By Bill Martinez, Times of San Diego
August 11th, 2021
Recently, the Biden Administration revoked a series of executive orders by the Trump Administration that aimed to protect American consumers from security threats posed by Chinese-owned companies like social media giant TikTok and messaging app WeChat. This policy shift could be dangerous if it opens the door for companies with ties to the Chinese government.
We must understand that all China’s moves are by purposeful design. It’s not far-fetched to imagine a nightmare scenario where the Chinese Communist Party has an iron grip on not only its 1.3 billion citizens but most of the world’s commerce and billions of people outside its borders. Unfortunately, that nightmare is already playing out before California residents’ eyes — eyes which should now be wide open.
Chinese military hackers compromised the personal data of 15 million Californians through breaching credit reporting agency Equifax. Chinese hackers have also probed the networks of California health care companies working to fight COVID-19 while targeting the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to nearly 19 million California residents.
This is nothing short of cyber warfare. And we know by experience when adamant aggressors are ignored, they only move more aggressively.
These Chinese activities, while alarming, only scratch the surface of that country’s predatory data collection agenda. Whether it’s through TikTok, Alibaba (an online commerce giant), China UnionPay (a payments giant), or constant cyberattacks on America, the Communist Party is looking to mine, aggregate, and utilize California’s personal information at every turn.
The party is building a database of Californians’ personal information using these hacked materials and doesn’t appear to have any appetite for slowing down. Why should they in the absence of any push back or targeted discouragement?
It’s up to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to fight back and reject any incursion of China into California homes. Because it’s obvious what’s next if nothing is done. Thankfully, Congressman Darrell Issa has proven himself willing to stand up against the authoritarian regime from across the Pacific.
During his time in Congress, he’s regularly co-sponsored legislation cracking down on Chinese aggression. Perhaps where Issa deserves the most praise is co-sponsoring the “Cyber Diplomacy Act,” which has already passed the House. This crucial bill would create an international strategy for cyberspace and give the State Department the resources it needs to “push back against any malign activities” from China and other adversarial nations.