[TheRecord] U.S. counterintel hubs warns of foreign threats to emerging technologies

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center on Friday warned that China’s goals in certain key emerging technologies could give Beijing an advantage over the U.S. and its security interests.

In a new paper, the branch of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that China “has a goal of achieving leadership in various emerging technology fields by 2030.” It notes the country is also the “primary strategic competitor to the United States because it has a well resourced and comprehensive strategy to acquire and use technology to advance its national goals.”

The NCSC said that while technologies like quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and artificial intelligence can be “beneficial” they “warrant extra attention” by the private sector and others due to “their implications for security.”

The warning marks the latest attempt by the Biden administration to educate the private sector and the public about the risks of working with China — which senior officials, such as CIA Director Bill Burns, have said is the greatest strategic threat to the U.S.

The new document notes that Russia is “increasingly looking to talent recruitment” and other methods to notch advancements in emerging technologies, however “resource constraints” have forced Moscow to focus more on “indigenous” efforts.

The paper details the threats posed to various sectors, beyond the hacking of American intellectual property that Beijing has long been known for.

For instance, biotechnology “can be misused to create virulent pathogens that can target
our food supply or even the human population.”

“Genomic technology used to design disease therapies tailored to an individual also can be used to identify genetic vulnerabilities in a population,” it adds. “Large genetic databases that allow people’s ancestry to be revealed and crimes to be solved also can be misused for surveillance and societal repression.”

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