Information and Threats from China: December 1-2, 2019


From a letter by Senator Rob Portman and 21 of his colleagues: Portman, Coons, Braun, Bennet Lead Bipartisan Letter to USTR Regarding China’s Corporate Social Credit System

“U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Coons(D-DE), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) joined 21 of their colleagues in sending United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Lighthizer a letter outlining their concerns with the Chinese government’s efforts to develop and deploy its Corporate Social Credit System (Corporate SCS).”

“The Corporate SCS represents China formalizing a system to punish American companies and workers for speaking out against the Chinese government. The letter asks Ambassador Lighthizer to prioritize research and analysis into the Corporate SCS and the implications such a system may pose for American workers, companies, and investors.”

Click on the image below to read the letter in full.

From CNBC: China may ban US officials from region with Muslim detainment camps

“China might ban all U.S. diplomatic passport-holders from entering the country’s western Xinjiang autonomous region, Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin said on Tuesday. Hu said in a tweet that China is also considering visa restrictions against U.S. officials and lawmakers with ‘odious performance’ on the Xinjiang issue, in retaliation to legislation being prepared by the U.S. Congress…”

From The Floridian: Scott says UN has “no respect for human rights”

“‘The UN is highlighting its complete disregard for privacy and national security by allowing Communist China to control facial recognition standards.’ As Florida leadership has made clear, China poses a threat. Senator Rick Scott elaborated by explaining that ‘Communist China, which is now partnering with Russia in its quest for global dominance, is stealing our personal information and intellectual property to use against us. The UN’s willingness to hand over control of setting privacy standards to Communist China is yet another example of why the United States needs to reconsider our financial support.’

“The Chinese tech groups that are involved include ZTE, Dahua and China Telecom.”

From National Post: Kelly McParland: How can Canada still even consider dealing with China and Huawei?

“The Trudeau government was careful to delay a decision on Huawei and 5G until safely through the recent election, worried about giving Beijing yet another excuse to display its brutality. But official dawdling has done nothing to alter the stark evidence that Huawei should be kept as far as possible from anything to do with Canadian networks. When the time comes, when Kovrig and Spavor are safe, only one decision is possible. Commercial agreements with thugs and extortionists is not in the national interest, at any price.”

From Japan Today: Australia launches anti-espionage task force amid China spy concerns

“Australia on Monday launched a high-level intelligence task force to combat what officials say is rampant foreign interference in the country and after claims of bold Chinese spying operations Down Under. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new force would involve all the country’s top intelligence agencies ‘to disrupt and deter anyone attempting to undermine our national interests’.”

“One novelty of the force would see intelligence agencies, normally tasked with overseas threats, coordinate with federal police to identify and prosecute or expel foreign agents.”

From ExtremeTech: Leaked: How Chinese Use AI, Apps for Mass Incarceration, Internment

“As part of its surveillance operation in Xinjiang, the Chinese government has weaponized an app called Zapya (referred to in Chinese documents as ‘Kuai Ya’). The ICJI writes that the app allows smartphone users to send videos, photos, and other files without being connected to the web. Chinese officials have targeted Uighur Muslims who use the app to share quotes from the Quran.”

“The document discusses how the app is installed on 1,869,310 devices before breaking down into subsets of individuals of particular interest to the Chinese government. The spying via Zapya is part of a larger program of mass surveillance and ‘predicted policing’ known as the Integrated Joint Operations Platform, or IJOP. IJOP is used to compile a huge amount of information on individuals”

From Reuters: TikTok accused in California lawsuit of sending user data to China

“The documents identify the plaintiff as Misty Hong, a college student and resident of Palo Alto, California, who downloaded the TikTok app in March or April 2019 but never created an account. Months later, she alleges, she discovered that TikTok had created an account for her without her knowledge and produced a dossier of private information about her, including biometric information gleaned from videos she created but never posted.”

“According to the filing, TikTok transferred user data to two servers in China – and – as recently as April 2019, including information about the user’s device and any websites the user had visited. Bugly is owned by Tencent, China’s largest mobile software company, which also owns social network WeChat, while Umeng is part of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.”

From IPVM: China Uyghur Analytic Projects Require Intel And NVIDIA, Intel Condemns, NVIDIA Silent

“At least 8 PRC China police projects require NVIDIA and Intel chips to power their Uyghur-detecting analytics, according to procurement documents found by IPVM. Intel promptly condemned the usage while NVIDIA remains silent to IPVM inquiries. Intel told IPVM it had no idea about this and condemned human rights abusing applications of their products, adding that it did not always have control over where its chips end up.”

“NVIDIA, which has heavily promoted Tesla GPUs for PRC smart cities in the past, did not respond to repeated requests for comment from IPVM.”

From Politico: Europe must put security first with 5G

Writing in Politico, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notes, “EU communications ministers will gather in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss how to safeguard emerging fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks. Their decisions could have lasting impacts on European countries’ ability to protect their people’s privacy, and ultimately, safeguard their freedoms.”

“With 5G capabilities, the CCP could use Huawei or ZTE’s access to steal private or proprietary information, or use ‘kill switches’ to disrupt critical future applications like electrical grids and telesurgery centers. And one only needs to look at the CCP’s extensive human rights abuses in Xinjiang — so clearly laid out in recently leaked documents — to see how it is using technology for mass repression.”

From The Strategist: How China’s 5G ascent could herald the end of US big tech

“If, as some experts predict, Huawei and ZTE win the race to build and operate much of the world’s 5G infrastructure, US tech firms will be dependent on them to transmit their services and products. American big tech will live in a Chinese walled garden of technology and be subject to the curators’ choices about what it can and can’t do, at least in major markets like Southeast Asia, Africa and chunks of Europe.”

“On the flip side, China’s non-5G tech giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (BAT) will ride on the digital infrastructure of Huawei and ZTE. Given the Chinese Communist Party’s digital authoritarian model of fused state–corporate cooperation, this puts BAT in an advantageous position—not just in the China home market, but wherever the Chinese 5G champions provide the digital infrastructure.”

“The worst-case scenario for big US tech is that Apple, Facebook and Google in effect become apps inside a Chinese global information ecosystem. Chinese state policies and BAT, Huawei and ZTE would decide which of their products and services can be hosted on Chinese digital infrastructure and services. That looks like a very bad business plan, unless entering bankruptcy or becoming CCP-compliant in your global operations is the end goal.”

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