[ISN] It's payback time, say Mainland hackers

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Tue Aug 18 1998 - 03:34:48 PDT

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    From: blueskyat_private
    Originally From: "Thomas E. Kaiser" <tkaiserat_private> 
    Posted: 10:00am Tuesday, August 11, 1998
    It's payback time, say Mainland hackers
    By Sumner Lemon
    A group of hackers calling themselves the Yellow Pages is set to target
    U.S. companies doing business in China in a bid to raise the profile of
    human rights in China, Computerworld Hong Kong has learned. 
    The Yellow Pages believe that U.S. companies doing business in China
    should bear partial responsibility for human rights abuses on the
    Mainland, according to Blondie Wong, director of the Hong Kong Blondes, a
    Mainland-based group of hackers that has campaigned for improved human
    rights in China. 
    "One of the reasons that human rights in China are not further ahead is
    because they have been de-linked from American trade policy,"  Wong said. 
    Wong's comments were made in a document released through Cult of the Dead
    Cow (CDC), a U.S.-based hacker group which has advised the Blondes on
    technical issues. 
    "When human rights considerations were associated with doing business with
    the United States, at least there was the threat of losing trade
    relations, of some form of punishment. Now this just doesn't exist. 
    Beijing successfully went around Congress and straight to American
    business, so in effect, businessmen started dictating foreign policy," 
    Wong explained. 
    "By taking the side of profit over conscience, business has set our
    struggle back so far that they have become our oppressors too," Wong said. 
    The Yellow Pages would initially seek to name and expose companies it
    believes have put commercial interests ahead of human rights, Wong said.
    However, the Yellow Pages could also do "worse"  things to these
    companies, he added. 
    Fighting the good fight
    While some observers may question the validity of hackers targeting
    companies to advance human rights concerns in China, the Yellow Pages
    maintain they are justified in their belief that corporations must
    shoulder some blame for the state of human rights in the PRC, Wong said. 
    "Human rights is an international issue, so I don't have a problem with
    businesses that profit from our suffering paying part of the bill. Perhaps
    then they will see the wisdom of putting some conditions on trade," Wong
    In addition, the Yellow Pages' strategy will help to focus attention on
    the issue of human rights in China, said Oxblood Ruffin, a Canada-based
    CDC member who acts as a strategic advisor to the Blondes. 
    "[U.S. diplomat] George Kennan once remarked that the smallest amount of
    progress in international relations was significant even though it might
    not seem like much on the surface. In the same way, I think that something
    will come out of this venture because it's just wacky enough to grab
    people's attention. I mean, who would put hacking corporate networks
    together with human rights in China? It's pretty stretched out, but it
    makes perfect sense to me," said Ruffin. 
    "We have to help with the strategy [of targeting U.S. companies doing
    business in China] because it sure as hell isn't coming from the political
    classes. Look at Bill Clinton. He makes his nice feel-good trip to China
    and comes back gushing about one day there'll be democracy in China. The
    guy's an idiot," he added. 
    A new breed of hacker
    While hackers have not typically been perceived by observers as a force
    for political change, Wong noted an increase in the number of hackers,
    such as the Yellow Pages, that are motivated by political issues. 
    "There has been a shift in consciousness, I believe," Wong said.  "Younger
    people have a great deal of talent although they can be very awkward. But
    the point is, I think they are different from the generation of hackers
    before them." 
    The new generation of hacker has a desire to use their skills to make the
    world a better place, Wong explained.  "They want the recognition and
    attention, but they also want to do something to contribute to change
    things in a positive way. In general, I think what they are doing will
    grow and turn into something that makes a difference," he said. 
    Hacker response to recent nuclear tests in India and Pakistan is a good
    example of how political motivation has become more important for this new
    generation of hackers, Wong said. 
    In May, hackers reportedly broke into India's Badha Atomic Research Center
    (BARC) and copied several megabytes of data and e-mail related to India's
    nuclear weapons testing program. The hackers also reportedly defaced
    BARC's Web site with messages protesting against India' s nuclear weapons
    development program. 
    Ultimately, this type of attack is useful because it helps to raise the
    profile of nuclear weapons in the public consciousness, Wong said. 
    "Somehow people think that the bombs have disappeared because we don't
    read about them in the papers like we used to. At any rate, I view the
    BARC intrusion as something positive because it will draw attention to the
    situation and cause more discussion about a serious issue," Wong said. 
    SIDEBAR: Beyond the long arm of the law
    By Sumner Lemon
    In an interview released through U.S.-based hacker group Cult of the Dead
    Cow, Blondie Wong, director of the China-based hacker group Hong Kong
    Blondes, said the Mainland government is searching for him and he is
    forced to travel with an armed guard for security reasons. 
    Concern for Wong's safety may be a result of the Blondes ongoing hacking
    activities in China. Last year, for example, the Blondes were rumored to
    have hacked a communications satellite belonging to the People' s
    Liberation Army. 
    "My opponents would be very happy to put a bullet in the back of my head,"
    Wong said.  The guards are provided for Wong under the terms of an "
    arrangement" with an unspecified third party he described as "a group of
    people who are even more outside of the law than we are." 
    Besides providing armed guards, Wong said that he also relies on the same
    group of individuals to help people enter and leave the Mainland.  The
    group has already helped one member of the Blondes, Lemon Li, to leave
    China after she was questioned by authorities in Beijing. Li is currently
    residing in Paris where she continues to coordinate much of the work being
    done by the Blondes, Wong said. 
    Criminal involvement in smuggling dissidents out of China is nothing new.
    Hong Kong-based triads have been reported to have played an important role
    in Operation Yellowbird, an underground railroad set up to smuggle
    dissidents out of China in the aftermath of the June 4, 1989, massacre in
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