Do you remember back in ‘98 when the United States Department of Justice filed the antitrust case against Microsoft? The media speculated that the software monopoly would be broken-up like Ma Bell was in the ‘70s, but in the end, Microsoft got off with a slap on the wrist—and everyone wondered why.
Perhaps, an article in the New York Times last week can offer some clues…
“The electronic spy game has had some real-world impact, they said. For example, they said, after an e-mail invitation was sent by the Dalai Lama’s office to a foreign diplomat, the Chinese government made a call to the diplomat discouraging a visit. And a woman working for a group making Internet contacts between Tibetan exiles and Chinese citizens was stopped by Chinese intelligence officers on her way back to Tibet, shown transcripts of her online conversations and warned to stop her political activities.”
The article went on to quote intelligence analysts who said that many governments and some business organizations use sophisticated computer programs to covertly gather information. This group of 103 countries, they said, includes China, Russia and the United States of America.
The antitrust suit was settled in 2001, shortly after the attacks of 911, when much of our government’s errors were blamed on the Department of Justice’s “antiquated computer systems”.