China is making an effort to "find new sources of revenue" after it appears to have weakened over the last few months. But a cyberintelligence expert warns that the communist state is turning to more advanced ways of carrying out espionage, by way of technology.
"We see a weakening China, which is not what they are telling the world they are [economically]," cyberintelligence pioneer and former chief technology officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency Bob Gourley explained, as reported by The Epoch Times. "It's going to put a lot of stress and pressure on them to find new sources of revenue."
Because of this, Gourley said that these "new sources of revenue" include the "exploitation of intellectual property, more ransomware, more direct theft electronically." He remarked that the "near future" will be filled with "a lot of dangers from Chinese surveillance."
Surveillance that is used in AI is then coordinated and correlated to user data and can be analyzed and attributed to a certain individual, Gourley explained. He added, "This is a real threat when a surveillance state like China puts [its] computing power behind it."
At stake here is the world's social media data, which high-tech surveillance states through AI can use to produce a profile based on what people are doing, their location, and their associates. This is what Gourley describes as "new threats."
In March 2021, think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) reported that China's officials, state-run media, and hackers can openly use Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube, which are blocked for the general Chinese public. These entities have been shown to be more active in Twitter and Facebook.
Also in March 2021, Facebook said it blocked Chinese hackers from using the social media platform to track Uyghur activists who lived outside China, including journalists and dissidents in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Syria, Turkey, and Kazakhstan, CNBC reported. Hackers worked to create fake Facebook accounts to befriend a target and then urge them to click on a link that could compromise their devices.
Gourley warned that the west must speak up and it must do so now. He said, "If it makes us timid and afraid to speak out, it hurts us. Protecting our freedom of speech requires mitigating this threat of global surveillance from China."
Gourley advised that the U.S. must treat private information as a weapon against China's surveillance over individuals all over the world "because they are weaponizing our personal information."
Another dangerous factor is the "digital Belt and Road initiative" of China, in which it gains access to private data by providing IT and computing power to other countries. Gourley said that these countries are bound to China with "long-term contracts" which these countries do not fully grasp. He argued that the countries "rarely understand the fact that China now has access to their data. Such data can then be used for the regime's profit and military purposes.
The same is already occurring in the U.S. In 2021, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) warned that China has used investments in U.S. biotech companies and partnerships with hospitals and universities to reach U.S. health care and genetic data. China's genetics giant BGI Group has also been questioned for its aggressive push to provide COVID test kits adn support laboratories all over the world because of data security concerns.