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Israeli-Gulf cyber cooperation

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Authors: Dr. Kristian Alexander and Justine Mazonier*

The Gulf region is increasingly digitalized. Futuristic projects are implemented in the Peninsula and have transformed its security architecture. GCC states are increasingly using these new technologies to ushered in a new era for their economies with the building of modern cities (such as the Saudi NEOM project or the Emirati and Bahraini smart cities). 

However, the emergence of cyber and digital capabilities has opened up new vulnerabilities. The Gulf States have not yet been able to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity system to protect their governmental structures, critical facilities, companies and individuals from such threats. For example, according to the Potomac Institute, Saudi Arabia was ‘still insufficiently prepared in all essential elements of cyber readiness.’ The Cyber Readiness Assessment 2.0 provides some insights to understanding the gaps in Saudi cybersecurity. The Saudi National Information Security Strategy fails to provide specific guidelines and a consistent cybersecurity architecture. Very often, various ministries, companies and other entities develop their own cyber strategies independently, thereby creatingimportant gaps in the national cybersecurity. Moreover, with the coronavirus crisis, these threats have increased with the multiplication of phishing and malware attacks. In such an environment, the Gulf States need experienced partners to enhance their cybersecurity systems.

Israel is the most advanced country in the Middle East in terms of cybersecurity. The CEO of the Emirati cybersecurity company DarkMatter stated that the “only country in the region that’s strong in cybersecurity is Israel. Since 2010, the Israeli government particularly encourages the development of an integrated cyber ecosystem to counter external threats. The Israeli government has massively invested in venture capital for/of ‘high risk’ Research & Development programs. It has developed its national cyber capabilities among its institutions and in the civilian field that form an integrated cyber ecosystem. For example, The Advanced Technologies Park in Israel’s city of Beer-Sheva gathers the most dynamic cybersecurity companies with public cyber structures. Since 2015, several multinationals can be found there, such as Oracle, Dell EMC, IBM, and Deutsche Telekom, with their research and development centres alongside the National Cyber Research Institute, the national emergency response, the National Cyber Security Authority, Ben Gurion University and the cybersecurity centre from Tsahal. Israel is also a unique case regarding the teaching of cybersecurity in Middle School, encouraging the continuous emergence of experts in the cybersecurity field. Most of the Israeli universities offer degrees related to this field. 

According to Dr Lior Tabansky, co-author of ‘Cybersecurity in Israel’ and Head of research development at The Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University, Israel is a cyberpower mainly due to many of its tech firms being staffed by ex-military personnel. The Israeli Defense Forces have served as a kind of incubator for cyber talent and there are close ties between the cyber security sector and the IDF. Young Israeli’s serving their mandatory military service in tech units are often exposed to real world cyber threats and have frequently developed solutions that have then translated into the private sector jobs. 

In theory, this Israeli expertise in intelligence and cyber warfare could mitigate the vulnerabilities of the Gulf countries that are eager to cooperate. With the reconnaissance agreement ratified with the UAE and Bahrain, Israeli commitment to the development of economic and diplomatic ties with the Gulf became visible. However, the cooperation with the Gulf States in cybersecurity opens new windows of vulnerability for the concerned states.

Why are the Gulf countries ready to cooperate with Israel on cyberspace?

Officially, Israel and the Gulf countries claim that their cooperation aims at repelling the Iranian threats in cyberspace. The GCC states would learn from the Israeli expertise to enhance their own technical capabilities of cybersecurity. 

The biggest state-sponsored threat comes from Iran. The number of Iranian cyber-attacks may increase due to the current geopolitical context and its financial difficulties in supporting its proxy network. Iran developed its respective cyber capabilities since the Stuxnet attack in 2011. During the following decade, it retaliated against the USA and Israel. However, with the improvement of their cybersecurity systems, Iranian hackers have increasingly targeted Gulf countries that are less protected. Iranian cyber experts have trained hackers located among their proxies and encouraged them to launch attacks against their enemies. In 2015, the Yemen Cyber Army targeted the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs and leaked confidential documents on the Iranian media. An Iranian official claimed that the group was able to obtain the addresses, phone numbers and emails of top Saudi diplomats, Foreign Ministry staff, secret agents and army personnel, as well as classified files and correspondence of senior Riyadh officials with other countries and governments dating back to the early 1980s.

