Chinese Video Game Simulates Real-World Island Dispute
Today in international tech news: A new video game in China lets gamers reclaim islands at the center of a real-life dispute with Japan. Also: The U.S. is worried about Huawei's Africa push; the director of the NSA defends surveillance; and the UK is set to prohibit drivers from wearing Google Glass long before it is available.
08/01/13 9:10 AM PT
Glorious Mission Online, a first-person shooting game launched in China and codeveloped by the People's Liberation Army, lets gamers defeat Japan in the fake quest to take back real islands.
The game includes the real-life plot in which China and Japan fight over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, which sit in the East China Sea and have prompted territorial skirmishes.
In the game, which was released Thursday -- the 86th anniversary of the founding of the PLA -- players can fight with the Chinese military to take back the islands.
Developed by the PLA's Nanjing Military Area Command and gaming company Giant Interactive Group, Glorious Mission Online is a successor to the original Glorious Mission, which was given to PLA troops in 2011 in an attempt to hone their combat skills. The updated version is designed not to create better fighters, but, in the words of a Giant exec, to act as a catalyst for "national defense education among teenagers."
Huawei's Africa Push Worries US Officials
Justified or not, it doesn't seem like Huawei can do anything without spiking U.S. cybersecurity suspicions. This goes for the company's push in Africa, as well.
The Chinese telecommunications giant has been building networks in Africa since the 1990s and has 18 offices throughout the continent, which is viewed by some as the world's next great growth market. U.S. officials, however, are reportedly wary that Huawei is using its African business to -- what else -- set up a vast surveillance operation.
Michael Chertoff, the former Department of Homeland Security secretary, has floated the idea that Huawei could use its African infrastructure to carry out both traditional and economic espionage.
Huawei has brushed off the concerns as "silliness," but China's intense investment in Africa -- coupled with the West's ongoing suspicions about the company -- were bound to stir angst. China invested nearly US$70 billion in large-scale projects in Africa from 2006 through 2012, and there are Chinese troops in Mali and Chinese warships off the coast of Somalia.
Huawei doesn't set up phone towers and fiber-optic cable and then move on, Chris Demchak, codirector of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies at the U.S. Naval War College, has pointed out. Instead, the company operates such systems itself, primarily with Chinese employees.
Let suspicion reign.
[Source: Foreign Policy]
NSA Director Defends Intelligence Gathering
Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, told a crowd of hackers and security experts that the NSA's data collection procedures have thwarted 54 terrorist attacks around the globe, including 13 in the U.S.
Speaking in Las Vegas at the Black Hat security/hacking conference, Alexander gave a partial description of the program and stressed that while the NSA collects data such as the date and time of phone calls, it does not access the content of calls or text messages. Nobody, he said, is "wheeling and dealing" information on U.S. citizens.
While Alexander was giving his speech, The Guardian was writing about additional leaks from Edward Snowden. Snowden purportedly gave The Guardian data on an NSA program called XKeyscore, which allows analysts to search databases -- without authorization -- and cull through emails, online chats and browsing histories of millions of people.
Google Glass Already Banned For UK Drivers
Britain's Department of Transport is preparing to ban Google Glass from UK roads prior to the product's 2014 launch, according to a department spokesman quoted in Stuff magazine.
The spokesman likened Google Glass to mobile devices, which have long been banned for UK drivers. More than 1 million drivers have been convicted for using mobile devices since the 2003 ban.