US to China: stop this cyber-espionage. Beijing: What cyber-espionage?

Interesting. Up to now the US has not directly (or at least publicly) accused the Chinese regime of cyber-espionage. This NYTimes story suggests that there’s been a change of heart.

WASHINGTON — The White House demanded Monday that the Chinese government stop the widespread theft of data from American computer networks and agree to “acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace.

The demand, made in a speech by President Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, was the first public confrontation with China over cyberespionage and came two days after its foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, rejected a growing body of evidence that his country’s military was involved in cyberattacks on American corporations and some government agencies.The White House, Mr. Donilon said, is seeking three things from Beijing: public recognition of the urgency of the problem; a commitment to crack down on hackers in China; and an agreement to take part in a dialogue to establish global standards.

I’m a bit sceptical about allegations that there is a lot of IP theft by the Chinese, partly because of the provenance of many of the allegations. But then again, maybe it’s a bit like banks and cyber-crime: they’re reluctant to admit that they’ve been hacked in public. Maybe IP-rich companies are behaving the same way. Either way, it’d be nice to see some evidence.