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China increases cyberwar tactics

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is exploiting the cost-effectiveness of cyber warfare (Image by Dan Jensen)

As tensions continue to rise, China is using cybertechnology to enhance bullying tactics against Western democracies. Paul Budde reports.

A FEW MONTHS AGO, I mentioned that China’s social code will also be expanded to companies who want to deal with China.

I have come across information that shows that China is indeed serious about this.

China’s cyberspace regulator has proposed requiring companies pursuing share listings in Hong Kong to apply for cybersecurity inspections if they handle data that concerns national security.

Large internet platforms planning to set up headquarters, operating or research centres abroad will have to submit a report to regulators.

The Cyberspace Administration of China has called for public comment on internet platforms formulating privacy policies or amending rules that could significantly affect user rights and interests.

Companies with more than 100 million daily active users would need to have changes reviewed by regulators and obtain government approval.

While totalitarian regimes such as the one in China can rather swiftly implement such measures, the democratic countries are at a disadvantage here and China is more than happy to use that weakness in the West.

Here, companies are more and more dependent on revenues they get from their business dealings with China and are therefore more likely to give in to China’s bullying and will adhere to increasingly more intrusive measures. This is only weakening the position of the democratic countries more and at the same time strengthening the economic position of China.

Cyberwar is far cheaper than any other military conflict, so it is highly unlikely that there will be a nuclear war. Instead, wars have already started in cyberspace.

Via my American contacts, I also came across the following worrying bit of information.

We had a discussion on a report discussing the looming global “phase transition” in how humans employ technologies and data to work, govern, and co-exist.

During that discussion, the following comment was made: “Threats have been made to companies in Asia that if they employ Australians, they are no longer allowed to export to China.” I was rather alarmed as I had not heard such an acquisition yet.

I followed it up and received the following details:

“At the moment it's only been non-attribution info from two different American investment managers that manage mergers and acquisitions and other transactions with China. It could be they're only seeing it for prospective mergers and acquisitions clients?”

During that discussion, the comment was made from the American side that there most certainly is a cyberwar raging between Australia and China.

Let’s hope that the renewed diplomatic relations between China and the USA will temper the geopolitical heat between China and the West.

Paul Budde is an Independent Australia columnist and managing director of Paul Budde Consulting, an independent telecommunications research and consultancy organisation. You can follow Paul on Twitter @PaulBudde.

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