Last evening I attended a really unique meeting of a rather eclectic group. The topic was published: how do we use cyber to negate the Great Firewall of China?
Dealing strictly with the last four words of the previous sentence: “stealing US IP”, we need to examine if it is true. The clear answer is yes, the Chinese have been stealing IP from US companies and corporations for years. Will it stand up in a court of law? No. It is extremely difficult to prove, in a court of law, that any company, person or other entity, has personally stolen (meaning copied, using the internet) anything of any value from any US company. It is so difficult, as a matter of fact, that most consider it impossible. But there are mountains of what is considered circumstantial evidence showing that US IP is copied and deposited on servers near Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an. From there, the trail goes cold.
The first option offered in the meeting last evening was the possibility of action being waged against the Chinese Firewall, it would absolute enrage Chinese Officials. I sat there, stunned. I was hearing real seniors from within the US National Security apparatus, stating they wanted to conduct what would be widely considered a cyber war. Going onto Chinese servers and removing or altering key parts of the Chinese firewall, allowing Chinese citizens to freely access any website in the world would be .
Parts of me said “Yes! Let’s do this!” The single most fearful event to the senior Chinese leadership would be unfettered, unblocked, unfiltered, raw information flowing into China. No more coverups, no more egregious assaults on Chinese citizens, no more Falun Gong suppression, no more abuse of the Dalai Lama. Just plain talk by Chinese citizens with Chinese citizens, no fear of arrest, torture or anything else. Just plain talk with the rest of the world. Disagreements with the Chinese government would be permissible, probably even encouraged, so they could better govern the country.
But then I realized this would be considered an act of war in cyberspace by the Chinese government. It would threaten the rule of the Chinese government, threatening their ‘State security’, perhaps better labeled their state OF security. If parts of their national firewall were to suddenly disappear… chaos might erupt. Their access to truthful and full information would explode and the people would just… pop. There might be rioting in the streets, there might be demonstrations by the people against an oppressive government. There might be a revolution.
So what can be done? Three options for those outside China.
1- Punitive. Punishment for all the theft of our Intellectual Property.
2 – Enable all information from inside China to be available to all Chinese, using the internet
3 – Enable all information from outside China to be available to all Chinese, using the internet
Your ideas are being solicited. How would you do any of the above?
- Why China needs a PR makeover (globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com)
- Weibo Spawns “Wei-diplomacy” (thediplomat.com)
- People power a sign of times in China’s internet age (edition.cnn.com)
- Can China’s Social Media Break the Chains of Censorship? (heritage.org)
- Internet Governance: Censorship Issues With China, Egypt, Iran & CleenFeed (dyn.com)
- Google’s Schmidt says China censorship will fail (computerworld.co.nz)
- PRC Cina (leggotunglei808.wordpress.com)
- Lessons from a Very Mobile Industry (andrewmcafee.org)
- Russia Starts Building Chinese Wall To Block Internet – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Great Wall of China (reflectionsofchina.wordpress.com)