The UK Intelligence and Security Committee will soon submit a report to Prime Minister David Cameron about Chinese IT enterprise Huawei, which may state that Huawei poses a threat to network security in UK. Months ago, ZTE and Huawei faced these trumped-up charges in the US.
These facts remind us that it is urgent for us also to make a network security review toward foreign IT enterprises in China.
At the same time when the US investigated the threat of ZTE and Huawei this September, IBM officially launched its "smart city" project in Beijing. According to this project, IBM will use its urban intelligent operation center and a platform of cloud counting and cloud services to make a comprehensive plan to cope with challenges in the fields of public safety, public transportation, water and electricity, healthcare, food and drug safety, as well as building service-oriented government.
Currently, IBM is cooperating with many governmental departments in small and medium-sized cities and trying to build model cities in China.
The idea of a "smart city" seems idyllic. However, it is worth worrying about from the perspective of network security. If normal operation and management of these cities relies on operations and information services provided by a foreign IT enterprise, these actions are putting our destiny in the hands of others.
During wartime, manipulation of a city's network information system can cause disastrous consequences such as frequent traffic accidents, uncontrolled urban sewage, power breakdown, gas explosions and failure of medical systems.
In recent years, Western countries have built up defenses to prevent Chinese IT enterprises from entering their domestic markets. In contrast, since reform and opening-up, China's door seems open to every foreign IT enterprise who wants to enter. If we turn a blind eye to foreign IT enterprises such as IBM's expansion, these firms may occupy most of our market by virtue of their advanced technology and monopolistic advantages.
The "smart city" is only a microcosm. Some foreign IT enterprises have already entered many areas of our daily lives. If we still do not take measures, our action is just like setting a fox loose in the hen house. We may become Western countries' network colony.
We should intensify supervision in fields of market access and government procurement of IT products. We should particularly restrict foreign IT enterprises from entering into our infrastructure information construction.
The author is a post-doctoral scholar in Chinese Academy of Military Sciences. firstname.lastname@example.org