Saudi Arabia has tacitly cooperated with Israel since 2012, in the wake of the cyber-attacks against the Aramco and RasGas facilities. Erel Margalit, an Israeli entrepreneur, reported that Israeli cybersecurity firms arrived in Saudi Arabia to repair the damages. Bahrain has also cooperated with Israel following the Iranian attacks against its National security agency, Interior Ministry and electricity and water authorities. In April 2020 Iran targeted Israel’s water utility network. According to IBM’s “2019 Cost of Data Breach Report”, data breaches in Saudi Arabia have amounted to $6m in that year alone. According to Kaspersky Lab, Saudi Arabia ranked at the 20th spot of the most attacked countries in cyberspace in November 2020. These attacks have increased the links and cooperation between these states against a common enemy.

Israeli cyber companies collaborate with Gulf countries for more dubious reasons. Cyber capabilities are often employed to prop up the image of the regimes, censor the population or discredit competing states. 

Technological means rendered available by Israeli companies such as the Pegasus spyware are used against regional competitors. The New York Times reported in August 2018 of a potential link between the use of the Pegasus Israeli spyware and the UAE against various representatives in the Gulf region. According to documents collected from a lawsuit gathered by the New York Times, in June 2017, 159 members of the Qatari royal family and representatives would have been targeted by the NSO spyware. The UAE is alleged to have used the spyware to monitor phone calls of a Saudi prince, Mutaib bin Abdullah, who was considered at the time to be a potential candidate for the Saudi throne.

GCC states used these tools to keep track of and implement surveillance against political dissidents as well as engage in censorship. GCC states started to develop their cyber capabilities following the popular demonstrations during the Arab Spring. The Gulf Countries endeavoured to enhance their intelligence capabilities to avoid a similar situation on their territory. GCC states centralized their cyber tools to increase their control over the population. Similar to China, and Russia, they implemented specific legislation on cyber-crime that can be construed in a very obscure way and allows authorities to prosecute political dissidents. For example, in 2007, the Anti-Cyber Crime Law was adopted in Saudi Arabia. This law is theoretically protects users from cybercrimes. However, it has provisions that curb freedom of expression. For example, the ACCL may prosecute any individual “producing something that harms public order, religious values, public morals, the sanctity of private life, or authoring, sending, or storing it via an information network.” 

The cybersphere is a field through which Israel can improve its diplomatic ties with the Gulf countries. This cyber cooperation is first encouraged in the private sector through Israeli and Gulf companies and joint ventures. However, these companies can be linked to the interests of the Gulf States and encourage them to maintain their relations with Israel in a more integrated ecosystem.

The normalization agreements between the UAE and Bahrain with Israel are but two examples of the concretization of the economic and private cooperation between these states that will very likely spill over into stronger diplomatic ties. Moreover, “the UAE-Israeli normalization lends itself to expanding the realm of indirect Saudi-Israeli relations,” said Aziz Alghashian. Saudi Arabia uses Israeli expertise in the framework of its NEOM project. The Israeli company Checkpoint collaborates with Saudi Arabia in the building of this futuristic city. This project fosters the creation of a new ecosystem whereby Israel provides the technical skills needed and the Gulf States their economic resources, ultimately shaping into a Middle Eastern style Silicon Valley. The NEOM project would indirectly encompass the Egyptian Sinai province and link the Israeli Negev region. The creation of NEOM “requires peace and coordination with Israel, especially if the city is to have a chance of becoming a tourist attraction,” said Mohammad Yaghi. However, the Gulf States seemingly face more difficulties to cooperate in the cyber field and have a harder time proposing an overarching integrated cyber strategy. Gulf countries often collaborate individually with the USAoncybersphere issues. For example, the USA and Saudi Arabia integrated cyber collaboration within their security cooperation aiming at stabilizing the region. 

How can Israel bring its expertise to the Gulf countries?

