What a US-China cyberwar means for the Philippines: Inquirer contributor – The Straits Times

MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – The world changed on Aug 5, but very few people noticed. On that day, the US State Department detailed the “Clean Network to Safeguard America’s Assets” program, a follow-through on the John S. McCain National Defense Authorisation Act of 2019.

The initiative aims to guard Americans’ most sensitive personal and business information from “aggressive intrusions by malign actors,” specifically naming the Chinese Communist Party.

Long before this US move, the Great Firewall of China has been protecting the “Chinese internet” by requiring local internet service providers to cooperate in censorship and information gathering.

This has prevented many major US internet services, such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon from entering the Chinese market. The protectionist strategy allows China’s own internet companies, such as Baidu, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, WeChat, and Alibaba, to flourish.

In 2017, China issued the National Intelligence Law mandating all Chinese individuals, organisations, and institutions to assist public security and state security officials in performing national intelligence work.

Recently, updates in the Great Firewall blocked the use of strong encryption, likely the state’s latest attempt at curbing VPN use.

Over the last two decades, China has been exporting its vision of how telecommunications should be governed.

5G networks, for example, can purportedly “call home” or give the Chinese government the ability to listen in on any traffic on those networks.