by Emily TaylorFiona Pollock
Chinese representation through key leadership roles in technical standards risks creating imbalances, and at worst could result in the adoption of standards that turn the network into an instrument of surveillance
China is seeking dominance over the shape of emerging technologies by taking up leadership positions across multiple international organizations that influence norms and standards. China’s positioning and astute use of process within digital technical standards bodies initially caught democratic countries napping. An effective response from the West will require coordination and cooperation between two groups that have not always seen eye to eye: governments and some participants in the industry-led standards bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Despite the G7 governments’ continuing support for industry-led, multistakeholder standards processes, some in the IETF remain distrustful of governments and are uncomfortable with their new-found A-lister status in geopolitical declarations.
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