Gulf cybersecurity companies managed to attract Israeli employees from the 8200 Unit, an Israeli intelligence branch specialized in SIGINT and code decryption. According to Haaretz, DarkMatter, a private cybersecurity firm based in Abu Dhabi, enticed several Israeli employees to develop this company. According to Reuters, DarkMatter was originally an intelligence project run by former CIA and NSA agents in the UAE until 2016. DarkMatter currently includes around 650 employees stationed in the UAE, Singapore, China, Finland and Canada. Israeli operatives filled the gap left by the departure of CIA and NSA experts that were part of the project. According to Yedioth Ahronoth, DarkMatter has offered large financial packages  (salaries of 100,000 dollars per month, in addition to bonuses and luxurious homes in Cyprus) for Israeli experts from the 8200 Unit. Amnesty International accused DarkMatter of having led intelligence and surveillance against journalists, reporters, activists inside and outside of the UAE. In 2019, Mozilla and Firefox withdrew certification user for the company. In 2017, the New York Times reported that the NSO group (an Israeli cybersecurity company) lost 8200 graduate employees who moved to Cyprus in order to work for the research and development offices of DarkMatter. According to the Times of Israel, several Israeli programmers were working for DarkMatter in Singapore and Thailand. This information could, however, not be confirmed by other sources. The same source suspects a collaboration between DarkMatter and the UAE Signals Intelligence Agency (an organization linked to the UAE intelligence services). This potential collaboration could trigger the disclosure of sensitive information on the digital security infrastructure of Israel among Gulf countries.

Israeli companies bring technical expertise to Gulf companies. The Israeli NSO company sold its Pegasus spyware to Gulf countries. This spyware can be downloaded on smartphones of the targeted individuals and collects their personal information, conversations and movements. Citizen Lab reported in 2016 that Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati political dissident and Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi critic were spied on with this tool. The discussions between Omar Abdulaziz and Jamal Khashoggi were also collected via this tool and assisted in the operation that killed the Saudi journalist in October 2018. Al Jazeera reported that Saudi intelligence officers met with NSO representatives in 2017 for the acquisition of Pegasus 3. The latest version does not require any actions from the unassuming user to activate the spyware on his/her phone.

However, according to Haaretz, there is a risk of transfer of Israeli intelligence properties to the Gulf countries through these 8200 veterans. Former operatives, stemming from this unit working for the Emirati cyber companies, can divulge sensitive information and techniques about Israel to the UAE. The CIA and NSA agents working on the Dread project in the UAE experienced this security gap firsthand when Emirati and American operatives launched cyber-attacks against American targets. 

Another risk emanates from the absence of export control for cyber weapons from Israel. Since April 2019, the Israeli Minister of Defense granted the withdrawal of licenses for some cyber products like spyware. The international market for such devices is growing. The Israeli Minister of Defense expressed its willingness to increase its potential through the easing of regulations. For Israel, cybersecurity represents a 4 billion dollars per year business. The Gulf countries are increasingly becoming privileged customers. However, the Israeli government has deemed its commercial interests to be more important to the country and is willing to prioritize economic gains at the expense of the preservation of its privileged cybersecurity technology. “But I think we have to take the risk, and it’s a considerable risk, of regulating less in order to grow more,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated during a conference in June 2019. Reuters reported that the export of cyber technologies with offensive and defensive capabilities would fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Economy (Ministry of Industry & Trade). 

*Justine Mazonier is an intern at Gulf State Analytics, a Washington, DC-based geopolitical risk consultancy.

Dr. Kristian Alexander is a Researcher at TRENDS Research & Advisory and an adviser at Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based geopolitical risk consultancy. He has worked as an Assistant Professor at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Dr. Alexander’s papers have been published by numerous outlets, such as the Middle East Institute, The Arab Gulf States Institute (AGSIW), International Policy Digest, International Institute for the Middle East, and Balkan Studies (IFIMES), Inside Arabia, and Fair Observer. His research examines social movements in the Middle East and security-related issues, with a particular interest in migration in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

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The Impact of Management in Information Security

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Authors: Sajad Abedi and Mahdi Mohammadi

Due to the increasing role of information security in the management of any society, public and private organizations and institutions are inevitably required to provide the necessary infrastructure to achieve this. In addition to material resources, management techniques also have a great impact on the optimal and successful implementation of information security management systems. The recording of management standards in the field of ICT information security can be designed in a planned way to change the security situation of organizations according to the needs of the organization and ensure security in terms of business continuity and to some extent at other levels (crisis management and soft war). Despite extensive research in this area, unfortunately for various reasons, including the level of security of the issue for governmental and non-governmental institutions or the direct relationship of the field with their interests, clear and useful information on how to implement and prioritize the implementation of a system over the years. The past has not happened until today.

