China: Regime ‘doesn’t care about life’ says Wang Ting-yu
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In a rare interview, Mr Moore, known as C, said the “traps” threatened to “erode sovereignty” and have prompted defensive measures in the UK. It came ahead of his first major public speech since taking on the role as head of the secret service. The former secret agent took the decision to speak more openly about his work as he said it was important in a modern democracy.
He told the BBC: “The way in which China goes about its work in developing AI, in particular, it is tying to harvest data from around the world.
“It is also trying to use influence from its economic policies to get people on the hook.
“I talk about data traps and debt traps.
“They will use them for leverage.”
Mr Moore is giving a rare speech today where he described the impact of emerging technologies as a “white-hot focus” for his spies.
They are said to be dealing with increasingly tech-savvy rivals like China and Russia.
He added: “If you allow another country to gain access to critical data about your country, over time that will erode your sovereignty.
“You no longer have control of that data.
“That’s something that, in the UK, we are very alive to and we have taken measures to defend against.
“I’m very keen that people understand that.”
Mr Moore will warn today that the UK’s adversaries are investing heavily in areas like artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology.
But he told BBC listeners that it didn’t take a genius to work out that it is being used as leverage.
He continued: “I don’t think you need secret agents to take this.
“President Xi has been clear that China is now in a more assertive role.
“Some of that is perfectly legitimate, but it also the case that China is controlled by an authoritarian regime that do not share our values.
“We need to be very robust in fighting our corner.”
Mr Moore will call for a sea-change” for an agency that traditionally relied primarily on its own, internal capabilities to develop the equipment needed to stay secret and effective.
But in today’s world – where technology companies are among the leading developers of kit that has the ability to transform daily life – that has to change.
Mr Moore will say: “We must become more open, to stay secret.”
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