Op-Ed Contributors

The uncertainties of cyberspace

Updated: 2011-07-02 07:53

By Shen Yi (China Daily)

Twitter Facebook Myspace Yahoo! Linkedin Mixx

Since US Internet policy is provocative, it ought to work with nations like China to make the virtual world safe and stable

The New York Times reported last month that the US State Department had helped develop an "Internet suitcase", which could build a shadow network in certain countries giving users direct access to the virtual world without using local communication infrastructure. It is feared that the product will be used to help dissidents in countries where governments have strong control over cyberspace.

Related readings:
The uncertainties of cyberspace 'Shadow Internet' and US hypocrisy
The uncertainties of cyberspace US seeks 'Shadow' Internet, mobile networks in repressive countries
The uncertainties of cyberspace Internet rules at center of 'e-G8' forum in Paris
The uncertainties of cyberspace Real world challenges of cyberspace

This shows the complexity of cyberspace. On one hand, nearly all countries agree that global cooperation should be deepened to regulate global cyberspace. On the other, some countries want to take advantage of their expertise in information technology (IT) to impose their authority over others. This became even more evident after the United States issued its first international cyberspace strategy in May.

The US is trying to combine different principles, strategies and polices to deal with a range of problems, including the security of key information systems, information-based economy and IT-sponsored diplomacy, which are linked to a united strategic framework.

The unclassified sections of the US Defense Department's new cyber strategy - published in June - is designed to make it clear to other countries that they can be held responsible for cyber attacks launched from within their borders.

These two new strategies and the speeches on Internet freedom by US State Secretary Hillary Clinton - together with specific remarks, interviews and responses to developments in North Africa and the Middle East since December - have created a serious challenge not only for Sino-US strategic ties, but also international relations as a whole.

It's time to think systematically how to govern cyberspace to ensure its development and create as much benefits as possible for countries and international relations. As two of the largest countries both in the real and virtual worlds, China and the US have a special responsibility to cooperate in building a proper global regime to govern cyberspace.

Changing the perception of cyber security, developing a code of conduct, and building a collaborative structure to deal with different kinds of challenges are the three main tasks that decision-makers in Beijing and Washington face.

First, changing the perception of cyber security would help limit the negative effects that could disrupt strategic relations among big powers, especially China and the US. As Robert Jervis, professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, says in his Perception and Misperception in International Politics, decision-makers tend to learn from the experience of dealing with challenges not encountered before.

The US' new cyber strategy is obviously rooted in the legacy of the Cold War, according to which big powers should do everything possible to expand their influence and control as much as possible the new areas of strategic advantage.

   Previous Page 1 2 Next Page  


Shining through

Chinese fireworks overcome cloudy times, pin hopes on burgeoning domestic demand

Pen mightier than the sword
Stroke of luck
Romance by the sea

European Edition


90th anniversary of the CPC

The Party has been leading the country and people to prosperity.

My China story

Foreign readers are invited to share your China stories.

Green makeover

Cleanup of Xi'an wasteland pays off for ancient city

Vice-President visits Italy
Sky is the limit
Quest for green growth