Tags: Obama | Cyberspace | Trade War | China

Obama to Launch Cyberspace Trade War

By Wednesday, 05 August 2015 07:33 AM Current | Bio | Archive

War used to be simple. When two countries had serious differences, they would stop trading and start shooting. Now it’s more complicated. Obama is about to prove it by retaliating against China for hacking U.S. government computer networks.

According to administration officials, the Chinese government stole private information on 20 million Americans from the Office of Personnel Management. China denies it, of course, but U.S. cybersecurity experts still blame Beijing.

Of course, these same experts left the OPM databases wide open for years. They also let Edward Snowden walk out with the crown jewels. They haven’t exactly proven reliable so far, but Obama apparently believes them.

Last week, the New York Times reported that the administration wants to teach China a lesson. The president has instructed his staff to come up with “creative” responses.

This should be interesting.

In case no one has noticed, China is now the world’s second largest economy by some measures. It is a key U.S. trading partner. Numerous American companies are betting on China to drive their future sales growth.

For Apple (AAPL), the largest American company by market value, China accounted for more than 25% of last quarter’s revenues. China iPhone sales are up 87% in the last year.

Chinese folks apparently love iPhones. The Chinese government is giving Apple free rein to compete against local smart phone makers. Will Beijing stay so cooperative when Apple’s own government starts zapping Chinese networks and databases?

If so, I don’t know why. When you are engaged in electronic warfare with another country, why let that country distribute potentially “weaponized” devices inside your borders?

The opposite is also true. If we think the Chinese government is actively hacking U.S. government and corporate networks, why should we keep importing Chinese technology? It makes no sense.

Governments do things that make no sense all the time, of course, but this one isn’t hard.

Either the U.S. and China trust each other’s technology not to carry Trojan horses, or they don’t. If they don’t, then it will be hard to sustain normal commercial or trading relationships.

I’ve said ever since the Snowden leaks that the global Internet will break down into a Balkanized collection of national intranets, none of which will fully trust each other. That is exactly where we are heading.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that China is working furiously to seize control of the Internet and social media. Obama’s retaliation plan will help Beijing convince its citizens they need a Great Firewall against the west.

This is not going to end well for anyone.

Cyberwar is coming. The only question is whether any of us will know when it starts.

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PatrickWatson
Cyberwar is coming. The only question is whether any of us will know when it starts.
Obama, Cyberspace, Trade War, China
445
2015-33-05
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 07:33 AM
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