The protection of the organization’s information resources is essential to ensure the successful continuation of business activities. The fact that information and information assets play a key role in the success of organizations has necessitated a new approach to protecting them. Until now, risk analysis and management has been used to identify the information security needs of the organization. After analyzing the risks, security controls were identified and implemented to bring the risks to an acceptable level. But it seems that risk analysis is not enough to identify the information security needs of the organization. Evidence of this claim is that risk analysis does not take into account legal requirements, regulations and other factors that are not considered as risk, but are mandatory for the organization.

Identifying, assessing and managing information security risks is one of the key steps in reducing cyber threats to organizations and also preventing the unfortunate consequences of security incidents that make organizations more prepared to face cyber risks. The risk assessment process, which is the first phase of a set of risk management activities, provides significant assistance to organizations in making the right decision to select security solutions. Risk assessment is actually done to answer the following questions: * If a particular hazard occurs in the organization, how much damage will it cause? * What is the probability of any risk occurring? * Controlling how much each risk costs. Is it affordable or not? The results of risk assessment can help in the correct orientation in choosing solutions (which is to eliminate the main threats) and can also be used in formulating and modifying the security policies of the organization. Risk management is a comprehensive process used to determine, identify, control, and minimize the effects and consequences of potential events. This process allows managers to strike the right balance between operating costs and financial costs, and to achieve relevant benefits by protecting business processes that support the organization’s goals. The risk management process can greatly reduce the number and severity of security incidents that occur in the organization. Risk management has 5 steps, which are: 1. Planning: At this stage, how to manage potential risks in the organization is determined and completed by developing a risk management plan. This plan defines the risk management team, defines the roles and responsibilities of individuals and the criteria for assessing identified risks. Documented. 2. Identification: At this stage, team members gather around each other, identify potential hazards, and record them in the organization’s risk list. Arranging group brainstorming sessions is a good way to identify hazards 3. Assessment: In this step, the assessment of identified risks is performed using the criteria defined in the risk management plan. Risks are assessed based on their probability of occurrence and possible consequences.

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The impact of the Covid-19 on State, Stability, and Globalization

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Many questions have been exposed in the evolution of Covid -19 in the World. This point is very important to see him and explain it because is the same with Peace and war. But his construction isn’t adoptable with the level of all societies.

Seriously, this change is the biological necessity with analytical of science, industrialization and medical, etc. the men are visual by Covid-19 in anything society who the state hasn’t some capacities for all patients in hospitalizes in the world. The war of masks has paralyzed many countries. This battle cemented the level of capacities of states about public health. 

  A lot of studies explain the return of the Nation-State when they compared it with globalization because it can control sovereignty, borders, war, and Peace, etc. The second, she diffused the Markets, bourses, and information, etc. This big mutation is very important to compare it under Covid-19 but this challenge is funded by this pandemic in China. This country will be emplaced the USA country in the future. 

  Many discussions and conflicts after Covid-19 had been remarked with these countries during the commercial war but the Coronavirus has had his direction to the Third War. Why the nature of This impact for this mutation? It seriously questions when the Coronavirus posed these challengers on all states but they haven’t a solution against this new epidemic ravaged millions of persons.    

International security is menaced when the nation-state hasn’t a solution for public health. This point is the same when the big states like the USA or China disputed this situation with them but without international law protected like conflicts who the power definition hasn’t another conception laid the Coronavuris and here impact under stability and security.

  Simultaneously, I consider the epidemic of Coronavirus like a new serious factor about International Relations if we integers it among challengers biological and environment to explain the level of states and their difficulties face the Globalization.

  The International System is in crisis when the dominant American doesn’t relation with many states like China or Russia during Coronavirus, but the cooperation international isn’t the same conception about International Cooperation because the world lives in this moment with the Risks of a pandemic. Negatively, this way is the same vision as in war why the cooperation among states doesn’t participate in the Globalization.

 Thus the limit of strategic vision during globalization encouraged the return of the nation-state because the Covid-19 is an exam of all states to take their responsibility forthe destiny of their societies. Nobody thinks this pandemic choc and his consequently on many sectors and activities.

  During Covid-19, the International Anarchic is concerted after but without stability in the International Relations.Does this stability do her as a concept or practice? The complexity in International Relations is necessary or evolution who the Covid-19 accelerate these processes but he has anything possibility of changing other themes like State, Security, Communication, Integration, Development, and Democracy, etc.

