China Says U.S., U.K. Are ‘Empires’ for Hacking After U.K. Official Warns of Global Tech Risk China Poses

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Jeremy Fleming, the U.K.’s director of government electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, pointed to China on Friday as a major threat to internet securities with their “potential to control the global operating system” due to its “size and technological weight,” according to the Associated Press.

China’s Foreign Ministry fired back during a Friday press conference when spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the remarks are “groundless and make no sense at all.”

“Western countries, such as the U.K. and U.S., are actually the true empires of hacking and tapping,” Zhao said.

Meanwhile, Fleming said China has a “competing vision for the future of cyberspace,” and added that there is a potential for China to use their authority to dominate technology markets, AP reported.

“I’d like to stress that given the virtual nature of cyberspace and the fact that there are all kinds of online actors who are difficult to trace, it’s importance to have enough evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents,” Zhao added. “Groundless speculations should be avoided.”

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian takes a question at the daily media briefing in Beijing on April 8, 2020.
Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Western countries risk losing control of technologies that are key to internet security and economic prosperity to nations like China and Russia if they don’t act to deal with the threat, one of the U.K.’s top spy chiefs warned Friday.

“Significant technology leadership is moving east” and causing a conflict of interests and values, Fleming said in a speech.

China is an early adopter of emerging technologies and is playing an influential role in the debate around international rules and standards, he said.

He raised the possibility of countries with “illiberal values” like China building them into technical standards that the world ends up relying on, turning them into arenas of geopolitical competition.

Russian hacking and other nefarious online activity, meanwhile, poses the most acute threat to the U.K. but, like a smartphone app vulnerability, could be avoided.

Left unchecked, foreign adversaries could threaten the design…