Though Google Chairman Eric Schmidt may have been quite open to the idea of opening digital borders to pariah state North Korea, which he visited recently and called for loosening its strict isolationist stance, it seems he is not too favourable of North Korea’s most influential backer, China, which in a book he branded an “IT menace.”
China has had a patchy relationship with western countries when it comes to information technology being blamed for rampant piracy as well as serial hacking, which in the most recent case, saw it being accused by the New York Times for perpetrating a hack attack in to the paper’s website, hacking into personal accounts and emails. Of course China has denied these claims but Schmidt was adamant in his accusation, labelling the country "the most sophisticated and prolific" hacker, writing in his yet to be released book, The New Digital Age.
In a review of the book, which is to be released in April, by the Wall Street Journal, Schmidt calls China "the world's most active and enthusiastic filterer of information,” going on to say that the ‘willingness’ of both the Chinese government and its companies to use hacking and cyber crimes ultimately gives the country a political and monetary edge. In the book, co-written with Jared Cohen, Schmidt writers, “The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States as a distinct disadvantage,” because “the United States will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violates the American sense of fair play,” adding, “This is a difference in values as much as a legal one.”
Of course this fear of Chinese hacking seems to be pervasive as along with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal too claimed that hackers from China tried to find their way into the paper’s computer systems to monitor to its coverage on China. Indeed many governments have complained of Chinese efforts to infiltrate their computer systems as well.
But Schmidt, while denouncing China’s activities also said that it was exemplary and that governments could learn from it, as it had been able to develop very strong ties between technology companies and the state, saying that "Where Huawei gains market share, the influence and reach of China grow as well."