Oct 27, 2020

Xiao Qiang on China’s “New Silk Road,” Privacy, and Security

From The World, PRI

China's new Silk Road runs through cyberspace, worrying rivals and privacy advocates

By Mary Kay Magistad

To win the hearts and minds of Mexicans, marketers from China’s Huawei telecommunications giant figured they’d sponsor a popular soccer team called Club America...  

“So, in other words, if you're using the Chinese technology, your data is not just in those private companies’ hands, such as Google or Apple. Your data is, essentially, in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” says Xiao Qiang, a native of Beijing and founder of China Digital Times. Qiang also heads the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information’s Counter-Power Lab, an interdisciplinary research group that focuses on digital rights and internet freedom.

That’s a risk, he argues, for those signing on to China’s digital Silk Road —whether having China install a 5G network or a "smart city" surveillance camera system. It’s even a risk at the personal level, he says, for users of Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat, both of which the Trump administration has targeted in an effort to limit or control their use within the United States.

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Xiao Qiang
Xiao Qiang (photo by Elliott Ng, CNReviews https://flic.kr/p/6L4xy2)

Last updated:

November 17, 2020