China seeking cybersecurity cooperation with FBI
Tue 15 Mar 2016
China is calling for increased cooperation with the FBI on matters related to online security and counterterrorism.
According to reports the Chinese minister of public safety Guo Shengkun told FBI Director James Comey in a recent meeting in Beijing, that China was looking to boost its trust and partnerships with the U.S., regarding cybersecurity issues. Shengkun particularly suggested the need to ‘deepen law enforcement and security cooperation in the fields of internet security and counterterrorism.’
Seeking this trust, China would need to prove itself to be a respected leader in the field – already sitting on a dubious track record for internet security. Questionable practices included a suspected state-sponsored attack on American firms, despite Chinese President Xi Jinping having agreed with Barack Obama not to conduct or back campaigns hunting out and stealing intellectual property online.
China and the U.S. would also need to agree on their approach to privacy and human rights. The new calls for cooperation come at a time when the FBI is embroiled in a court case with U.S. tech giant Apple, over whether the company should allow authorities backdoor access into an iPhone, previously owned by suspected San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. While the FBI is arguing that the ability to unlock the device is a matter of national security, civil rights organisations and other tech firms are challenging that position.
President Jinping has actively advocated for China’s right to decide what to block and censor online. “We should respect the right of individual countries to independently choose their own path of cyber development, model of cyber regulation, and participate in international cyberspace governance on an equal footing,” he said at the opening ceremony of last year’s World Internet Conference. Jinping also expressed his full support for imprisoning individuals who ‘spread rumours’ on the web or publish content which could pose a ‘threat’ to society.