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China’s “New IP” sounds like Orwell’s “New Speak”

The criminal government of China, through one of their working arms called Huawei, are proposing to replace the underlying protocol of the Internet with a new protocol they call “New IP”. And if you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that this is serious cause for concern as neither the criminal Chinese government nor Huawei can be trusted. Here’s from DNYUZ, “China and Huawei propose reinvention of the internet” (March 27th 2020):

The telecoms group Huawei, together with state-run companies China Unicom and China Telecom, and the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), jointly proposed a new standard for core network technology, called “New IP”, at the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The proposal has caused concerns among western countries including the UK, Sweden and the US, who believe the system would splinter the global internet and give state-run internet service providers granular control over citizens’ internet use. It has gained the support of Russia, and potentially Saudi Arabia, according to western representatives at the ITU.

“Below the surface, there is a huge battle going on over what the internet will look like,” said a UK delegate to the ITU, who asked not to be named.

“You’ve got these two competing visions: one which is very free and open and . . . government hands-off . . . and one which is much more controlled and regulated by governments.” 

But a forthcoming paper for Nato by Oxford Information Labs, a cyber security company, whose authors are also UK delegates to the ITU, warns that New IP will enable “fine-grained controls in the foundations of the network” and that the Chinese approach “will lead to more centralised, top-down control of the internet and potentially even its users, with implications on security and human rights”.

This is in line with what I described in my post “China’s New Cybersecurity Program: NO Place to Hide”.

At Infosecurity Magazine we read the following in “NATO Report Warns of New Authoritarian Chinese Splinternet” (March 31st 2020):

Even worse, the New IP model for a decentralized internet infrastructure (DII) will undermine security and embed “fine-grained controls in the foundations of the network” — ultimately putting more control into the hands of the ISPs.

“New IP would centralize control over the network into the hands of telecoms operators, all of which are either state run or state-controlled in China,” the report authors told Infosecurity. “So, internet infrastructure would become an arm of the Chinese state.”

New IP also includes plans for an object identifier resolution system to replace the current Domain Name System (DNS), ostensibly to improve performance, stability, privacy and security. But Oxil claimed: “The use of alternate technologies for identification on the internet and the DNS would lead to less predictability in cyberspace and new questions around norms and governance.”

It also criticized the New IP plans for distributed ledger technology (DLT), which China claimed is necessary to counter overt centralization of internet architecture, in the hands of IANA, CAs and other bodies. In the Chinese model, governments are likely to have control over the DLT, thus enabling mass surveillance, Oxil argued.

“It is not uncommon for language of ‘trust’ to replace ‘security’ in Chinese DII-related discussions. This is concerning because it indicates that the principle of ‘security by design’ – at least in the Western context – is not being adopted in DII’s development. In the long-term this could negatively impact cybersecurity globally,” the report claimed.

Lightreading adds the following to this in “‘New IP’ is an actual Huawei threat to networks” (April 1st 2020):

Huawei’s important additional role here is as the major supplier to telcos in many developing countries. It is these governments that are likely the biggest enthusiasts for a manageable Internet without being hectored by Western governments about openness and freedom. And Huawei staff are on hand to help them build it.

I’ve discussed a couple of cases in the past where Huawei engineers were helping governments in other countries to spy on people.

To me, China’s “New IP” sounds a lot like what George Orwell called “New Speak”:

Newspeak is the language of Oceania, a totalitarian superstate that is the setting of George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). To meet the ideological requirements of English Socialism (Ingsoc) in Oceania, the ruling Party created Newspeak, a controlled language of simplified grammar and restricted vocabulary, meant to limit the freedom of thought—personal identity, self-expression, free will—that threatens the ideology of the régime of Big Brother and the Party, who have criminalised such concepts into thoughtcrime, as contradictions of Ingsoc orthodoxy.

Similarly, “New IP” is to become the new language of devices on the Internet that can easily be monitored, controlled and censored by criminal totalitarian governments around the world.

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