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US government Strike Force aims to prevent adversaries from accessing disruptive tech

The US Strike Force law enforcement initiative will target rogue nation-states that pose a national security threat

The US government has launched the Disruptive Technology Strike Force, a collaboration of US law enforcement led by the Justice and Commerce Department, to stop hostile states gaining access to critical US technology.

The initiative, announced by Deputy Attorney General, Lisa O Monaco, focuses on preventing adversaries from violating US export controls, which restrict the sale of “dual use” technologies with both military and technology use.

The Strike Force, announced last week, will bring together experts to target illicit actors, harden US supply chains, and protect critical technological assets.

The US deputy attorney general said that there was a “new, blended, double threat” where nation-states are acting hand in hand with criminal groups, leading to attacks that are ever more “sophisticated, brazen and dangerous”. 

The collaboration follows the launch of the alleged Chinese spy balloon, which was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on 4 February.

Data harvesting

The US sees the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as aa particular threat. Its culture of “civil-military fusion” and its national security law requires any Chinese company with military application to make its data accessible to the government.

Monaco cautioned against the social media company TikTok, saying that the ability to weaponise data is on the rise as artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms enable the use of large datasets in increasingly sophisticated ways.

In 2020, the US government’s Committee on Foreign investment in the United States (CFIUS) ordered Chinese company ByteDance to divest TikTok because of fears of information sharing with the RPC’s government.

Chips Act

Last autumn, President Joe Biden signed the “Chips Act”, which has the stated aim of giving the US leadership in global chip production. The act restricts the transfer of technology where the transfers pose a risk to national security.

The US Commerce Department said it “had imposed new export controls on advanced computing and semiconductor components, cracking down on the PRC’s ability to acquire certain high-end chips”.

The US Department of Justice had concentrated its efforts to combat cyber crime and sanctions evasion.

The department has also updated its regulatory tools to ensure protection against foreign investments in US companies for potential national security risks, screening foreign investment in US companies for potential national security risks.

Monaco said that the Disruptive Technology Strike Force, which will identify early warning of threats to US critical assets, is essential to defend national security and the rule of law. The Department of Justice is pouring in resources to respond to nation-states which would exploit technology for its own interests.

Read more about China

  • The US Senate, federal agencies and state governments have banned TikTok from government devices due to concerns about data collection and China’s access to U.S. data.
  • Biden ramps up China chip sanctions. The war of words between China and the US has ramifications across the high-tech sector. We report on the latest developments.
  • Chinese companies supplying network components, known as IoT modules, post a greater long-term threat to UK security than the now banned 5G supplier Huawei, according to a study by a China expert and former diplomat.

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