New Realism doesn’t take this point in changing of International Relations because the political level of states is influenced by Economic Crisis. This one is developing the Commercial War between Beijing and Washington. 

The Union European has been fragile during the Covid-19 especially since Italy and Serbia face the bavettes. This dangerous situation of Coronavirus explains the fragility of Union Europe. Globalization had been created by the European Union but this one hasn’t the power to save its identity and money existences during this crisis epidemic.

 In Balkan, The European Union doesn’t take a strategic position about the Civil War between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This left about 300 people dead on September 27, 2020.Atthis moment, the Peace isn’t funded in the surrounding territories face the central regions, especially during the Covid-19 and American election.

 This upheaval epidemic in the XXI Century doesn’t usually challenge if the public health is a dangerous situation in the big states who the politics modern have many experiences of developing hospitably, Research and Industrialization, etc. In Italy, for example, the person’s burn a flag of Union European and emplace it by the China Republic. We are from this ambiguous and weakened passage.

  This conceptualizing of statism in Europe and America during the Covid-19 can be developed the notion of public politics of governments in the World. This one is very important for Nation-state to develop it by theory politics. Because is characterized by the new power of states and not by Globalization.

International Relations are developing by this level of states when we take the Foreign policy of state who reflecting his image clearly or not participating in an international environment. 

The nature of Covid-19 isn’t compactable with institutes against it because the fundaments of there are basing on the War in the International Relations and Anarchy in the International System.

  Consequently, the Nation-State hasn’t many solutions to opposite it because this one is very fundamentally influenced by Globalization for three or fortune decades. But the question who can pose it is: Where is the World moving in the light of what it has passed and what is coming from it? The term Security is very important but it’s not globally when we take it in the other angles of Development, Dialogue, and Research, etc.

 The Nation-State is needed very well of Security or Dialogue with all factors in every society. The Security is consequently of the level of development and changing it when isn’t demined by State and society. The World is changing by his volunteer or by his Violence? 

Why the nature of this epidemic on a lot of actors of bureaucratic management on governments, but this only context is favorable to explosive at least conceptualization like nation-State, Security and Globalization and others. This situation isn’t the same in the past but is the product of their evolution. Maybe the solution isn’t definitive but approximately relative.

Finally, what’s the link between Sciences on practical policies? But all the concepts bring to this kind of crisis. The world is changing but without guarantee of all states and public politics and International relations. The shock is varied and multiple of all humanity in this history cycle during the XXI e centuries.

  This evolution isn’t positive because the states haven’t only strategic vision but the great means who the question of legitimacy posed a problem about democratic of peace. Simultaneously, this way is corrected by ideas, values, and sciences. If the states don’t occupy from representative popularity election, the result is minimally about institutes and policies.             

  This vision can’t global system that the management of administration, economic, and commercial needs many rationally position and efficacy about the treatment of society’s problems.

  In order of Covid-19, the World take another direction without seriously guarantee to participate by all states and organizations. In opposite to Covid-19, humanity observed a big difference between the past and present. This point is clarifying the nature of this crisis of Health, Communication, and Medicine.

  I wait as Researcher in International Relations, the third War Covid-19 between China and USA, but the commercial economic domineer their relations beyond this epidemic. This changing of the deal is very challenging for multiple operations but without solutions.  This mutation of deployment gravity center between states to societies is very dangerous in the World. The Died is a big challenger of humanity but the renovation doesn’t a common fundament of all structures by injection of money during the economic crisis.

   What’s the final solution? This question is very important to pose because History is removed by cycle but the volunteer and consciousness are a common culture. Nobody can answer this orientation about this occupation of humanity. In this perspective, the World is in crisis by their states? We can thinkabout it. But this crisis is multidisciplinary, horizontal, and vertical.

 International Relations have funded on war who the peace is their ideal of politics. This point is contradictory between states and societies. Their relation is based on Security, Stability, and Sovereignty. The Nation-State is seriously needed more treatment in his territory if he takes it as sovereignty like the principal of it. Globalization has been changing the direction if she opposite with Nation-State.

 This contradictory building of conceptualization posed very difficulties than practice because it’s very important for Researchers in International Relations. Many centers in the world talking about this challenge but this fragility structure is the level of this construction of institutes and their policies.

