Is China’s Invasive New Cybersecurity Law Another Backdoor to American Intellectual Property?

October 29, 2019 Updated: October 29, 2019

Commentary

It’s the worst-kept secret in international business. China is robbing America blind.

As the Trump administration attempts to navigate the choppy waters of negotiating with a trade partner that is less than transparent, the possible ramifications of China’s new cybersecurity law are more than enough to keep international businesses that operate in the so-called “People’s Republic” in a state of perpetual high anxiety.

China’s new cybersecurity laws under its Multi-Level Protection Scheme 2.0 (MLPS) will require that all internet service providers and mobile data providers require facial scans to sign up customers for new services. The laws will go into full effect on Dec. 1, 2019. This means that every new cell phone number assigned in China will be associated with a facial scan.

That’s in addition to the Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s mandate that all data on Chinese networks and systems be available for the Chinese regime to audit at will. Although the Chinese regime claims that the new law is not meant to suppress citizens or to be invasive, many are skeptical as to the true nature of the state’s intent with it.

Guo Qiquan, a Chinese politician who had a part in devising the new law, said, “It will cover every district, every ministry, every business and other institution, basically covering the whole society. It will also cover all targets that need cybersecurity protection, including all networks, information systems, cloud platforms, the internet of things, control systems, big data and mobile internet,” according to the South China Morning Post.

That, in essence, subjects all entities operating in China, whether public or private, to an intrusion that encompasses the totality of all data, including proprietary business secrets, that can be used in a multitude of ways by belligerents within the Chinese regime.

This should be of particular concern to customers of international businesses with operations based in China, as the new laws give the regime carte blanche over sensitive information related to foreigners and businesses with ties to China, which may not even have operations located within the country.

This is just the latest attempt by the Chinese regime to further the scope of its espionage programs. Over the past few years, these operations have included the distribution of electronic hardware that had been manufactured with a preinstalled spy chip. An investigation found that these “spy chips” had been installed into devices that were purchased by nearly 30 companies, including government contractors, Amazon, Apple, and even financial institutions.

The Chinese regime also engaged in military espionage, as Chinese state-backed hackers penetrated a U.S. Navy contractor and stole 614 gigabytes of data containing classified information related to the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

One of the most dangerous byproducts of Chinese state-sponsored hacking is the rise of “hacking for profit” campaigns executed by unchecked criminal networks that have been trained by the Chinese regime.

These groups are noted for their so-called software supply-chain hacks. These attacks occur when the network of a software developer is hacked, and malware code is planted onto apps and software that is potentially used on millions of devices. Hacking groups such as China’s ShadowHammer have been executing these attacks for some time now.

Perhaps the simplest answer to this new expansion of governmental strong-arming for non-Chinese individuals and entities is to wholly cut ties with China. Don’t buy Chinese, don’t do business with Chinese companies or businesses with ties to the “Sleeping Dragon,” and you have a better chance of not having your information fall into unscrupulous hands.

The only other alternative, one that would be an impossibility for most individuals and businesses, would be to cut technology out of their lives. For most people in 2019, that’s not going to happen.

Julio Rivera is the editorial director for Reactionary Times. A conservative columnist and commentator, he works as a business strategist.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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