UK considers new restrictions on sensitive tech amid China cyber concerns

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  • UK considers imposing new controls on China’s access to sensitive technologies following cyber espionage allegations
  • Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden warns of threats to national security and potential risks to economic security interests

In response to allegations of cyber espionage, the UK is contemplating implementing new restrictions on China’s access to sensitive technologies. Oliver Dowden, the country’s deputy prime minister, announced a review of these restrictions, citing concerns that hostile states could use British funds and technology for military and intelligence projects that pose a threat to national security. Dowden highlighted the risks of rival nations accessing technology developed in UK universities, emphasizing the need to protect the country’s economic security interests.

The review could potentially lead to tighter export controls and restrictions on overseas investments, with a focus on semiconductors, AI, and other sensitive technologies. This move comes after the UK joined the US in sanctioning hackers linked to the Chinese government, following accusations of cyber attacks on UK institutions. Additionally, the UK has already banned Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from its 5G network and restricted sales of quantum computers with military applications.

While there were discussions about listing genomics as critical infrastructure due to concerns about genetic data harvesting by China’s BGI group, lawmakers have decided that current rules are sufficient. Despite the tensions with China, Dowden also named Iran, Russia, and North Korea as countries posing threats in the realm of sensitive technologies. The UK’s response to these challenges underscores the growing importance of tech in global geopolitical tensions.

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