Event Recap: Assessing Asia’s Digital Future

The panel focused primarily on 5G, data localization, and how emerging technologies pose national security threats. 


On July 24th the Developers Alliance attended a panel on Assessing Asia’s Digital Future hosted by the Heritage Foundation. The topic is an important one for developers looking to provide apps and services to a global internet audience. The panel included Robert Strayer, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cyber and International Communications and Information Policy, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the Department of State, and Jonathan Fritz, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of East Asian & Pacific Affairs for China, Mongolia, Taiwan & Hong Kong Affairs also at the Department of State.

Panelists emphasized the positive steps taken by the Trump administration to get ahead of the curve on technological risks, as evidenced by the Executive Order released this past March regarding EMPs and infrastructure. They additionally cited the importance of keeping untrusted vendors such as Huawei out of the core of networks in order to not compromise US intelligence and security. This is especially in light of known cases of cybertheft and IP-related crimes by the company and how impacted devices could possibly affect critical US infrastructure. 

Panelists also touched upon data localization, and noted that governments and companies alike should have data accountability. They indicated data localization policies “[have] the potential to evolve into quite a serious issue,” and that some country’s existing laws are meant more as data protectionism to benefit local economies. Further, there is no guarantee that the country at hand may follow the best data practices. Others country’s measures are seen as more legitimate in light of security, privacy, and law enforcement access to data. 

We continue to monitor developments in emerging infrastructure security and data localizations as they unfold.