Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Fraction of Chinese Economic Success Is From Stolen Data?

A report in Business Week covers China's cyber-warfare, and links to McAfee's report, which doesn't mention China by name but might as well. (Oddly, only a single article on Xinhua's English edition mentions the McAfee investigation and comes to the opposite conclusion, that no single nation is thought to be behind the attacks. The Chinese edition's front page today has not a single mention of it.)

Much is made of China's rise, but is there something to be learned here? Is there a way to estimate the value of the stolen data, and its impact on that growth? It's often thought that shame is a better tool than guilt to influence our frenemies across the Pacific; maybe a casual mention by the Obama administration of this interesting form of foreign aid might provoke an actual discussion.

One of the vulnerabilities of an advanced and open society is that China has no trade secrets we'd like to steal - but it would be good if all the cleverness we applied to Stuxnet, and all the enthusiasm of Wikileaks activists were being turned to infiltrating the government systems of the most powerful dictatorship in the world.

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