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  • Author: Aaron Shull
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Examining global cybercrime as solely a legal issue misses an important facet of the problem. Understanding the applicable legal rules, both domestically and internationally, is important. However, major state actors are using concerted efforts to engage in nefarious cyber activities with the intention of advancing their economic and geostrategic interests. This attempt to advance a narrow set of economic interests through cybercrime and economic cyber espionage holds to the potential to erode the trust in the digital economy that has been a necessary condition for the success of the Internet as an economic engine for innovation and growth. By pursuing these efforts, states are prioritizing short-term interests over long-term stability and a responsibly governed, safe and secure Internet platform. This paper explores the recent unsealing of a 31-count indictment against five Chinese government officials and a significant cyber breach, perpetrated by Chinese actors against Western oil, energy and petrochemical companies. The paper concludes by noting that increased cooperation among governments is necessary, but unlikely to occur as long as the discourse surrounding cybercrime remains so heavily politicized and securitized. If governments coalesced around the notion of trying to prevent the long-term degradation of trust in the online economy, they may profitably advance the dialogue away from mutual suspicion and toward mutual cooperation.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Crime, International Trade and Finance, Terrorism, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia