Hotline Bling: China, U.S. Work to Further Cybersecurity Pact

December 3, 2015

Tom Risen

U.S. and Chinese officials are continuing to coordinate against the threat of online crime and are working to ensure that hacking allegations do not lead to hostilities between the world powers.

On the heels of a meeting in the District of Columbia between high-level officials from both countries, the Department of Justice on Wednesday further delineated plans to address such hacking concerns. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping already have committed to the creation of a “hotline” between the two countries  to avoid “escalation of issues that may arise in the course of responding to cybercrime and other malicious cyber activities,” and the two nations aim to nail down the scope and procedures for the hotline before their next cybersecurity meeting in Beijing in June.

The idea of establishing emergency lines of communication that resemble the type of Cold War-era hotline set up between the U.S. and Russia to avoid escalation and paranoia centered around nuclear activity has gained traction in recent years, as countries are seeking to deal with an evolving cybersecurity landscape and hacking as a potential act of war.

In fact, China and the U.S. have recently set up a space hotline to avoid incidents in orbit, according to The Financial Times.

The two technological powers also have agreed their agencies will work together to tackle terrorism, child exploitation and online crime like fraud and the theft of trade secrets. Officials from both countries additionally will conduct a tabletop exercise next spring to test proposals regarding the partnership.

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