How to Turn an Oil Tanker

by Dave Schuler on February 22, 2013

I’m afraid the Denver Post’s editorial on Chinese hacking is an exercise in wishful thinking:

The Obama administration responded to the report with a strategy white paper outlining approaches to the problem. It includes putting offending countries on “watch lists” and urging other countries to join in pressuring bad actors to stop their hacking activities. It also, as one critic quoted in The Washington Post noted, refers to strategies already in play. It includes the word “continue” more than 20 times.

The question, then, is what more can be done to combat such activity. We hope the administration is privately pressuring China to cease and desist. But there are other ways, including denial of visas to officials from companies that benefit from the theft, or students and researchers from universities connected to hacking activities. There also is room for more aggressive prosecution of cyber-espionage cases against perpetrators, regardless of who they may be.

I’m afraid the Post’s editors are wrong. It’s not a “delicate matter”. If changing U. S. policy is like turning a battleship, changing Chinese policy is like turning an oil tanker. It can be done but it won’t be fast and subtlety or half-measures won’t be effective.

I’ve already proposed a few measures which may seem drastic but are really quite tame. Here are some more.

Public humiliation. Don’t engage in private diplomacy. Bring it out in public. Condemn the Chinese government’s abuse of civil rights loudly and harshly. Complain about low quality and outright fraudulent products. Seat their diplomats by the kitchen on chairs that are too small and have one leg shorter than another and say why you’re doing it.

Pay bounties to hackers who bring down Chinese networks and can prove they did.

Impose penalties on U. S. companies that collaborate with the Chinese authorities in oppressing and controlling the Chinese people.

Gentle, subtle, polite chiding will get nowhere.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Drew February 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

Oh, c’mon. Putting them on a watch list will have them shivering and, tail between legs,

Drew February 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

Ooops. …like yellow running dogs.

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