Hong Kong to Follow Up on Snowden’s Claims of U.S. Hacking

Hong Kong to Follow Up on Hacking Report, Security Official Says
Protesters hold placards outside government headquarters during a rally in support of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, in Hong Kong on June 15, 2013. Photographer: Luke Casey/Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s government is investigating claims by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the U.S. had attacked computers in the city.

Police haven’t received complaints regarding the alleged hacking, Lai Tung-kwok, Hong Kong’s security secretary told the Legislative Council today.

Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong after leaking classified documents about U.S. government surveillance programs, told the South China Morning Post last week that the U.S. had been hacking computers in Hong Kong and mainland China since 2009. China has called on the U.S. to explain the reports.

“The government is very concerned about the widely reported hacking of local computer systems, and will continue to ascertain the facts regarding cybersecurity in Hong Kong, and actively follow up on the violation of rights of Hong Kong organizations or individuals,” Lai said.

So far, the Hong Kong Internet Exchange hasn’t detected any unusual traffic or signs of being attacked, he said.

Snowden’s disclosures to the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post have triggered a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, though there’s been no extradition request to Hong Kong so far. Iceland has received an informal request made on behalf of Snowden seeking asylum, Reuters said, citing an unidentified government spokesman.

In an editorial published on June 17, China’s government-controlled Global Times newspaper said extraditing Snowden would be an “unwise decision” because the response would bring trouble to Hong Kong and the mainland. China took back sovereignty of Hong Kong from the U.K. in 1997.

Iceland’s ambassador to China Kristin Arnadottir said today she hasn’t been informed about any new developments on Snowden.

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