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Why the Best Offense Is a Good Defense

I'm sick of hearing about what might be lost with new surveillance proposals--when we know what has already been lost without them ("Privacy in an age of terror," Special Report, Nov. 5). The American system is resilient enough to adapt to any additional costs we face. Put down your doomsaying sci-fi books and stick to what we know. Implement these measures now.

Brian Smith


"You want security? They've got security" (Special Report, Nov. 5, Asian Edition) seems bent on painting Singaporeans as a bunch of scared citizens heavily monitored by Big Brother. Many Singaporeans have traveled or lived abroad. We have seen other societies but have chosen to stick with the Singapore model. Why should I reject something I believe in--a safe, efficient country run by a largely clean government? The fact is that I look forward to going home to Singapore after every overseas trip.

Patrick Lim


The statement that "Europe hasn't immunized itself against terrorism, despite the powers of the police" is correct, but it gives a generally false impression of European security laws ("Should the U.S. follow Europe's lead?" Special Report, Nov. 5) European Edition). Europe has many strict laws: In Germany, there's the Datenschutzgesetz (data protection act), and in Austria, people must register their addresses with the government. But most are not stringently enforced and carry trivial penalties. In addition, they are vague and easily circumvented.

As for Europeans' having better-protected privacy, try getting a European government to prosecute one of its agents who has violated a data-protection law. Forget a private lawsuit: The monetary result would be so small as to be meaningless. Europeans have a long way to go: Words on paper must actually be enforced to become laws.

Carl Alan Key

Vienna In my interview with the reporter for "Does Japan really need a $16 billion gas pipeline?" (International Business, Oct. 22), I carefully described the scope of the Sakhalin 1 natural-gas pipeline project as a 2,100-kilometer offshore pipeline that would run from Sakhalin Island to either Tokyo or Nigata, Japan. The $16 billion [figure from] Mitsubishi Research Institute refers to a completely separate inland infrastructure pipeline project being considered by the public sector.

The cost of the proposed Sakhalin 1 project by order of magnitude will be substantially less than the inland project and should in no manner be confused with the project described by the reporter in his story. Further, the success of the Sakhalin 1 project is predicated on sound commercial practices.

Neil Duffin


Exxon Neftegas


Editor's note: ExxonMobil did not provide a cost estimate for its pipeline project from Sakhalin to Japan. We should have differentiated more clearly between the ExxonMobil pipeline proposal and the wider debate over the need for a pipeline. The Mitsubishi Research Institute estimate is the only reliable pipeline estimate publicly available.

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