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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Japan Moves Forward in Cyberspace

by Adam Segal
A Diet guard stands guards in front of the parliament building in Tokyo on December 26, 2012. (Yuriko Nakao/Courtesy Reuters) A Diet guard stands guards in front of the parliament building in Tokyo on December 26, 2012. (Yuriko Nakao/Courtesy Reuters)

As Rob Sheldon and Mihoko Matsubara have noted in previous guest posts, there has been a great deal of cybersecurity policy activity in Japan over the last year, both on the domestic and international fronts. In June 2013, Japan’s Information Security Policy Council released a new cybersecurity strategy. In October, the United States and Japan announced a new Cyber Defense Policy Working Group, and in the same month Japan released its first International Strategy on Cybersecurity. Read more »

Rob Sheldon: Advancing U.S.-Japan Collective Cyber Capabilities (Part III: Cooperation)

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters) Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters)

Rob Sheldon is a 2013-2014 Mansfield Fellow based in Tokyo. Follow him at @shorttelegrams. Also see Part I and Part II of this series.

As the United States and Japan seek to develop the capacity for collective operations in cyberspace, the overarching theme should be creating practical, functional forces, processes, and institutions. A stated goal of the policy should be to establish capabilities that are robust enough to address high-end threats, yet nimble enough to address normal, low-end, peacetime threats. Read more »

Rob Sheldon: Advancing U.S.-Japan Collective Cyber Capabilities (Part II: Practical Steps)

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters) Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters)

Rob Sheldon is a 2013-2014 Mansfield Fellow based in Tokyo. Follow him at @shorttelegrams. Also see Part I and Part III of this series.

Washington and Tokyo are clearly interested in continuing to increase cyber cooperation—potentially in the context of collective defense. Given the nature of the alliance, “collective cyber” should be more than just policy commitment; it should be undergirded by collective capabilities. Unfortunately for planners on both sides, there is little precedent from which to draw on building international-level interoperability in the cyber domain. In September 2011, the United States and Australia formally recognized their need to incorporate cyber in the Australia, New Zeleand, United States (ANZUS) treaty. Read more »

Rob Sheldon: Advancing U.S.-Japan Collective Cyber Capabilities (Part I: Context)

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters) Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters)

Rob Sheldon is a 2013-2014 Mansfield Fellow based in Tokyo. Follow him at @shorttelegrams. Also see Part II and Part III of this series.

After several years of incremental improvements, Washington and Tokyo are now more purposefully advancing their alliance into the cyber age. During the October 3, 2013, Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) meeting in Tokyo, cabinet members from both sides agreed to establish a new Cyber Defense Policy Working Group (CDPWG), intended to promote cyber cooperation between their respective defense establishments and governments. Official statements following the dialogue indicate that each side views this as a central achievement of the meeting and a key forum for future cooperation. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of October 4, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L), Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C), Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (2nd R), and Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera pose for photos during their meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on October 3, 2013. (Koji Sasahara/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L), Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C), Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (2nd R), and Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera pose for photos during their meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on October 3, 2013. (Koji Sasahara/Courtesy Reuters)

Will Piekos and Sharone Tobias look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Obama cancels Asia trip. U.S. President Barack Obama canceled a four-country tour of Asia, including Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines, in which he would have attended meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Indonesia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Brunei. The travel was canceled because of the U.S. government shutdown. Analysts say that canceling the Asia trip, after Obama had previously committed to attending these summits every year, could deal a blow to the administration’s pivot to Asia. Secretary of State John Kerry will lead the U.S. delegation instead. Read more »

Will the NSA Revelations Kickstart the Domestic Cybersecurity Industry in China?

by Adam Segal
Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, delivers a speech at the Brazil Infrastructure Opportunity event in New York, September 25, 2013. Rousseff is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. (Chip East/Courtesy Reuters) Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, delivers a speech at the Brazil Infrastructure Opportunity event in New York, September 25, 2013. Rousseff is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. (Chip East/Courtesy Reuters)

