The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission has released its annual report to the US government and has warned against the use of Chinese information technology by both the government and private US firms.
China is currently the world's largest manufacturer of information technology and has a number of economic plans in place to eventually elevate the region to the forefront of AI innovation. However, the Chinese government has engaged in often questionable practices to assist it in its bid take the US's crown as the world's premier technological driver. These acts have contributed to the rise in tension between the two nations in recent years.
Before he levied a further 10% tariff on $200bn worth of Chinese imports in September, President Trump commented: "For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies. We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly.But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices."
However, the advisory panel warnings in this most recent report were focused on these same fears of state-backed data breaches. The panel alleged that despite China's commitment to curb such actions in 2015, the behavior is still rampant.
This fear combined with recent advancements in 5G technology and the increasingly prevalence of IoT enabled devices mean data breaches could put "critical infrastructure at risk". 5G technology, for example, will allow data uploads to occur 100 times faster than they currently do. This would be devastating if servers holding government state secrets or a corporation's intellectual property were compromised.
"The scale of Chinese state support for the IoT, the close supply chain integration between the US and China, and China's role as an economic and military competitor to the US creates enormous economic, security, supply chain and data privacy risks for the US," alleged the report.
"The lax security protections and universal connectivity of IoT devices creates numerous points of vulnerability that hackers or malicious state actors can exploit to hold US critical infrastructure, businesses, and individuals at risk," the report added.