U.S. Warning to China on Hacking Has No Teeth


From unfair trade practices to charges of currency manipulation, the government of the People's Republic has a long-time habit of ignoring U.S. warnings about its behavior. "Hacking" of American businesses is no exception because the Obama administration's objections have no teeth. In other words, the hacking will continue.

Thomas Donilon, the National Security Advisor to President Obama, told a group at the Asia Society in New York that as he surveyed the relationship between the United States and China, particularly on electronic security:

From the President on down, this has become a key point of concern and discussion with China at all levels of our governments. And it will continue to be. The United States will do all it must to protect our national networks, critical infrastructure, and our valuable public and private sector property. But, specifically with respect to the issue of cyber-enabled theft, we seek three things from the Chinese side. First, we need a recognition of the urgency and scope of this problem and the risk it poses - to international trade, to the reputation of Chinese industry and to our overall relations. Second, Beijing should take serious steps to investigate and put a stop to these activities. Finally, we need China to engage with us in a constructive direct dialogue to establish acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace.

The Chinese must have looked on in wonder that the American government said nothing about the real consequences of China's behavior. If the U.S. will do "all it must to protect our national networks," what does the White House intent to do exactly?

Donilon's admonition was tucked into the middle of a tremendously long discourse on America's relationship with all of Asia, from North Korea to India. It was not given any special status, which means it has no particular status at all. America might as well drop all of the security measures it has against Chinese hacking and let the hackers dig right in.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Politics Tagged: featured