With eye on cyber wars, US forms ‘Disruptive Technology’ strike force

WASHINGTON D.C.: Deputy Attorney-General Lisa Monaco announced the launch this week of a new "disruptive technology strike force" responsible for safeguarding American technology from hostile foreign entities and other national security threats.

The initiative will be a joint effort between the Justice Department and the US Commerce Department, and will work to prevent adversaries from "trying to siphon our best technology," she added, while addressing concerns about Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok.

Due to concerns that user data could be accessed by the Chinese government, in 2020 the US government’s "Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States" ordered Chinese company ByteDance to divest TikTok. The divestment has not taken place.

"I will note I do not use TikTok, and I would not advise anybody to do so because of these concerns. The bottom line is China has been quite clear that they are trying to mould and put forward the use and norms around technologies that advance their privileges, their interests," Monaco said.

According to US law enforcement officials, China is the largest threat to American technological innovation and economic security.

Reiterating this view, Monaco stressed, "China’s doctrine of ‘civil-military fusion’ means that any advance by a Chinese company with military application must be shared with the state. So if a company operating in China collects your data, it is a good bet that the Chinese government is accessing it."

To prevent China from acquiring advanced chips, in 2022 the Commerce Department implemented new export rules on computing and semiconductor components.

In 2022, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers called on President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to increase oversight of investments by US companies and individuals in China and other countries.