One of the common arguments in the wake of the Snowden revelations about NSA surveillance is that other countries are going to double down on developing their own technology industries to reduce their dependence on U.S. companies. The Chinese press has made this argument numerous times–highlighting how IBM, Cisco, Intel and others have penetrated Chinese society–and this was one of the themes in Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s address to the United Nations General Assembly: “Brazil will redouble its efforts to adopt legislation, technologies and mechanisms to protect us from the illegal interception of communications and data.” Read more »

Lynx, Mukden, Mooncakes, and Chinese Hackers

by Adam Segal
Freshly-baked mooncakes pass along a conveyor belt at a mooncakes factory in Shanghai on September 12, 2013. (Aly Song/Courtesy Reuters) Freshly-baked mooncakes pass along a conveyor belt at a mooncakes factory in Shanghai on September 12, 2013. (Aly Song/Courtesy Reuters)

After a summer dominated by revelations of U.S. espionage and offensive cyber operations, Chinese hackers are back in the news. Three stories do a good job of illustrating that Chinese hackers are not a monolithic group, but rather multiple actors with manifold motivations. Read more »

China’s Internet Suppression Tactics Diffuse into Southeast Asia

by Joshua Kurlantzick
Anti-government protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks use an iPad in front of riot policemen during a rally outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on June 9, 2013. (Chaiwat Subprasom/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-government protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks use an iPad in front of riot policemen during a rally outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on June 9, 2013. (Chaiwat Subprasom/Courtesy Reuters)

In an excellent new piece on Voice of America (VOA) news, Steve Herman analyzes how several nations in Southeast Asia appear to be moving to “emulate China” in the way that these countries, like China, regulate and harshly restrict social media. In Thailand, for example, which has one of the harshest climate for Internet speech in the world—despite being theoretically a democracy—the government is now moving to crack down on Facebook users who just post or “like” any articles that could be deemed insulting to the Thai monarchy. Unlike in most other countries that still have lèse-majesté laws on the books, Thailand actually enforces its  lèse-majesté laws, and anyone—not just the king, queen, and other royals—can file a lèse-majesté charge against anyone else in Thailand. As a result, the  lèse-majesté law has become an oppressive tool of political repression by all sides in Thailand’s never ending political drama. Read more »

Charles T. McClean: Getting Out the Youth Vote in Japan

by Guest Blogger for Sheila A. Smith
Interns of the non-profit organization Dot JP celebrate the end of their two-month internships in the offices of Japanese politicians from the Kansai region September 22, 2012 (Courtesy of Dot JP's Facebook page). Students from the Kansai region celebrate the end of their two-month internships in the offices of Japanese politicians, which were arranged by the non-profit organization Dot JP September 22, 2012 (Courtesy of Dot JP).

Charles T. McClean is a Research Associate for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Japan’s future is the subject of headlines these days, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s victory in the latest election has focused attention on his policy agenda. Yet much remains uncertain about what this summer’s election means for Japan’s future. The decade-long experiment in political reform in Japan seems to have come to an end, and many read the return to power of the Liberal Democratic Party as a mandate for stability and a return to the political practices of the past. Read more »

Blair Rapalyea: Brazil, Internet Freedom, and Foreign Surveillance

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a meeting of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on February 6, 2013. (Ueslei Marcelino/Courtesy Reuters) Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacts during a meeting of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia on February 6, 2013. (Ueslei Marcelino/Courtesy Reuters)

Several previous posts have covered China’s reaction to PRISM, the NSA’s surveillance program revealed by Edward Snowden. While Brazil usually falls outside of Asia Unbound’s coverage, this guest post by Blair Rapalyea, an intern for the Cybersecurity and Cyberconflict Initiative at the Council on Foreign Relations, shows how another emerging Internet power is reacting. There are some notable similarities—a focus on domestic technology and a look to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to play a greater role in Internet governance—but also some important differences as Brazil champions individual and Internet rights. Read more »