China seeks secrets


In this World Wide Wrap: China seeks secrets, Data-mining programme closed, and Sudan turns to China.

China seeks secrets

From the German chancellery to the Pentagon, government computer networks have been targeted by cyber spies that media reports say were directed by China`s military, according to The Associated Press.

China denies backing such attacks, and foreign governments have declined to openly accuse Beijing. Yet, after the spectacular test of a Chinese anti-satellite weapon this year, the reports are shining a new light on China`s pursuit of ways to confront a stronger foe with unconventional strategies.

The reported Pentagon attack was the “most flagrant and brazen to date”, said Alex Neill, an expert on the Chinese military at London`s Royal United Services Institute. Neill, quoted by the British newspaper The Guardian on Wednesday, said such attacks began at least four years ago.

Data-mining programme closed

The Homeland Security Department scrapped an ambitious anti-terrorism data-mining tool after investigators found it was tested with information about real people without required privacy safeguards, reports The Associated Press.

The department has spent $42 million since 2003 developing the software tool known as ADVISE, the Analysis, Dissemination, Visualisation, Insight and Semantic Enhancement programme, at the Lawrence Livermore and Pacific Northwest national laboratories. It was intended for wide use by DHS components, including immigration, customs, border protection, biological defence and its intelligence office.

Pilot tests of the programme were quietly suspended in March after Congress` Government Accountability Office warned that “the ADVISE tool could misidentify or erroneously associate an individual with undesirable activity such as fraud, crime or terrorism”.

Sudan turns to China

Sudan has reported the development of unmanned aerial vehicles as part of a military modernisation effort that is going forward despite US sanctions, says World Tribune.

“There are countries that are prohibited from selling weapons to Sudan,” Sudanese defence minister Abdul Rahim Mohammed Hussein said on 1 September.

Hussein said Khartoum has turned away from US-origin weapons amid an embargo by Washington. He said military suppliers to Sudan now include Belarus, China, Iran, Malaysia, North Korea and Russia.