Trump adviser warns China exporting tech authoritarianism

Attendees applaud during the opening of the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

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LONDON (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump’s technology adviser warned Thursday about China exporting authoritarianism globally in parallel with its rise as a tech power.

Michael Kratsios, the U.S. chief technology officer, told a major technology conference, “if we don’t act now, Chinese influence and control of technology will not only undermine the freedoms of their own citizens, but all citizens of the world.”

Kratsios’s speech at Portugal’s Web Summit was the latest salvo in the U.S.-China battle for global tech dominance.

He claimed that while the U.S. and its allies have been cooperating to develop technology for good, China’s government “continues extending its authoritarianism abroad,” and specifically cited tech giant Huawei.

The U.S. has been lobbying allies to shun Huawei, which it says can be forced under a national security law to facilitate Chinese cyberespionage, though the company has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Kratsios said that despite the risks, Western businesses are still considering “opening their arms to Chinese companies” to build next generation mobile networks and develop key technologies like artificial intelligence.

Huawei rejected what it called Kratsios’ “false claims.”

“Cybersecurity and privacy protection are and will remain Huawei’s top priorities,” the company said in a statement.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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