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China could rule world's technology, UK cyber spy chief says

TechnologyApr 23, 2021 10:35AM ET
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© Reuters. Britain's Queen Elizabeth visits Watergate House to mark the centenary of the GCHQ in London

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) -The West must urgently act to ensure China does not dominate important emerging technologies and gain control of the "global operating system", Britain's top cyber spy said on Friday.

In an unusually blunt speech, Jeremy Fleming, director of the GCHQ spy agency, said the West faced a battle for control of technologies such as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and genetics.

"Significant technology leadership is moving East," Fleming said at Imperial College London. "The concern is that China’s size and technological weight means that it has the potential to control the global operating system."

"We are now facing a moment of reckoning," he said.

World powers will compete to shape the future by developing the best technology, hiring the people with the best brains and dominating the global standards that will govern the technologies, Fleming said.

GCHQ, which gathers communications from around the world to identify and disrupt threats to Britain, has a close relationship with the U.S. National Security Agency and with the eavesdropping agencies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand in a consortium called "Five Eyes".

Fleming said that if Britain wished to remain a global cyber power then it would have to develop "sovereign" quantum technologies, including cryptographic technologies, to protect sensitive information and capabilities.

Fleming said quantum computing, which uses the phenomena of quantum mechanics to deliver a leap forward in computation, was getting closer and posed huge opportunities but also risks.

The West should forge ahead with developing quantum-proof algorithms, he said, "so we're also prepared for those adversaries who might use a quantum computer to look back at things that we currently think are secure".

He called for better fostering of market conditions to enable innovation, and create a diversity of supply in a broader set of technologies.

Fleming said China was "bringing all elements of state power to control, influence design and dominate markets" while trying to dominate debates about global standards.

He said digital currencies held significant promise to revolutionise the finance sector but posed a potential threat to liberties if abused by illiberal states as they could enable "significant intrusions into the lives of citizens and companies".

Russia remains the biggest immediate threat to the West but Communist China's long-term dominance of technology poses a much bigger problem, he said.

"Russia is affecting the weather, whilst China is shaping the climate," he said.

China could rule world's technology, UK cyber spy chief says
 

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Comments (9)
President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping Apr 24, 2021 3:38PM ET
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Sure communist china is big in population compared to other countries, however they are very alone. They have no real allies and even with all their allies it doesnt compare to the rest of the world. They are tiny in comprison. Throughout all of history, this is the fact that always hurts china the most. They get too much pride.
President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping Apr 24, 2021 3:16PM ET
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Own the future of digital currencies? Lmao. One of the only cryptos owned by chinese citizen is lnt even worth a penny (btt) lmao.
SL Soon
SL Soon Apr 23, 2021 11:08PM ET
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IT talent get much better pay in China compared with the West nowadays.
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Apr 23, 2021 12:39PM ET
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...out of a smog bank ??
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 23, 2021 11:39AM ET
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Onerous IP laws have stiffled the tech dominance of the west. The abscence of IP laws is how China tech flourished. The benefits of IP and copyright protections to society are drastically overstated. In addition they help enable the creation of tech giants with undo influence.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 23, 2021 11:39AM ET
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When countries first began adopting copyright laws many saw a decrease in publications. Creativity did bot fluorish.
Chris Fran
Chris Fran Apr 23, 2021 11:39AM ET
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most tech is open source. and it ain't that difficult to reverse engineer a software if you have the resource
Mase Gumbo
Mase Gumbo Apr 23, 2021 11:18AM ET
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lets not forget what happend to japan when it was also close to taking lead in tech...im not 100% sure its not just "Rome" trying to hold onto its dominance and its all about china being undemocratic
David David
David9 Apr 23, 2021 11:16AM ET
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So they have admitted, China is leading in technologies, not stealing and theft they have been trying to say about China.... I wonder what more false claims will be coming to smear China's advance?
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 23, 2021 11:16AM ET
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China may not have stolen the technology, but they did get it from the west. Over the last few decades western companies transferred tech to China naively “hoping” it would result in access to China’s markets. They took a gamble and lost.
David David
David9 Apr 23, 2021 11:16AM ET
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Well, those companies made a load of money year in and year out and continue to make huge sums. Why is it that they continue to do business in China if it is so bad? But China now has caught up and the new technologies, they are leading. From AI, AG, EV, Biotechnology, you name it... then the West start playing the false claims... that is something no one supports... if you want to compete, compete... don't play the smearing game...
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Apr 23, 2021 11:05AM ET
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"He called for better fostering of market conditions to enable innovation..." Soooo...the best way to foster market conditions issss...by Raising Taxes on risk takers? (Are you listening, Mr. President?)
Joel Hauser
Joel Hauser Apr 23, 2021 10:07AM ET
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Seems like this glowing sadistic man is crying that his decades of monopoly of spying on his own countrymen by installing rootkits or through cctv cameras is in danger.
Gene Kret
Gene Kret Apr 23, 2021 10:07AM ET
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Hey Joel, why dont you move to China for a little while and then formulate an intell report. My quess is you have never been there, but your willing to cast your perceptions🤔
Gene Kret
Gene Kret Apr 23, 2021 10:07AM ET
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Buy TSLA
 
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