Wednesday, October 12, 2022

UK Cyber Security Director Warns that China Seeks to Rewrite the Rules of International Security

 In an important speech in London on 11 October 2022 before the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Sir Jeremy Fleming, Director of Government Communications Headquarters (the UK's intelligence, cyber, and security agency) warned that China is working hard to exploit information covertly in countries big and small.   

China is deliberately and patiently trying to gain strategic advantage by shaping the world's technology ecosystems.  Technology has become not just an area for opportunity, for competition and for collaboration, it's become a battleground for control, values and influence.  

Fleming argued that "we must conclude that Beijing is using all of the levers to challenge the international post-war consensus on economics and technology.  And that it intends to rewrite the rules of international security, both close to home and further afield, in ways frankly that none of us have ever faced before."  The Communist Party of China is using "its resources to implement draconian national security laws, a surveillance culture, and an increasingly aggressive military."  Fleming added that "in a future crisis, Beijing could exploit information covertly.  One only needs to look at how China has already sought to do just this, leveraging its influence over many smaller nations in votes over technology, ethics and foreign policy."

Fleming concluded that "this isn't a call to exclude or marginalize China -- even if we could.  It's a call for a China to recognize that it's to its advantage to play responsibly inside the global system.  If it does so it can help to co-create the rules of tomorrow.  But if it chooses not to. To play a disruptive role in international security, technology and markets, then that will come at a cost too."