Esteemed Keloland Blogger Todd Epp directs our attention to The Only Redhead In Taiwan, who cannot understand why it's wrong for China to spy on visitors and athletes at the Olympics but not wrong for the U.S. to monitor (you can well call it spying) international communications for signs of terrorist activities. He accuses Senator Brownback of being a hypocrite for complaining about the first while voting for the second.
I will go slowly. The Chinese clearly want to put listening devices into what are, in effect, people's bedrooms (hotel room computers). The U.S. programs that Redhead seems to have in mind monitor the stream of international communications which, any reasonably well informed person knows, is already mined by every intelligence service on the planet. The principle here is the expectation of privacy.
One might also consider what kind of information China and the U.S. are looking for. The Chinese are especially concerned to monitor any contacts between foreigners and their own human rights activists. They want to make sure that they can identify all the agitators for democracy, or more autonomy for Tibet, so they can throw those rascals in the slammer for ten years or so, and shoot 'em up psychotropic drugs. The U.S. has a rather different motive for spying on international cell phone calls and such. We want to prevent terrorists from turning living human beings into pink mist. I humbly suggest that the two motives are not morally equivalent.
Of course it may be that the U.S. Government abuses its police powers by spying on domestic peace groups and other legitimate political organizations. The Constitution was designed precisely with such abuses in mind, which is why we have independent courts to sort these things out. That leads me to a third difference between U.S. and Chinese spying. China is a totalitarian regime. No political power is allowed for any person or institution outside the ruling body. The United States is a liberal democracy, with Courts and adversarial political parties, and Dennis Kucinich. If you care about things like privacy rights, you probably have to say that spying in defense of the latter is morally superior to spying in defense of the former.
So I don't think that Senator Brownback is a hypocrite for wanting the Chinese government to respect the promises it made when it accepted the honor of hosting the Olympics. I dare say the U.S. has made no such promises to Al Qaeda.