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The Western world faces ‘moment of reckoning’ on control of critical technologies

Search Toggle navigation Menu E&T logo china america The western world faces the ‘moment of settlement’ when it comes to control over critical technologies By the editors of E&T Published Friday, April 23, 2021 Technologies that are vital for safety and security The UK’s prosperity will no longer be shaped and controlled by the UK and its allies without action, the GCHQ director will explain in a speech.

Jeremy Fleming, who heads the intelligence agency, will deliver this year’s Imperial College Vincent Briscoe annual security lecture; a text of his speech was released before it was delivered. He will say that while the UK is a “big animal in the digital world,” its historical leadership in technology cannot be taken for granted, especially as the rules of the game are changing in ways that states cannot always control. If left unchecked, foreign opponents such as China and Russia will assume leadership in the design, security and regulation of the Internet and emerging technologies.

GCHQ has reason to believe that within decades China could dominate the major technologies of the 21st century, notably AI, synthetic biology and genetics, he will say.

“Cybersecurity is an increasingly strategic issue that requires a nationwide approach,” Fleming said. “The rules are changing in ways that are not always controlled by the government. And without action, it becomes increasingly clear that the key technologies we will rely on for our future prosperity and security will not be shaped and controlled by the West.

“We are now facing a time to pay. In the natural world, during a period of rapid change, adaptation is the only option. And it is the same for us. “

Search Toggle navigation Menu E&T logo china america The western world faces the ‘moment of settlement’ when it comes to control over critical technologies By the editors of E&T Published Friday, April 23, 2021 Technologies that are vital for safety and security The UK’s prosperity will no longer be shaped and controlled by the UK and its allies without action, the GCHQ director will explain in a speech. Jeremy Fleming, who heads the intelligence agency, will deliver this year’s Imperial College Vincent Briscoe annual security lecture; a text of his speech was released before it was delivered. He will say that while the UK is a “big animal in the digital world,” its historical leadership in technology cannot be taken for granted, especially as the rules of the game are changing in ways that states cannot always control. If left unchecked, foreign opponents such as China and Russia will assume leadership in the design, security and regulation of the Internet and emerging technologies. GCHQ has reason to believe that within decades China could dominate the major technologies of the 21st century, notably AI, synthetic biology and genetics, he will say. “Cybersecurity is an increasingly strategic issue that requires a nationwide approach,” Fleming said. “The rules are changing in ways that are not always controlled by the government. And without action, it becomes increasingly clear that the key technologies we will rely on for our future prosperity and security will not be shaped and controlled by the West. “We are now faced with a time to pay. In the natural world, during a period of rapid change, adaptation is the only option. And it is the same for us. “Technology companies have found themselves channels of emerging West-East tensions, with US President Joe Biden maintaining a firm line against Chinese technology companies the US government says are a threat to national security, such as Huawei, ZTE and Dahua. Biden explained plans to establish China-free supply chains for semiconductors, EV batteries and other critical technologies, through massive investment in these sectors.

Fleming will say the UK’s historic influence in critical technology sectors must be constantly reinvented “Today we can pride ourselves on innovations in everything from AI to life sciences and beyond. As a country, we must use all the levers and tools at our disposal to shape and grow key technologies and markets.”

We must do that in a way that helps protect the nation and the open society. And that means getting better at using the power of the state to both promote and protect brilliant technological advancements. “

Fleming will build on the Government’s Integrated Review of the Government’s Foreign and Defense Policy, arguing that the UK should keep up to date by developing sovereign technologies in key areas such as quantum technology (including in quantum cryptography to protect sensitive information), and along with its allies to strengthen cyber defense and develop domestic cyber skills. He also called for greater promotion of the right market conditions to enable innovation and to ensure diversity of offerings across a wider range of technologies.

Speaking with E&T, Nicholas Lloyd, a former information security leader, noted that US adversaries are turning to alternatives to conventional military strength to compete, such as offensive cyber. It is more difficult to hold states accountable for cyber aggression than conventional military aggression.