Trump adviser warns China exporting tech authoritarianism

FILE - In this file photo dated Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, U.S. chief technology officer at the White House Michael Kratsios attends a press conference during a G7 Industry ministers meeting, in Turin, Italy. Technology adviser Michael Kratsios at the major technology conference WebSummit in Portugal on Thursday Nov. 7, 2019, warned about China exporting authoritarianism globally in parallel with its rise as a tech power. (Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA FILE via AP)
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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.q