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Social Science and Public Policy

Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty

March 22, 2023 at 10:30am12:00pm

Eggers Hall, 341

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The Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, and the East Asia Program are proud to host Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and the C.K. Yen Chair at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

In “Trafficking Data,” Aynne Kokas looks at how technology firms in the two largest economies in the world, the United States and China, have exploited government policy (and the lack thereof) to gather information on citizens, putting U.S. national security at risk.

Kokas argues that U.S. government leadership failures, Silicon Valley’s disruption fetish, and Wall Street’s addiction to growth have fueled China’s technological goldrush. In turn, American complacency yields an unprecedented opportunity for Chinese firms to gather data in the United States and quietly send it back to China, and by extension, to the Chinese government.

Drawing on years of fieldwork in the US and China and a large trove of corporate and policy documents, “Trafficking Data” explains how China is fast becoming the global leader in internet governance and policy, and thus of the data that defines our public and private lives.

This event was first published on March 6, 2023 and last updated on March 10, 2023.

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