The US government has admitted that its offensive against Chinese hackers has been completely blunted by the Edward Snowden revelations.
For a while now everyone cheerfully believed that the US was the victim of Chinese hackers who were stealing technology. But Snowden revealed that the US was doing the same sort of thing and could hardly claim the moral high-ground. US diplomats are apparently uneasy about tackling the Chinese about their hacking antics in case they are laughed at.
It was all going so well for the US too. Cyber security was at the centre of high-level talks between the two countries in Washington. Now it seems that the US is stuck trying to convince the Chinese that hacking is wrong unless they are using it for traditional spying activities and not just nicking US inovations.
Anyone who has played Civ5 will tell you that nicking innovation is what you do if you are spying, well that and plotting co-ops in city states. So the US is on a back foot. James McGregor, author of a book on China's authoritarian capitalism and industrial policy said that this Snowden thing has muddied the waters in a terrible way. "China would rather have the waters muddy, because they can say 'You do it. We do it. What's the big deal?' and the cyber theft from companies will go on and on," he said.