U.S. officials have announced that they are rushing to complete talks on cybersecurity with China before Xi Jinping’s arrival in Washington on Thursday. The hope is that the talks will result in a settlement where both sides agree to withhold from striking first at the critical infrastructure of the other during peacetime, although a senior official cautioned that any initial agreement would likely consist of China’s acceptance of a code of conduct adopted by a working group in the United Nations.
One of the principles of the documents states that no country should take or support an action “that intentionally damages critical infrastructure or… impairs the use and operation of critical infrastructure to provide services to the public” (think hospitals, mobile networks, power stations, etc.).
While that kind of agreement may be a disappointment for government employees who are concerned about the security of their private data or for the multitude of American businesses that have had their data compromised by PLA hackers, at the very least it would be a step in the right direction.
In fairness, the U.S. has done its fair share of hacking too, as Edward Snowden’s leaked documents have revealed that the NSA’s Operation Shotgiant resulted in a breach of Huawei’s computer network in a bid to gain intelligence.
Of course, Chinese state media have dismissed any accusations that cyber attacks on U.S. servers were launched from the PRC. Check out the topics that Xi would rather discuss when he arrives in Washington here.
by Stanley Yu
[Images via People’s Daily]