Technology and Trade Wars in the World

Başlatan Karabasan, Şub 09, 2020, 10:56 ÖS

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Karabasan

China urges France not to discriminate against Huawei on 5G networks


The Chinese embassy in Paris on Sunday urged the French government not to discriminate against Huawei as it selects suppliers for its 5G mobile network, saying it feared the company would face more constraints than rivals.

China's Huawei, a global giant in telecoms network equipment, is the centre of an international political storm as the United States seeks to convince countries to ban the company from their mobile networks.

Washington says its technology could allow "back doors" for Chinese spying - an allegation denied by Huawei and Beijing.

France is in the early stages of rolling out its next-generation wireless technology, and the government's stance over Huawei's possible role still lacks clarity, according to some telecoms industry trade bodies. Some French media outlets have reported in recent months that the company could face restrictions in several cities.

The Chinese embassy said in a statement on its website that it was "shocked and worried" by such reports, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron and other officials had given repeated assurances that all companies would be treated fairly.

"If, due to security concerns, the French government truly does have to impose constraints on operators, it should establish transparent criteria around this and treat all companies equally," said the embassy. It added that security fears about Huawei were unfounded.

Huawei did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and the French economy ministry declined to comment.

The embassy also said that China had used foreign companies such as Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson to equip its own domestic networks.

"We do not wish to see the development of European companies in China affected due to discrimination against Huawei and protectionism in France and other European countries," it said.

France's cybersecurity agency ANSSI, which is scrutinizing equipment from various suppliers, is due to issue its preliminary findings later this month.

Some telecoms operators have already picked 5G equipment makers, with France's Orange opting for Nokia and Ericsson.

Britain has granted Huawei a limited role in its 5G roll-out, while the European Union has resisted pressure from Washington for an outright ban in its guidance to member states.

The United States suggested in recent days it could consider taking a stake in Nokia and Ericsson to counter Huawei's dominance in 5G technology.
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U.S. charges four members of Chinese military in connection with 2017 Equifax hack


The Justice Department has charged four members of the Chinese military with the 2017 hack at the credit reporting agency Equifax, a massive data breach that compromised the personal information of nearly half of all Americans.

In a nine-count indictment filed in federal court in Atlanta, federal prosecutors alleged that four members of the People's Liberation Army hacked into Equifax's systems, stealing the personal data as well as company trade secrets. Attorney General William P. Barr called their efforts "a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people."

The 2017 breach gave hackers access to the personal information, including Social Security numbers and birth dates, of about 145 million people. Equifax last year agreed to a $700 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission to compensate victims. Those affected can ask for free credit monitoring or, if they already have such a service, a cash payout of up to $125, though the FTC has warned a large volume of requesters could reduce that amount.

At a news conference announcing the indictment, Barr said that China had a "voracious appetite" for Americans' personal information and pointed to other intrusions he alleged that government's actors had carried out in recent years, including the 2015 hack at the health insurer Anthem, the 2015 hack at the Office of Personnel Management and the 2018 hack at the hotel chain Marriott.

"This data has economic value, and these thefts can feed China's development of artificial intelligence tools," Barr said. The attorney general said the indictment would hold the Chinese military "accountable for their criminal actions."

Barr and other U.S. law enforcement officials have in recent weeks taken a particularly aggressive posture toward China. Late last week, Barr warned of that country's bid to dominate the burgeoning 5G wireless market and said the U.S. and its allies must "act collectively" or risk putting "their economic fate in China's hands."

Those charged with the Equifax hack are Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke and Liu Lei. Officials said they were members of the PLA's 54th Research Institute.

According to the indictment, in March 2017, a software firm announced a vulnerability in one of its products, but Equifax did not patch the vulnerability on their online dispute portal, which used that particular software. In the months that followed, the Chinese military hackers exploited that unrepaired software flaw to steal vast quantities of Equifax's files, the indictment charges.

Officials said the hackers also took steps to cover their tracks, routing traffic through 34 servers in 20 countries to hide their location, using encrypted communication channels and wiping logs that might have given away what they were doing.

"American business cannot be complacent about protecting their data," said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich.

Barr said that while the Justice Department did not normally charge other countries' military or intelligence officers outside of the United States, there were exceptions, and the indiscriminate theft of civilians' personal information "cannot be countenanced."

In the U.S., he said, "we collect information only for legitimate, national security purposes."

None of the four is in custody, and officials acknowledged there is little prospect of them coming to the United States. for trial. But the indictment does serve as a sort-of public shaming, and officials said that if those charged attempt to travel someday, the U.S. could potentially arrest them.

"We can't take them into custody, try them in a court of law, and lock them up -- not today, anyway," Bowdich said. "But one day, these criminals will slip up, and when they do, we'll be there."

U.S. officials said the stolen data could be used to help Chinese intelligence agents target American intelligence officials, but added they had seen no evidence yet of such activity.

The case marks the second time the U.S. Justice Department has unsealed a criminal indictment against PLA hackers for targeting U.S. commercial interests. In 2014, the Obama administration announced an indictment against five suspected PLA hackers for allegedly breaking into the computer systems of a host of American manufacturers.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/justice-dept-charges-four-members-of-chinese-military-in-connection-with-2017-hack-at-equifax/2020/02/10/07a1f7be-4c13-11ea-bf44-f5043eb3918a_story.html
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U.S., allied firms testing alternatives to Chinese 5G technology - Esper


U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Saturday that Washington was working with technology companies in the United States and allied nations to develop alternatives to Chinese 5G vendors and was already testing them at U.S. military bases.

