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Letter: U.S. is also guilty of cyberspying

Cyber security concep with lock. credit: iStock

Cyber security concep with lock. credit: iStock Credit: iStock

Writer Eli Lake’s Opinion piece on the hacking of computers at the Democratic National Committee lists reasons to explain why the United States is treating this incident less sternly than cyberattacks by China, Iran and North Korea [“Why Russia gets away with hacking,” Aug. 3].

Unfortunately, it misses the key point: The United States views hacking of governments as different from hacking commercial entities. While the DNC is not a governmental body, it clearly is not a commercial target.

Although the U.S. government does not announce its espionage activities, it is a safe bet that the U.S. does its share of cyberspying on foreign governments. It cannot credibly label other nations that do the same as rogue states. In contrast, hacks by China (industrial trade secrets), Iran (banks) and North Korea (Sony Pictures) targeted commerce, which the United States believes should be off limits.

Thomas J. Lilly Jr., Garden City

Editor’s note: The writer is an assistant professor of politics, economics and law at SUNY Old Westbury.