Intelligence Chiefs Accuse China Of IP Theft & Online Deception

The Five Eyes countries' intelligence chiefs have accused China of intellectual property theft and using the Internet for hacking and spying against the nations.

In joint statement, officials from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, known as the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network made the comments following meetings with private companies at the US centre of technology innovation in Silicon Valley.

This comes alongside a new warning to tens of thousands of British businesses of the risk of having their Intellectual Property (IP) stolen.

More than 20,000 people in the UK have now been approached covertly online by Chinese spies, according to Ken McCallum, the head of MI5.  He was speaking at an unprecedented public appearance of the security chiefs of the Five Eyes alliance in California. At the same time, Facebook's parent company Meta has taken down thousands of false-front accounts on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, TwitterX, and Substack to reduce the spread disinformation.

The phrase “cognitive warfare” doesn’t often appear in news stories, but it’s the crucial concept behind China’s latest efforts to use social media to target its foes.

Chinese government and military publications say that cognitive operations aim to capture the mind of one’s foes, shaping an adversary’s thoughts and perceptions and consequently their decisions and actions. Unlike US military doctrine and strategic thinkers, 

China's military has put cognitive warfare on par with the other domains of warfare and believes it key to victory without war.

Information Disturbance

Information Disturbance uses official social media accounts to push and shape a narrative in specific ways. When a typical user spends several hours a day on social media, it is no surprise that Chinese agencies attempt to control the cognition of individuals and communities. Their goal is to achieve an “invisible manipulation” and "invisible embedding" of information production “to shape the target audience's macro framework for recognising, defining, and understanding events,” according to Professors Duan Wenling and Liu Jiali,of  China’s National Defense University.

They describe it as “publishing specific information on social media to influence the target audience's understanding of the real combat situation, and then shape their positions and change their actions.” Today, the concept of Information Disturbance in action is amply demonstrated by events in Ukraine and in Gaza,

The tactics used include the concept of Discourse Competition aimed at reinforcing pre-existing biases and manipulate emotions to influence and deepen a desired narrative. Another tactic is Public Opinion Blackout - this  aims to flood social media with a specific narrative to influence the direction of public opinion.  The main tool for this are bot networks that promote the chosen narrative, with the objective of cancelling alternative views. 

The goal is to generate confusion in the target audience's understanding of the truth and promote anxiety and suspicion to create a sense of insecurity and mistrust. 

China, through extensive research and development of their own platforms, understands the power of social media to shape narratives and cognition over events and actions.  Social media platforms are now viewed as one of the battlefields in this conflict.
 

It seeks to use the Internet as a powerful communication channel to influence conflict, subvert elections and promote stories that serve its long-term national interests.

PLA Daily:    CISA:    DefenseOne:     BBC:     NYTImes:   Reuters:      Image: pixabay

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