Cyber-Spying Erodes Trust in Internet as Economic Engine: Report
The interaction between the U.S. and China and the recent criminal charges filed against five Chinese nationals demonstrate the costs to the global economy, argues one think tank.Countries that seek to improve their economy through cyber-espionage undermine the trust in the Internet and could harm the future of the global economy, the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) argued in a policy paper published on June 20. While a number of countries, such as China, are exploiting uncertainty in international policy and law to invest in massive cyber-espionage operations, the distrust caused by their actions will have a significant impact on the future of the Internet economy, according to the report, titled "Global Cybercrime: The Interplay of Politics and Law." While actions, such as the United States' indictment of five Chinese nationals for cyber-espionage will call attention to the problem, very few disincentives exist to dissuade nations from following their short-term interests, Aaron Shull, a research fellow and counsel at CIGI and the author of the paper, told eWEEK. "We need to raise the costs of engaging in this behavior, and there are a number of policy mechanisms that you can try to accomplish that," he said. "But more importantly, I think we need to evolve the discourse away from narrow state-to-state interest, and treat it as a broader global problem where we could potentially undermine the biggest driver of economic growth and innovation the world has ever known—a secure, scalable and responsibly governed Internet."
In May, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted five members of the People's Liberation Army—China's military—for hacking into six U.S. companies and industry groups and stealing information. The victims include Alcoa, Westinghouse Electric, the U.S. subsidiary of SolarWorld AG, U.S. Steel, Allegheny Technologies and an industrial workers union. The action is the most significant political response to date by the United States against cyber-spying.