Trump pledges ‘zero tolerance’ for Chinese hackers

Greg Nash

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is vowing to enforce a “zero tolerance policy” for China’s digital theft of U.S. corporate secrets if elected.

He made the pledge as part of a policy paper on U.S.-China trade released Tuesday.

{mosads}“China’s government ignores this rampant cyber crime and, in other cases, actively encourages or even sponsors it — without any real consequences,” the paper says. “China’s cyber lawlessness threatens our prosperity, privacy and national security.”

The paper is one of the first major forays into cybersecurity for Trump, who has been leading most national polls for the Republican presidential nomination in recent months.

Trump’s insistence that he will take a strong stand against China economically has helped the business mogul and reality TV star in his surge to the top of the polls.

Security experts and the White House have accused China of waging a major cyber campaign to pilfer corporate secrets from American companies. That information is then allegedly passed along to Chinese companies, helping them to develop technology faster and compete more aggressively on the global market.

As Trump’s team points out in the paper, reports have said this cyber theft costs the U.S. economy upwards of $300 billion each year. Former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander has referred to it as the greatest transfer of wealth in history.

“We will enforce stronger protections against Chinese hackers and counterfeit goods and our responses to Chinese theft will be swift, robust, and unequivocal,” the paper vows, though it does not detail any specific laws or policies Trump would change.

The paper also touches on technology laws being advanced in China that foreign firms decry as protectionist. The new rules, they argue, could force foreign businesses to hand over proprietary source code for inspection.

Trump sees evidence of this already happening in China.

“The Chinese government also forces American companies like Boeing, GE, and Intel to transfer proprietary technologies to Chinese competitors as a condition of entry into the Chinese market” the paper says.

“Such de facto intellectual property theft represents a brazen violation of [World Trade Organization] and international rules,” it adds. “China’s forced technology transfer policy is absolutely ridiculous.”

To counteract this move, Trump’s team pledges, “We will adopt a zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer.”

Tuesday’s paper is Trump’s most detailed take on cybersecurity in his months on the campaign trail.

But the real estate magnate is not alone in his choice to not focus on cyber. At best, cybersecurity has been a tangential issue during the GOP debates, and most candidates have not made it a central part of their campaigning.

Trump’s campaign released the paper hours ahead of the fourth GOP presidential debate, which is scheduled to focus on economic issues, likely including China.

“If China wants to trade with America, they must agree to stop stealing and to play by the rules,” Trump’s paper says.

Tags Cybercrime Donald Trump Economy of China
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