"We are encouraging allied and U.S. tech companies to develop alternative 5G solutions and we are working alongside them to test these technologies at our military bases as we speak," Esper said at the Munich Security Conference.

"Developing our own secure 5G networks will outweigh any perceived gains from partnering with heavily subsidised Chinese providers that answer to party leadership."
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Spy chief nominee John Ratcliffe says China is 'greatest threat' facing US


President Trump's nominee to be the nation's spy chief said "the greatest threat actor" facing the United States is China and argued during a Senate confirmation hearing on Monday that the intelligence community needs to do more to combat the growing challenge.

Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas, who would take over for acting Director of National Intelligence and Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell if confirmed, repeatedly stressed the dangers posed by the Chinese Communist Party, pointing out deceptions surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and China's broader efforts to replace the U.S. as a global leader.

"I believe the immediate focus of the IC must be directed to the geopolitical and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as its origins. The American people deserve answers, and, if confirmed, I pledge that the IC will remain laser-focused on providing them," Ratcliffe said, adding, "I've had that conversation with a lot of people about what I view as the greatest threat and the greatest threat actor -- and I view China as the greatest threat actor right now."

If he is approved by the Senate, Ratcliffe, renominated by Trump after dropping from consideration last year, would oversee the nation's 17 spy agencies, including the CIA, FBI, and the National Security Agency. In a near-empty and socially distanced Senate room, the congressman made clear that China was on his mind for a number of reasons, not least of which is the coronavirus pandemic that originated in Wuhan.

"I mean, look at where we are with respect to COVID-19 and the role that China plays. The race to 5G. Cybersecurity issues. All roads lead to China there," Ratcliffe said. "And so one of the highest priorities I will have if confirmed as DNI is to make sure … as we look at the national intelligence framework and whether we're committing enough resources to the rising power that is China."

The U.S. intelligence community reportedly believes the Chinese Communist Party has been consistently misleading about the coronavirus. A senior intelligence official told the Washington Examiner that a majority of the intelligence community's 17 spy agencies believe COVID-19 originated through an accidental escape from the lab.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department's China Initiative aims to combat both Chinese malign influence (ranging from cyberespionage to technology theft) and its Thousand Talents Program, which is aimed at stealing research. The DOJ and Education Department are investigating Chinese funding of U.S. universities and scrutinizing Confucius Institutes on campuses.

Ratcliffe told Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri that the Chinese Communist Party's goal was "to supplant us as the world's superpower and to be able to set standards around the world."

The congressman discussed the growing importance of fifth-generation wireless networks, telling Republican Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina that "it ties into what you said, the issue of 5G and where that race stands right now, where rising powers like China with regard to the development of 5G global networks." He said that "our ability to ensure that interconnected global networks are safe will demand … that we work harder to work with the private sector and take advantage of the technology expertise there to make sure that we're first there in all of these places."

Ratcliffe also talked about policy challenges, saying, "China is the rising threat, and we need to look at the national intelligence policy framework and our budgeting and our resource allocation to make sure that we're dedicating toward all of these different initiatives where an authoritarian regime wants to set the marketplace rules."

The congressman pointed to the Chinese government's Made In China 2025 initiative "where they want Chinese companies dominating industry against 10 different sectors." He discussed the "military-civil fusion" in China and referenced China's National Security Law, which he said stemmed from the Chinese government's desire to force Chinese companies into "gathering and collecting intelligence and sharing it with the Chinese Communist Party." He additionally touched on China's global Belt and Road effort, where "they want to dominate all of the hubs for trade routes and telecommunication."

"All of these things are China trying to essentially supplement free marketplace standards and values like liberty and free speech and all of the things we have with authoritarian values that are reflected in some of the things that are happening in this COVID-19 pandemic," Ratcliffe said.

Ratcliffe highlighted some of the technological fields where he feared the U.S. might fall behind China.

"I'll start with 5G because 5G leads to AI, and AI leads to quantum. … And to your point about where the Chinese Communist Party stops and starts -- it's hard to tell with a company like Huawei," Ratcliffe said. "And if Huawei has an obligation to share information under law with the Chinese Communist Party, and they are creating global networks, and our information is going over those lines, and our allies that we are sharing information with, it's jeopardizing our information, it's jeopardizing our troops, all of these things are basically put at risk."

The Justice Department charged Chinese telecom giant Huawei in a global racketeering scheme this year, and the U.S. has urged its Five Eyes partners not to use Huawei in their communications systems.

Ratcliffe argued that "one of the things I'm most concerned about is investment toward quantum computing." This emerging field could increase data analysis speeds by orders of magnitude. He praised the NSA as having "the best code markers and breakers in the world" and called NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone a "national treasure" while warning that "if China gets to quantum first, we're in trouble."

"And so that, for me, when we look at investments and looking forward and the challenges that we face and the fact that China is investing more in those technologies than the United States presently, we need to rebalance," Ratcliffe testified.
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