillance: The US Is Behaving Like China

Both the US and China think they are doing what’s best for the state and people – Chinese artist Ai Weiwei points out that abuse of power can ruin lives
Ai Weiwei
Friday, June 14, 2013

Ai Weiwei is one of China’s leading contemporary artists. He helped to establish the experimental artists’ East Village in Beijing. As an artistic consultant for design, he collaborated with the Swiss architecture firm Herzog and de Meuron in designing the Beijing National Stadium, the “Bird’s Nest”. But since then he has distanced himself from the state and Olympics, becoming an increasingly outspoken advocate of China’s political reform and refusing to attend the opening ceremony.

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