The role of cybersecurity in Chinese foreign policy

jon-lindsayNational Security College and the Australian Centre on China in the World, ANU

Jon Lindsay

12:30-1:30pm (refreshments served from noon), Thursday 18 February 2016
Auditorium, Australian Centre on China in the World, Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU, Canberra

China has one of the world’s fastest growing internet economies and most active cyber operations programs. Chinese penetration of Western commercial, government and defence networks encourages fears about the wholesale erosion of economic and military competitiveness. At the same time, China decries Western cyber exploitation and calls for the exclusion of American internet firms from the Chinese economy.

Cyber operations and the rhetorical reactions on both sides of the Pacific have significantly undermined trust in China’s foreign relations. The situation is not in fact as dangerous as many believe. For every type of Chinese cyber threat, there are also serious Chinese vulnerabilities as well as Western strengths, which incentivises restraint in cyber exploitation. China and other major powers can look forward to chronic and ambiguous intelligence-counterintelligence contests across their networks, even as the internet facilitates productive exchange and a degree of stability.

Jon R. Lindsay is Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs. A political scientist with a background in computer science and military service, his research examines the impact of technology on global security. His publications include the co-edited China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain (Oxford University Press, 2015) and articles in International Security, Security Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, Technology and Culture, and the Journal of Cybersecurity. He is completing a book, Shifting the Fog of War: Information Technology and the Politics of Control, and working on a multi-institutional research project on deterrence theory. Professor Lindsay holds a PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MS in Computer Science and BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. He has served in the U.S. Navy with operational assignments in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

This public seminar is presented by the National Security College in partnership with the Australian Centre on China in the World.