Ex-CIA director: It’s a tech war, not a trade war
Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA, has characterized the ongoing China-U.S. trade war as a “an escalating technological cold war…not centered on tariffs and trade…[but] involves both China’s use of technology to steal information and the theft of technology itself.” In the area of telecommunications, Morell warns that “first…there will be more mobile data, flowing faster than ever before, across 5G networks. Those who control those networks…will control access to that data – and they would be able to steal massive amounts of information over very short amounts of time. second…5G networks could, therefore, enable not just espionage but sabotage, as well. The head of Australia’s military cyberdefense agency recently noted that 5G significantly raises the risk that critical infrastructure could be brought down in a cyberattack. third, choices made among competing 5G standards will affect who has the best understanding of how the technology is implemented…whoever has the best understanding will have a significant head start economically, in cybersecurity and in signals intelligence — i.e., in promoting its economy, protecting its secrets and stealing those of its rivals.” With China’s current strength in 5G technology and its Belt and Road Initiative paving roads for relations between it and countries around the world, the U.S. is facing a future tech war for this data and the relationships that will largely define winners and losers.