U.S. national security advisor Robert O’Brien recently sought to shut down debate about whether China tech giant Huawei installs “backdoors” in its gear. “We have evidence,” O’Brien announced on February 11, 2020, that wireless networks around the world have been compromised with access points that Beijing mandates. Well known are the concerns this raises for sensitive public and private sector data. Less understood is just how comprehensive Beijing’s strategy is—and how extensive its reach.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) directs the insertion of economy-wide commercial and communication infrastructure with “embedded and reserved interfaces [内部嵌入和预留接口]” that wire the world for access by PRC intelligence and security forces in service of Beijing’s technological and geostrategic goals.
Beijing’s potential to command and control key economic and information flows compromises public and private sectors and alters the character and trajectory of open markets and honest global governance.
Commercial entities need to assess their connectivity to PRC entities from a continuity of operations perspective and for information security purposes. Governments need to illuminate and effectively communicate CPC disruptive capabilities to the private sector, forging opportunities to act on shared interests.