Fear driving China’s tech manipulation poses a threat to all – Britain’s spy chief

LONDON (Reuters) – China is using its financial and scientific might to manipulate technology in ways that endanger global security, Britain’s top cyber spy said on Tuesday, warning that Beijing’s actions could represent “a huge threat to all of us.”

In a speech, Jeremy Fleming, director of the spy agency GCHQ, will say that China’s leaders were seeking to use technologies such as digital currencies and its Beidou satellite navigation network to tighten its grip on its citizens at home, while extending its influence abroad. .

“They seek to secure their advantage through scale and through control,” Fleming will tell the annual security lecture at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, according to excerpts released by his office.

“It means they see opportunities to control the Chinese people rather than looking for ways to support and unleash the potential of their citizens. They see nations as potential adversaries or potential client states, to be threatened, corrupted or to compel.”

These remarks are Fleming’s final public warnings about Beijing’s behavior and aspirations. Last year, he said the West faced a battle to ensure China did not dominate important emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and genetics.

Fleming will say that China’s leaders were driven by fear of their own citizens, freedom of speech, free trade and open technology standards and alliances, “the whole open democratic order and rules-based international system “.

This fear combined with China’s strength was pushing it “to actions that could pose a huge threat to all of us”, he said.

China has previously described similar accusations from Western governments as baseless and politically motivated slander.

Fleming will also highlight technologies he believes China is looking to leverage, such as its development of a centralized digital currency to enable it to monitor user transactions, as well as possibly evade the type of sanctions that Russia has faced since its invasion of Ukraine.

It will also point to Beidou, China’s answer to the US-owned GPS navigation system.

“Many believe that China is building a powerful anti-satellite capability, with a doctrine of denying other nations access to space in the event of a conflict,” he will say. “And there are fears the technology could be used to track individuals.”

(Reporting by Michael Holden in London; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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