China Using Great Firewall To Spy On Business Deals?

from the sneaky,-sneaky dept

Over there years, there have been plenty of articles on the Great Firewall of China, so yet another one by itself wouldn’t be that interesting. However, this lengthy piece in the Australian has one tidbit that hasn’t been discussed much elsewhere, which is that China may not just be using its router-based censorship for blocking access to certain content, but also for corporate espionage purposes. Not much in the way of details is given, but the article opens with a story of a US businessman negotiating a deal in Beijing with a large state-owned Chinese company — and he’s surprised to note that each morning the other side starts the discussions with whatever key points he had emailed back to the home office the night before. He believed that the Chinese government (or by proxy via an ISP) was intercepting the messages and handing them over to the firm he was negotiating with. There aren’t any details (or even names) with which to verify the story (so it should be taken with a fairly large grain of salt), but it is a reminder that a censorship system need not only serve to block out content, but also to monitor what’s being done as well.

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Comments on “China Using Great Firewall To Spy On Business Deals?”

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flamsmark (user link) says:

SSL, anyone?

More importantly, wouldn’t any US businessman doing business with a ‘large’ company of any description be communication via a strongly encrypted link?

I don’t buy that the great red router could work for business espionage: it’d have to crack all the encryption on all the traffic that went through it, then find the important bits. It sounds unlikely to me.

ReallyEvilCanine (profile) says:

Re: Re: SSL, anyone?

Using encryption can get you accused of criminal activity in China.

Yes, but steganography with very short messages inside very large tourist pictures sent to the wife and return messages hidden inside honking big pics of the kid back home should be able to get around that easily enough.

The first comment is exactly what I thought: “If your watchers don’t know that you know they’re there, you can do a lot.” Especially in China (but also in Russia and other countries) I already expect that I’d be watched.

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