Analysis

China Demands Foreign Companies Install Internet Spyware
A Chinese police officer stands guard in Anhui province. Police in a number of provinces have recently approached American companies, telling them they have to install software on their computer networks and connect their networks to a Chinese police server. (PETER PARKS/AFP/GettyImages)
August 29, 2012
| Economics
| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
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In a heavy-handed move, China is now trying to force foreign companies operating in the country to install Internet monitoring software on their computer networks. The software would allow Chinese spies to waltz right through the corporate front door, providing the government with executive-level access to each firm’s intellectual property, trade secrets, and proprietary information.

It’s yet another indication of the regime’s desire to monitor all information in and out of the country. It also signals the state’s willingness to use security concerns as an excuse to conduct economic espionage against corporations operating in China. Using the Internet is a bold move, one that will likely encounter significant resistance from corporations targeted by the order. Compliance clearly would be detrimental to the vast majority of companies operating in China and, as such, remains unlikely to be widely implemented.

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