China: Cyberterror or Academic Research?

22 March 2010 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

A Chinese graduate student’s “paper on how to attack a small U.S. power grid sub-network in a way that would cause a cascading failure of the entire U.S.” was recently reported to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee. The paper entitled “Cascade-Based Attack Vulnerability on the U.S. Power Grid” was published in Safety Science a year ago. American scientists who read the paper agreed that there was no way that the power grid could be taken down as explained in the paper. Famous last words! The US is barely managing Cybersecurity and this paper should give us all pause to consider the implications.

Google Set to Depart

China is demanding that Google obey Chinese law as it departs which seem imminent now. Since Google entered China in 2006 it has been censoring content just as “China routinely blocks Internet content, shutting off access to sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.” The dominant search engine in China, Baidu continues to be successful albeit with Chinese censorship. Time will tell about other US based Internet companies such as Microsoft and whether they will stay in China and participate in Chinese censorship.

Chinese Media Furor

A recent report about a Chinese provincial Governor’s response to a scandal led to “rare display of unity, journalists, lawyers, academics and activists posted a letter of protest on the Internet demanding the Governor’s resignation.” Li Hongzhong, the Governor of Hubei Province, was incensed that a reporter had the gall to question him about a waitress at a karaoke bar killed a government official in self-defense. The waitress was later released and the Governor got a lot of heat on the Internet. Given the economic power and population, the Internet will continue to impact China whether the Chinese government wants the Internet impact or not.

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