My law firm opened an office in Beijing a couple of weeks ago, and I went to the ceremonies, met with clients, and, most entertainingly, I spent half an hour being interviewed about cybersecurity on China’s English-language TV program, Dialogue.
It was a bit weird. The pert interviewer managed to deftly combine the style of a Katie Couric with the content of a Chinese government official. Whenever I seemed to be veering into dangerous territory, the otherwise polite woman was quick to cut me off. And she was relentless in pressing the Chinese line.
Rough paraphrase of some fencing from around minute 20:
Host: “There has been a lot of fingerpointing about the source of attacks. Can you defend this fingerpointing now that you’re out of government?”
Baker: “Well, it’s unfortunate but inevitable given the massive scope of the attacks in the last decade. We are used to fingerpointing at the US, but it is striking that China is being accused so widely in places like India and Brazil. There will be an impact on the Chinese economy from these concerns.”
Host: “But it’s hard to present concrete evidence. Isn’t this all subjective perception? Maybe the perceptions aren’t right. What kind of evidence should governments provide as a matter of fairness when they make such provocative claims?”
Baker: Well, it’s very hard to get perfect evidence by tracking attackers from one machine to the next. But sometimes you can look at the kinds of information that is being government stolen, and ask what governments want that information; that provides a clue about who is stealing the data.”
Host: “But couldn’t the hackers just pretend to steal certain kinds of information to make it look like someone else had done it, couldn’t they?”
Like I said, she was good, and relentlessly on message.
UPDATE: Typos corrected