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China’s president has described the threat of cyberattacks as a “global challenge” that no nation can ignore.
Speaking at the the second, Beijing-sponsored World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Xi Jinping said that the international community has a “common responsibility” to maintain cybersecurity.
Mr. Xi told delegates that a united and collaborative approach amongst countries is key to holding back “the abuse of information technologies” and preventing incidents of surreptitious surveillance via the web.
Moreover, a multilateral framework would help avoid the development of what he described as an “arms race in cyberspace”.
While China’s president was keen for a spirit of togetherness in these highlighted areas, he was nevertheless unambiguous on the importance of respecting one another’s “cyber sovereignty”.
“We should never seek network hegemony, interfere in other nations’ internal affairs and never engage, indulge or support cyber activities that harm other countries’ national security,” he elaborated.
This, it has been argued by critics, is a defense of its longstanding interpretation of what the internet is, how it works and how it should be regulated.
“The idealistic internet pioneers – most of them American – saw the internet as a global community without borders, a space for free exchange of ideas untrammelled by national laws,’ explained the BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones.
“But whether it is China determined to shore up its Great Firewall, the US wanting to curb communications between terror groups, or indeed Europe debating at what age children should be allowed online, local politicians are asserting their right to bend the internet to their will.”
Earlier this month it was revealed that the US and China are exploring ways of working together to tackle cybercrime.
The first “high-level joint dialogue on cybercrime” between the two countries, which took place at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, has been viewed as a positive step forward.
“Both sides decided to further develop case cooperation on combatting cyber-enabled crimes,” an official press release stated.
“[This includes] child exploitation, theft of trade secrets, fraud and misuse of technology and communications for terrorist activities, and to enhance exchanges on network protection.”
Author Narinder Purba, We Live Security