On September 25, the United States and China agreed to contain their industrial or economic cyber espionage activities against each other. This is the first instance of two major cyber powers reaching common ground on norms of state behavior in cyberspace.
The agreement, reminiscent of the United States-Soviet Union arms control accords of the Cold War era, is important because industrial or economic cyber espionage has been a thorny issue in the U.S.-China relationship since the early 2000s.
Although traditional espionage—the collection of state secrets—is an accepted part of statecraft worldwide, the U.S. government has repeatedly tried to distinguish between such spying and economic cyber espionage. And it has repeatedly accused China of engaging in economic espionage through cyber attacks against American companies to steal intellectual property and commercially valuable data such as corporate strategies, product designs, business negotiations, and dual-use technology-related data.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
The U.S. has often cited China’s alleged theft in the mid-2000s of data related to F-35, the stealth fighter aircraft, as a prime example of China’s economic and military cyber espionage. According to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), China repeatedly breached the computer networks of American government and private defense companies to steal data about design and radar modules for the F-35, and incorporated it into its own stealth fighter aircraft, the J20.
Attacks like these have cost the U.S. Department of Defense $100 million, mainly in costs for rebuilding networks. The repeated attacks have also potentially increased the cost of the $98 million-plus F-35—an escalation that affects the export potential of the fighter aircraft, since it is being jointly developed with the U.K., Israel, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
The U.S. claims that this alleged data theft has adversely impacted America’s economic fortunes. These accusations are a step above the U.S.’s assertions in 2013, when for the first time the U.S. Department of Defense officially stated that the Chinese government was launching cyber attacks against the U.S.
Before the two countries reached the September agreement, the Obama administration was reportedly considering sanctions against the companies and individuals in China who may have benefitted from stealing U.S. economic and commercial data. The trigger for that possible step was a major data breach in the U.S. Government’s Office of Personnel Management in June 2015, when the records of approximately 21.5 million current and former government employees were stolen. The breach was unofficially attributed to China.
On its part, China has consistently rejected the American allegations. Besides, unlike the U.S., it does not separate traditional espionage and economic cyber espionage. In fact, China has argued that in the world of intelligence gathering, such a distinction is irrelevant. To support that argument, China has cited former NSA employee Edward Snowden’s revelations about how the NSA spied on foreign companies such as Petrobras, Siemens, and Huawei to get data that benefitted American economic interests. (责任编辑：彩票代购网站源码) 本文地址：http://www.troxtabo.com/rihanpinpai/sumi/201909/3605.html