US State Department will create its great firewall

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced a plan to create a “clean network” that involves an integrated approach to protecting the privacy of citizens and the most confidential information of companies from aggressive intrusions by attackers. The document provides for a ban on Chinese applications, providers and cloud services, as well as the protection of underwater communications. It is not clear how the program will be implemented technically. But the idea itself is very similar to the Chinese (Great Firewall) and Russian (Cheburnet) counterparts.

Last week, the administration of US President Donald Trump unveiled a massive program of measures against the largest Chinese companies. So far, these measures have not been put into effect, and in general they are formulated very vaguely. However, they can potentially seriously harm the tech giants from the Middle Kingdom.

The Clean Grid project includes six main initiatives.

  1. Pure operator… Prohibit “unreliable operators from China” from connecting to American telecommunication networks. They pose a threat to the national security of the country, and therefore do not have the right to provide international telecommunications services in and from the United States. China Mobile, the largest Chinese mobile operator, is under threat, which may lose access to American networks and will not be able to provide its subscribers with roaming in America.
  2. Clean shops… Remove “untrustworthy” apps developed by Chinese companies from US app stores (hello TikTok). Applications created in the PRC threaten the privacy of Americans’ data, spread propaganda and disinformation, and contain viruses. Under threat are Chinese companies developing applications popular around the world. The only way out for them is to sell the project to American owners, as can happen with the brainchild of ByteDance. The danger looms not only over TikTok, but also over WeChat, Likee and Zynn, which are very popular applications in the USA (and in Russia).
  3. Clean applications… Prohibit unreliable Chinese smartphone manufacturers from pre-installing or making available for download American applications. And law-abiding companies should remove their apps from the Huawei App Store to make sure they don’t partner with human rights abusers. This is one of the toughest points in terms of measures affecting the interests of Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and other Chinese smartphone manufacturers (and they account for about a third of the total market).
  4. Clear cloud… Eliminate the storage and processing of sensitive personal information of US citizens and the most valuable intellectual property of US businesses, including research on coronavirus vaccines, in cloud systems powered by Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent. Chinese clouds in the United States are not very strong, but many Chinese companies operating in the United States work with them.
  5. Clean cable… Prevent the use of submarine cables connecting the United States to the global Internet for intelligence gathering by the PRC’s intelligence services. In order to protect its interests, the United States also intends to cooperate with other states, jointly controlling submarine cables around the world.
  6. Clean path… This point of the plan, announced by Pompeo, was not disclosed. Therefore, one can only guess what the American lawmakers had in mind. But hardly something good and kind. Therefore, the further development of the event is closely watched far beyond America’s borders – too many interests are involved in the confrontation between the United States and China.

Meme popular now in the USA

It is not yet clear if this plan will be put into action, and how everything will be. The experts were divided into three camps. One says that it will be a second “great Chinese firewall”, tightly filtering everything that is not pleasing to the Chinese authorities. Others argue that the Russian version of creating a sovereign Internet is more realistic, when there is a lot of talk and little action. Still others are sure that a fundamentally new monster will turn out, absorbing all the worst from both concepts. In the meantime, the activity of US officials testifies to a poor understanding of how networks function, and a lack of understanding of how all this will be implemented.

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