The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, published an interesting study on the cybersecurity implications of the “decoupling” of Chinese and Western technology spheres and warns of more aggressive offensive cyber operations to come.

The study, “The Two Technospheres: Western-Chinese Technology Decoupling: Implications for Cybersecurity” focuses on digital decoupling—establishment of two “technospheres”, one driven by China and the other by companies and governments in Western nations. The study finds that technology decoupling is rapidly progressing with impacts on various sectors varying depending on how heavily they intersect with national security and personal privacy concerns. This has become a central aspect of managing national and global cybersecurity, also affecting economic competition, trade, and geopolitics.

Interestingly for a Washington report, the study acknowledges that unaligned states might see Western technologies as posing equal risk as Chinese technologies and that those concerns should be addressed proactively.

On the other hand, the study fails to take into account some other core differences driving the decoupling. For example, in China the focus is relatively higher on the cognitive effects information produces. Something that is generally ignored in the West. While the Western companies and governments are prioritizing free exchange of information, Chinese model advocates stronger national controls of information space. I previously wrote about some of that here

The study is available here:

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Marin Ivezic is a Cybersecurity & Privacy Partner in PwC Canada focused on risks of emerging technologies.