(TibetanReview.net, Jan25’23) – China has the ability to spy on millions of people in Britain by “weaponising” microchips embedded in cars, domestic appliances and even light bulbs, a former diplomat who has advised UK’s Parliament on Beijing, has warned in a report released Jan 23. And this would hold true for all countries of the world which use goods and services from China. The potential dangers from China range from its being able to monopolize the global supply chains to spying and carrying out crippling espionage.
The “Trojan horse” technology poses a “wide-ranging” threat to UK national security, the telegraph.co.uk Jan 23 cited a report sent to UK’s government by Charles Parton as saying.
He has warned: “We are not yet awake to this threat. China has spotted an opportunity to dominate this market, and if it does so it can harvest an awful lot of data as well as making foreign countries dependent on them.”
The report, published on Jan 23 by the Washington-based consultancy OODA (Observe, Orientate, Decide, Act, a mantra used by fighter pilots), has said the potential threat to national security outstrips the threat from Chinese-made components in mobile phone masts which led to a Government ban on Huawei products being used in mobile infrastructure.
Ministers have completely failed to grasp the threat posed by the “pervasive presence” of the modules, known as cellular IoTs (Internet of things), the report is stated as saying.
Cellular IoTs are small modules used in everything from smart fridges to advanced weapons systems to monitor usage and transmit data back to the owner, and often the manufacturer, using 5G.
Three Chinese companies – Quectel, Fibocom and China Mobile – are stated to already have 54% of the global market in the devices, and 75% by connectivity.
And it has been pointed out that like all Chinese firms, they must hand over data to the Chinese government if ordered to, meaning that the Chinese Communist Party can gain access to as many devices as it likes.
Devices that contain the modules are stated to include laptop computers; voice-controlled smart speakers; smart watches; smart energy meters; fridges, light bulbs and other appliances that can be controlled through an app; body-worn police cameras; doorbell cameras and security cameras; bank card payment machines, cars and even hot tubs.
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Allowing China to build up a monopoly on manufacturing the devices – which are subsidized by the Chinese state to make them cheaper than Western competitors – would also make the West entirely dependent on China for supplies of a strategically important component.
The report says: “The data generated by automated logistics, manufacturing, and transport systems…could be invaluable as a means of ensuring that the holder’s economic interests prosper over those of a competitor.”
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The potential for spying is stated to be vast. Coupled with artificial intelligence and machine learning to process huge quantities of data, the report is stated to suggest that China could, for example, monitor the movements of US weapons sales in order to work out if it was selling arms to Taiwan.
Data harvested from the cellular IoTs could be used to identify potential intelligence sources, by working out who handles sensitive information, then finding ways to bribe or blackmail them into spying for China.
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Sabotage is stated to be another concern, if China decides to attack national infrastructure by disabling the devices.
“It is time to wake up,” the report was quoted as saying. “Free and open countries should ban Chinese manufactured IoT modules from their supply chains as soon as possible.”