 The Covid-19 like natural danger posed a big problem on humanity who the man is veritably in front of his hearth in hospital: Philosophical point or limit of modernity? What’s the lied with themes’ if the remedy isn’t non-existent. From this question, we can attach a big good consideration for this limitation of several sectors and activities of each State face his population.   

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Technological Competition and National Security. The War Begins

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The COVID-19 epidemic has given a powerful boost to information and communication technologies. The economic blow dealt by global lockdowns has been reduced thanks to remote platforms. Already-existing ecosystems of financial transactions, electronic document management, data storage, etc. have mitigated the shock emanating from the rupture of usual communications. It would seem that the pandemic should have consolidated the world community in the development and implementation of new technologies for the common good. In fact, in 2020, the competition between the largest technology leaders has only intensified. COVID-19 is hardly a direct cause of increased competition. However, it was in 2020 that it reached a fundamentally new level.

The main opponents in the technology race today are China and the United States. The telecommunications industry is at the forefront of this competition. At the same time, it should be seen in the context of the new Cold War between Beijing and Washington. The US proceeds from the premise that China is an increasingly serious threat. During the presidency of Donald Trump, containment of the PRC became a key priority of White House foreign policy. The situation is unlikely to change seriously with the Joe Biden administration. Key provisions of the “United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” recently published by the White House will remain relevant for the new administration.

The problems emanating from Chinese telecoms began with relatively minor episodes during the Obama presidency. On April 1, 2015, the President of the United States imposed a state of emergency over threats to national security in the digital environment, prompted by a hacker attack and theft of the data of more than 4 million US government employees. The Americans linked the actions of the hackers with the government structures of the PRC, although China wasn’t mentioned specifically in the state of emergency decree.

The next wake-up call was the investigation by the US Treasury and Department of Commerce of the Chinese company ZTE. It was suspected of supplying equipment with American components to Iran. As a result, the company agreed to pay significant fines to American regulators (a $100.8 million penalty was levied by the Treasury Department and a $1.4 billion fine was levied by the Trade Department). The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei also had Iran-related problems. On December 1, 2018, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the behest of the United States. In the US, she is accused of providing HSBC bank with misleading information in an attempt to circumvent US sanctions against Iran. Huawei viewed the arrest as a politically motivated attack on the company. Huawei is still under heavy pressure from American regulators and legislators. The U.S. Defense Budget Act of 2018 and 2019 restricted US defence and government agencies from obtaining supplies from Huawei. Similar restrictions were extended to ZTE. But that was only just the beginning.

On May 15, 2019, President Trump declared a state of emergency over threats to US national security in the telecommunications sector, and the same day Huawei was subject to US Department of Commerce sanctions. They significantly limited the opportunity of American companies to supply components to Huawei. Later, the restrictions were expanded. Since May 2020, the sanctions began to apply to Huawei semiconductors manufactured overseas using US technology or US software, and the list of Huawei subsidiaries subject to sanctions was expanded. In parallel, the Americans have worked with their allies, not without success, convincing them to stop using Huawei equipment in the most advanced areas (such as 5G technologies), citing the threat of PRC espionage. Among the results is the UK’s abandonment of the Chinese company’s equipment for 5G networks in connection with US sanctions.

In addition to Huawei and ZTE, other Chinese companies also had problems. In August, the list was expanded to include the WeChat messenger and TikTok, a video service. Donald Trump banned their use in the United States in separate executive orders, which noted that both services allow the collection of information about users, their location and online activity. This information can be used for blackmail, espionage, censorship, disinformation, etc. However, the White House did not provide examples of such actions by Chinese companies. Interestingly, a month and a half after Trump’s decision, the Alliance of WeChat Users in the United States succeeded in lifting the ban on WeChat in California’s Northern District Court, and in October 2020, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s Federal District Court suspended enforcement of the TikTok order.

In China, restrictions on telecommunications have also been in place for quite some time. However, they are of a different nature and are related to information limitations rather than technology. The country has a ‘Golden Shield’ project that restricts access to a number of foreign websites and filters out politically inappropriate information. In China, it is difficult or impossible to use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp and a number of other services. However, their Chinese counterparts are functioning quite successfully.

Obviously, the politically motivated technology war is just beginning. National security interests will increasingly influence the competition between technology platforms in a wide variety of areas. On both sides of the barricades, businesses will have to cope with growing political risks.

From our partner RIAC

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