Britain to resist Chinese and Russian cyber space control

UK is concerned that Beijing and Moscow's rush for major tech threatens western security

Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly denied claims of cyber attacks. Reuters
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Britain said it would oppose what it calls attempts by Russia and China to establish national sovereignty over communications and emerging technology that will shape the 21st century.

The UK regards China and Russia as strategic rivals whose rush for control of some major technology such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and microprocessor design could threaten western security and a relatively free internet.

"China and Russia continue to advocate for greater national sovereignty over cyber space as the answer to security challenges," says Britain's National Cyber Strategy, to be published on Wednesday.

"Debates over the rules governing cyber space will increasingly become a site of systemic competition between great powers, with a clash of values," Britain said.

That competition, Britain said, will increasingly put pressure on a free internet as big powers and major technology companies promote competing visions of technical standards and internet governance.

The US remains the world's top cyber power, followed by China, the UK, Russia and the Netherlands, says Harvard University's Belfer Centre Cyber 2020 National Cyber Power Index.

China and Russia have repeatedly denied western allegations that either had been behind cyber attacks.

Moscow and Beijing have said the West is in no position to lecture them on hacking or on technology they choose to develop.

Britain said 6G, artificial intelligence, microprocessors, and a range of quantum technology including quantum computing, quantum sensing and post-quantum cryptography were priorities for development.

Protecting data would become more crucial, it said.

"This infrastructure is a vital national asset," Britain said. "We will take a greater role in ensuring that data is sufficiently protected when processed, in transit, or stored at scale, for example in external data centres."

Updated: December 14, 2021, 11:23 PM