China has proposed new rules for tech companies doing business in the Chinese banking and telecommunications sectors. The new requirements demand that tech companies providing equipment or software for use in Chinese banks must give the Chinese government encryption keys and source code. This essential would give the Chinese government the intellectual property and provide unfettered access to the internal working of the machines and software. The Chinese have long accused the U.S. of installing back-doors in equipment sold overseas that allowed the U.S. spy agencies to eavesdrop on electronic communication. Something confirmed in the Snowden leaks.
The issue is building into a political fight between the two governments. President Obama stated that the new law is “something they are going to have to change if they are to do business with the United States.” The Chinese have countered by pointing to reports that the US and United Kingdom have hacked into the SIM cards used by millions of phones around the world. There are also numerous reports of Chinese manufactured android phones and tablets with back-doors.
Reminiscent of the Cold War inspired Spy vs. Spy cartoons from Mad Magazine, the ongoing efforts in the digital realm indicate that secrets are always targets be they national security secrets or corporate intellectual property. The recent announcement of a new CIA reorganization to address the digital challenge is but the latest step. The employment environment for cyber professionals seems very bright.
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