471. Did Beijing Plan to Use the Pandemic to Steal Data on a Global Scale?

Did Beijing Plan to Use the Pandemic to Steal Data on a Global Scale?

China’s near total access to Americans’ personal data poses a clear and present national security risk


James Gorrie

James Gorrie
September 27, 2022


Could the CCP virus and its impact on Western economies and societies have actually been planned to facilitate China’s ongoing bid to rule the world through the capture and manipulation of billions of people’s individual data?

If that sounds like an exaggeration, that’s understandable.

Unfortunately, to deny the reality of what’s truly going on is wishful thinking. The reality is that the Chinese regime’s data theft operations have put U.S. national security and position of global leadership at risk.

The CCP Has Deep Data on Every Adult American

To accomplish such a feat, China has been incredibly forward-looking in its data theft operations, which it has been perpetrating against its trading partners for decades. Americans remain their top target, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been successful in its efforts.

“It is estimated that 80 percent of American adults have had all of their personal data stolen by the CCP, and the other 20 percent most of their personal data,” said Bill Evanina, former director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

That data would potentially include financial information, medical records, political preferences, buying habits, passwords to various accounts, and much more. Let that sink in for a moment.

Seeing the Pandemic in a Darker Light

It should put the last three years in a new and quite disturbing light—or darkness, if you will.

When one accounts for how much the world has changed—and continues to change–in the wake of the CCP virus and the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s impossible to ignore just how much Beijing has leveraged those events to its strategic advantage.

COVID-19 testing site
A man takes a COVID-19 test at a pop-up testing site in New York on July 11, 2022. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

COVID Testing Is a Trojan Horse

Since the very beginning, it’s apparent that Beijing has been accessing and harvesting personal data by processing COVID tests in a Google-like fashion on a global scale.

As I mentioned in a previous post, China is the main source of viral tests and analysis. Its offer to provide testing labs and facilities seems to have been nothing less than a massive operation to gather Americans’ data in order to mine it and gain strategically important information on as many of us as possible.

In a “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina said the labs were “modern-day Trojan horses.” Their true purpose was to help the Chinese regime gain a “foothold” to bring in equipment, collect DNA, and start “mining your data.”

That’s quite a statement. In essence, no such testing equipment and subsequent data mining would be possible on such a scale without a pandemic to justify it.

The CCP’s Long History of Data Theft

But, of course, the CCP’s data theft efforts didn’t begin or end with harvesting data from COVID tests. The regime has been using networking equipment and social media technology to spy and steal data for decades. Huawei and TikTok are just two of many examples of that practice. The net result is a tremendous strategic advantage for China. The CCP knows much more about Americans and the United States—which the CCP considers its adversary in every sense of the word—than Americans know about the Chinese.

Again, this isn’t hyperbole. It’s not just personal data but critical technological information that China is capturing at an unprecedented rate. The U.S. National Counterintelligence fears that “China is vacuuming up data about the U.S. and its citizens not just to steal secrets from U.S. companies or to influence citizens but also to build the foundation of technological hegemony in the not-too-distant future.”

Weaponizing Artificial Intelligence

But the CCP isn’t just capturing massive amounts of data on and from Western nations, which is bad enough. With no legal, moral, or ethical restraints, Beijing has likely weaponized artificial intelligence (AI) to gain strategic advantages from its data theft operations.

According to Stephen Yates, chief executive of consultancy firm DC International Advisory, with regard to the CCP’s abuse of the rest of the world’s data, “China has weaponized artificial intelligence and a lot of other studies of the human process in ways that civilized countries wouldn’t even allow, so we don’t have any way to really know what this dark window of the future might be.”

As noted in my Dec. 21, 2021, post, “Just as AI and genomics enable DNA manipulation to help the human body fight all kinds of diseases, this same technology can also be used to create unique pathogens that only impact specific people. DNA-specific weapons can target a race, a gender, or even a family or individual with a specific DNA structure. This isn’t just a possibility—it’s a probability, if not already a reality.”

In recent months, some national security authorities have also warned of the increasing likelihood of just such a reality coming to the fore. They point to the escalation by the CCP in its efforts to capture and control every bit of data that enters the country, no matter the source. The CCP is deadly serious in those efforts, particularly regarding data from American and other Western firms that have a presence in China.

Thinking otherwise is simply not justified. The CCP’s pandemic behavior showed the world just what kind of inhumanity its capable of in incontrovertible terms.

James R. Gorrie is the author of “The China Crisis” (Wiley, 2013) and writes on his blog, TheBananaRepublican.com. He is based in Southern California.



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