Category Archives: Cyber security

The winds of net-war: China warns of US arms race in cyberspace

Staking territory in cyberspace

In recent weeks the Chinese government has delivered strong messages about internet sovereignty to both international and domestic audiences. Despite confirming its commitment to working with the rest of the international community “to create a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyber space”, Beijing has given every indication that it regards recent acts of US cyber-aggression as signaling the onset of a new internet-based cold war.

Early in June, the Chinese foreign ministry and the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific co-hosted the International Workshop on Information and Cyber Security in Beijing. In his opening address in front of international media and representatives of 20 nations and international organizations, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong launched a blistering attack on the US for turning the internet into a new great power battlespace.

Minister Li condemned the massive-scale surveillance activities by an “individual country”, which have “severely infringed on other countries’ sovereignty and their citizen’s privacy”. “Instead of reflecting on its behaviors that undermine the sovereignty of other countries and privacy of citizens”, alleged Minister Li, “it has painted itself as a victim and made groundless accusations against or defamed other countries”… read on at the DiploFoundation

 

Center to Periphery (Part II): territorial sovereignty in Chinese cyberspace

This post is Part Two of a two-part piece, the first of which was posted on 02 December on the DiploFoundation’s Internet Governance channel.

In late November, Reuters reported Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google Inc, as forecasting that the rise of social media in China will lead to liberalization. “You won’t be able to stop it”, he stated, “even if you don’t like it.” In another November report, Reuters quoted Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, as saying that Beijing will ultimately free up China’s internet for economic reasons. “The Berlin Wall tumbled down, the great firewall of China – I don’t think it will tumble down, I think it will be released.”

In the early 1980s, it was Deng Xiaoping’s policies of ‘reform and opening up’ that had prompted foreign commentators to predict that China’s days as an authoritarian state were numbered. Liberal thinkers jumped quickly to the conclusion that China’s experimentation with capitalism in designated zones on its coastal peripheries would lead inevitably to democratization.

That was 30 years ago. Since then, radical economic liberalization has been wrought across China, resulting in historically unprecedented economic and social transformation. But despite the predictions, these winds of change have carried with them not the slightest hint of political liberalization.

It would appear that Schmidt and Berners-Lee see the internet as the missing ingredient. Available evidence would suggest otherwise.

In part one of this post, I used a center-periphery approach to provide an overview of how Beijing controls and utilizes China’s geopolitical space. In this part, I consider how Beijing’s management of geopolitical space is paralleled in the virtual world and in how Beijing controls its cyber borders. Read more…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

[Shanghai – host of a new pilot free trade zone]

 

Center to Periphery: differentiating spheres of control in China’s cyberspace

Center-periphery approach to viewing Chinese space

Center-periphery approach to viewing Chinese space

International news features regular reports of tensions on China’s borders. Chinese relations along its maritime frontier, for example, are dominated by acrimony over the disputed Spratly and Diaoyutai/Senkaku Islands. Thousands of kilometers to the west, China closely guards its Central Asian borders against the infiltration of Islamist extremists.

Respect for and protection of national sovereignty has long been a cornerstone of Chinese foreign policy, and it defines how Beijing conducts itself within the international system. Increasingly we are witnessing this not only in the geopolitical space but in cyberspace as well.

Utilizing a center-periphery approach, this two-part post will provide an overview of how China’s ideas and uses of geopolitical space are paralleled in the virtual world and in how Beijing controls its cyber borders. Read more at DiploFoundation…

Cyber espionage and the case for the genetically modified state

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Marylan...

Big data… big appetite. Getting ahead by any means… the survival instinct written in the DNA of nation-states. Image: Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a recent opinion piece in The Guardian, Professor John Naughton of the Open university argues that the biggest story to come out of the Snowden NSA revelations is that the days of the internet as a truly global network are numbered.

“It was always a possibility that the system would eventually be Balkanised, i.e. divided into a number of geographical or jurisdiction-determined subnets as societies such as China, Russia, Iran and other Islamic states decided that they needed to control how their citizens communicated”, writes Naughton. “Now, Balkanisation is a certainty”.

But is Balkanisation the big deal here? Do the NSA revelations actually change anything? Read more of this piece at DiploFoundation

Also, read this recent analysis piece in the New Zealand National Business Review by Line 21 Project coordinator, Nicholas Dynon: BRAND REPUTATION: Fonterra cast as fall guy

The Snowden Affair (Part 2): State capitalism through the Chinese dreamscape

In Part 1 of this blogpost I highlighted the ironies – or as one Chinese general put it, the ‘hypocritical behavior’ – that the Chinese press has identified in relation to US cyber espionage in the wake of the Snowden revelations.[1] In particular, the revelations suggest that ‘state capitalism’, or the government use of the private sector to achieve national interests, is a model as applicable to the USA as it is to China. I would suggest, however, that in all this there exists a still deeper irony that may be seen through the prism of the ‘Chinese dream’ – the much-hyped propaganda buzz term introduced last November by Chinese president Xi Jinping… read the rest of this post at Diplo Foundation

Chinese wall

Peering through tower ruins along China’s Great Wall (Photo credit: rvw)

The Snowden Affair (Part 1): ‘Differences’ on the issue of cybersecurity reading more like similarities

On the back of the Snowden affair, international commentary is now questioning whether there is any real difference at all between Washington and Beijing in relation to individual privacy, online freedoms and intellectual property theft. With media coverage on the issue still thick and sickly sweet, the Snowden affair has been described as a propaganda coup for China and ‘the gift that keeps giving’… This post is published in full on the Diplo Foundation website