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China has stolen enough data from the US to compile a “dossier” on every single American adult — material used to “influence and intimidate, reward and blackmail, flatter and humiliate, divide and conquer” — a Senate panel has been warned.
Matthew Pottinger, a deputy national security adviser for the Trump administration, sounded the alarm about Beijing’s perusal of data during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
“Assembling dossiers on people has always been a feature of Leninist regimes but Beijing’s penetration of digital networks worldwide has taken this to a new level,” Pottinger told the panel Wednesday.
“The party compiles dossiers on millions of foreign citizens around the world, using the material it gathers to influence and intimidate, reward and blackmail, flatter and humiliate, divide and conquer.
“Beijing has stolen sensitive data sufficient to build a dossier on every American adult — and on many of our children too.”
China is exploiting US social media platforms, Pottinger said, and using them to spread propaganda.
“Over the past few years, Beijing has flooded US platforms with overt and covert propaganda, amplified by proxies and bots,” he said.
“The propaganda is focused not only on promoting whitewashed narratives of Beijing’s policies but also on exacerbating social tensions within the United States and other target nations.”
He argued that the US government should stop funding technologies in China — such as facial recognition and data mining — that Beijing can use to advance its surveillance.
The US and its allies last month slammed China for a wide range of “malicious cyber activities,” including the massive hack of Microsoft’s email service that exposed the private information of thousands of Americans.
The White House accused China at the time of fostering “an intelligence enterprise that includes contract hackers who also conduct unsanctioned cyber operations worldwide.”
The Justice Department also revealed last month that four Chinese nationals had been charged for allegedly working with China’s Ministry of State Security to hack into the systems of companies, universities and governments to steal information.
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