A “digital Berlin wall” between the US and China is now looking more real than ever.
The US State Department announced today that it would expand its “Clean Network” initiative, first launched in April to remove major Chinese tech products from the US system. The department said the move is aimed at protecting the privacy of US citizens and sensitive information of US companies from “aggressive intrusions by deadly intruders”.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “With parent companies based in China, applications such as Ticketok, WeChat and others are significant threats to the private data of American citizens, not to mention devices for Chinese Communist Party content censorship.”
As part of the expanded initiative, which focuses on five areas, “television telecom carriers, applications, and cloud service providers including Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu are required to be downloaded from the US App Store, or to store or process US user data Will be prevented from doing. ” US Telecom is connected to the system. In addition, Chinese smartphone makers such as Huawei will be prevented from downloading pre-installation or offers of certain US or foreign apps. The undersea cable connecting the US to the global Internet will also be investigated by the US government.
While the declaration does not give the initiative timelines or clarify whether it is mandatory for US entities, the announcement is an extension of the country’s efforts to divide the Internet between China and the US. Recently, the US has made a series of threats to ban Chinese apps, including Tickcock and WeChat, citing their threats to national security. Tiktok will either be sold to a US company like Microsoft, or face a September 15 deadline given by the White House. An increasing number of US allies are also following suit to oust Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei from its 5G network.
There is some concern that America’s technological policy is now following the footsteps of authoritarian rule, which advocates the concept of “Internet sovereignty”: the idea that sovereignty of a nation extends from the physical realm to cyberspace. Over the years, China has blocked major foreign tech companies, including Google and Twitter, through a great firewall that both prevents its citizens from seeing sensitive information and provides security for its home-grown tech champions. Even for the US to shut down platforms based on its national origins, critics argue, Beijing’s vision of a fragmented, tightly controlled Internet is conquering an open Internet.
Even the language used by the US government now shows a glimpse of Beijing on the Internet. For example, the Chinese government has implemented several “Internet cleanup campaigns” to clamp down on pornographic, pornographic or politically sensitive content. In his declaration, Pompeo made “five clean” to explain the areas under the government’s initiative.
“For decades, America has been considered a defender of free trade and free speech … America (or at least the Trump administration) has become less enthusiastic about those values,” Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of the messaging app Has written Telegram, in a post. “Soon, international tech companies in every major country are expected to use national security” on the pretext of fracture. And ironically, it is American companies like Facebook or Google, whose collapse is likely to cause the most damage. “
The latest move by the Chinese government is also among US State Department critics, along with Foreign Minister Wang Yi Accusing Pompeo “Attempting to draw an iron curtain”