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US should not have the final say on network security

(People's Daily Online)

15:36, July 10, 2013

Edited and Translated by Zhang Qian, People's Daily Online

The Prism incident has exposed a worldwide problem of network security. Long-term, large-scale network monitoring and data theft by the United States in other countries has aroused international concern and provoked international reflection on network security rules.

Few countries would now disagree on the importance of ensuring network security and the necessity of laying down cyberspace rules; however, international action on the matter remains indecisive, and little has been done.

Only a few short decades have passed since the birth of cyberspace - China, for example, has had access to the Internet for only 19 years. Certainly it will take time for the formulation of international rules to govern this new phenomenon, but time alone is not the full explanation for the deficiencies in international network security rules. Internet cyberspace is being treated as a new setting in which the network powers can play out their games of national interest; there are many disputes on core issues such as which rules are to be formulated, how they are to be developed, how network governance is to be realized in cyberspace, etc.

Due to its position as the leading network space superpower, America’s calculated self-interest has become the biggest factor affecting international network security rules. Motivated by ideology, considerations of national interest, and a drive to maintain a long-term dominance in network space technology for the purpose of strategic advantage, American action on some issues is extremely arbitrary. This manifests itself in a one-sided emphasis on freedom of information, in attempts to break through all kinds of "Internet firewalls" in other countries, in a simplistic emphasis on business information security that leaves the back door open for network "Militarization", in strict control over Internet rules that disregard the interests of developing countries, and in the division of network attacks into "good" and "bad” according to its own national security standards and its fight against terrorism. Network security as practiced by the United States is riddled with double standards.

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