DHS official says world should unite against China’s ‘dark, dystopian’ use of the internet


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The Milken Institute Global Conference held a panel on Tuesday on “digital nationalism” in the modern world.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Policy Under Secretary Robert Silvers warned the audience that the growing schism between the U.S. and China in digital regulation is effectively creating “two internets.” With China’s dominance in electronic manufacturing and its expansive digital infrastructure, the U.S. may be allowing the Asian country to turn its own internet into a truly dangerous weapon, panelists agreed.

“I think China is certainly our most important long-term strategic competitor. I think the threats coming out of China are in some ways too many to count. And I think in the technology space for a first, you just see an enormous amount of hacking activity directed into the U.S.,” Silvers said.

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“And second, I think the Chinese government’s vision of the internet is a dark, authoritarian, dystopian vision that we have to unite against and build against,” Silvers warned. “It is built to harvest and surveil its own citizenry, and that is just thoroughly inconsistent with the values of our country, with the freedom that I believe the internet should be a tool for liberty and openness and free expression and creativity and stepping out of the box into new spaces and new ideas.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, sits down with representatives of teachers and students at a symposium and delivers a speech during a visit to Renmin University of China in Beijing, capital of China, April 25, 2022. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, sits down with representatives of teachers and students at a symposium and delivers a speech during a visit to Renmin University of China in Beijing, capital of China, April 25, 2022. 
(Ju Peng/Xinhua via Getty Images)

The DHS official explained that China’s investment in developing countries could expand the influence of the Chinese censorship of content. 

“I am just deeply concerned about the trend of the Chinese version of the internet,” Silvers said. “I agree that the White House that our administration’s declaration on what we believe is the future of the internet is an important…

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