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The disaster looming 1,000 times worse than China's TikTok

OpinionThe disaster looming 1,000 times worse than China's TikTok

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Much like the Greeks delivering a Trojan horse to the people of Troy, the Chinese Communist Party is using new technologies to manipulate Americans and infiltrate our country. 

Within the next decade, every American will have sensitive, private data stored using a relatively new technology – blockchain. This new technology is also an innovation that China is heavily investing in – posing a colossal national security and data privacy problem. 

Failure to act now could result in a disaster 1,000 times worse than China’s ownership of TikTok.

It is a colossal mistake to willingly hand over our most sensitive data to the Chinese government to use whenever and however they may choose. (Getty Images)

Everyone knows the problem with TikTok: under current law in China, its owners are required to support, assist and cooperate with Chinese national intelligence efforts. In other words, this law is equivalent to a blank check for Chinese spy agencies. 

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It is a colossal mistake to willingly hand over our most sensitive data to the Chinese government to use whenever and however they may choose, especially since we know they won’t be afraid to use it to manipulate and endanger our national security.

This is not the Chinese Communist Party’s first attempt at capturing swaths of American data via digital information infrastructure. In 2013, Huawei Telecommunications, a Chinese-owned company, attempted to penetrate the U.S. market, with a focus on telecommunication, cloud computing, and mass data capture. 

Thankfully, Congress intervened with bipartisan legislation to ban Huawei, sending a strong message to Beijing that the U.S. will not tolerate Chinese Communist Party surveillance in this country. Much like in 2013, Congress is sending the same message this week as Congress looks to sever China’s influence through TikTok. 

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Make no mistake, today, Beijing’s ambitions remain unchanged. Although the technology has evolved, the Chinese Communist Party’s mission remains the same: control the flow of American information.

That’s why this new problem is so alarming. Right now, we’re on the verge of handing over access to Social Security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, bank details and America’s entire digital DNA by storing it on new technology known as blockchain.

Blockchain technology is a new cloud-based storage technology.  Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that his country should “seize the opportunities” presented by blockchain technology, and China is working toward that end by developing the Blockchain Service Network.

The Blockchain Service Network is a Chinese “network of networks,” facilitating the creation of cross-chain smart contracts with minimal cost and technical complexity. Since its launch in 2019, it has become a significant part of the Chinese Communist Party’s digital strategy, with far-reaching implications beyond technology. 

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While blockchain is most known for its affiliation with cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, the technology is poised to radically reshape data privacy with broad adoption across cloud storage platforms over the next decade with the goal of increasing security and decreasing costs.

It’s terrifying to think what China may do with your personal data. But, on the government level, the vulnerabilities are even more of a red line with critical national security information and American military technology at risk. 

Given the national security implications, a legislative solution is needed. That’s why I introduced the bipartisan Creating Legal Accountability for Rogue Innovators and Technology (CLARITY) Act to create a firewall between the federal government and Chinese-owned blockchain companies. 

Congress must do everything we can to ensure the federal government is not giving China a backdoor to access critical national security intelligence or Americans’ private information. 

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It’s never been more important for the federal government to take this threat seriously and act now with a coordinated response to counter the vulnerability before it’s too late.

The threat is real. We must not allow the Chinese government to use blockchain technology as a modern-day Trojan horse to infiltrate our systems and manipulate our most sensitive data.

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