Segal on Chinese Cybersecurity

By Matthew Waxman
Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 5:56 PM

Those interested in the international dimensions of cybersecurity strategy and law should read Adam Segal's (Council on Foreign Relations) essay on "Five Trends to Watch for in Chinese Cybersecurity in 2013."  Pay attention, Segal says, to movement in the new year in five areas: (1) new institutions & bureaucratic reform; (2) new threats; (3) more talking; little progress; (4) cyber trade tensions; and (5) a two-internet world.

Regarding the first issue, Segal notes the Chinese government is wrestling with some institutional issues that sound very familiar here in the United States:

Chinese analysts have pointed out that one of the great weaknesses in their defenses is that institutional oversight of cybersecurity is fragmented and ineffective, and there is a low degree of information sharing between the government and industry.

In terms of overall Sino-U.S. bilateral relations in this area, Segal points to some positive and negative signs.  For example:

On the positive side, there have been some articles in the Chinese press suggesting the need for crisis communication mechanisms, a hot line for the cyber age. On the negative side, all the talking and “naming and shaming” appear to have had little or no impact on the pace and scope of cyber espionage.

As to the recent World Conference on International Communications, about which Paul and others have commented on this blog, Segal writes: "The end of the WCIT does not end the discussion, and we can expect Russia, China, and other authoritarian states to continue to promote their state-centric views of cybersecurity and Internet governance."