I've become well aware of the growing tensions between China and the US over accusations of cyberbullying. My students have also been bringing the topic up in my Cultural Diversity classes here in Suzhou, China. I told them the finger pointing between the two superpowers has been going on for quite some time.
The US and China are accusing one another of various instances of cyber-attacks.
The Chinese Government has just recently implemented highly intrusive cybersecurity regulations on US companies that are doing business in China. The Chinese Government stated the new rules are designed to strengthen their National Security.
The new regulations are basically forcing technology sellers to create backdoors for the Chinese government. The new rules forces foreign companies to adopt Chinese encryption algorithms and disclose sensitive intellectual property. The US chamber of commerce and other groups are calling these new cybersecurity regulations highly intrusive.
The new rules now being implemented would also force foreign companies to reveal their source codes. These source codes are usually tightly guarded series of commands that create computer programs. The source codes used for most computing and networking equipment will have to be turned over to China’s government officials.
The new regulations come at a time of heightened tension between the USA and China over cybersecurity. In May of last year, Beijing denounced US charges against Chinese army officers accused of economic cyber-espionage.
It has also been alleged that the US National Security Agency has been spying on the Chinese firm Huawei which has Chinese military contracts.
Members of the US Senate have accused China of hacking into the Senate’s computer data bases. China has also been accused of hacking into the computers of airlines and military contractors.
Microsoft, Cisco, and other American high-tech firms are being faced with increased pressure from China to abide by the new rules before their new products can be sold or purchased in China.
The Chinese Government considers its reliance on foreign high-technology as its greatest National Security weakness. Particularly, after former National Security Contractor, Edward Snowden, revealed that the US spy agencies planted codes in American-made software to snoop on overseas targets.
Such stringent regulations on China’s part will hurt China in the long run because many companies doing business in China will not be willing to reveal the source codes for their Intellectual property, especially, to the Chinese government.
The Chinese Government seems to be implementing these new cybersecurity regulations out of shear fear and paranoia. Such fear, real or imagined, is being placed before their country’s economic self-interests.
These new rules are also coming at a time when the US economy is picking up and the Chinese economy is slowing down. Both countries, China and the US, will be negatively affected economically by these new stringent rules.
China’s reliance on high tech foreign technology may appear to be a weakness on their part but in terms of a strong global economy it’s a strength.
What the overall impact these new rules will have on China and on its overall economy? that is a hard question to answer but time will tell …….
Always with love from Suzhou, China Thomas F O’Neill
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Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link: http://thomasfoneill.blogspot.com
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