Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lambasted China for cybertheft in a policy discussion Monday in Silicon Valley, the heart of American technology.
“China has stolen massive quantities of American innovation,” he said at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, two days before the U.S. is scheduled to sign the first part of a trade deal with the communist country. “Innovation created at campuses right like this one I’m standing on — everything from genetically engineered crop seeds to self-driving car technology — they stole it. They didn’t have to invest or take risk.”
The federal government in recent weeks has grown more proactive in addressing cybersecurity concerns regarding China. The State Department acknowledged this month that it was prohibiting the use of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on government-issued devices, following similar action from the Pentagon.
Elsewhere, the Interior Department is reportedly planning to ground the use of 1,000 drones because of cybersecurity concerns about hardware manufactured in China.
Some conservative tech policy groups said Mr. Pompeo’s outreach would hopefully lead to more Big Tech cooperation with U.S. goals abroad.
Rachel Bovard, a senior adviser with internet Accountability Project, said Big Tech has been complicit in allowing its technology to facilitate the Chinese genocide of Uighur Muslims, and she said she hoped Mr. Pompeo pushed the tech titans for greater accountability.
“At some point, Big Tech has to choose between American values and corporate profits, and I’m hopeful Pompeo will remind them of this,” she said.
Mr. Pompeo also argued that President Trump’s national security team was “trying to reestablish deterrence, real deterrence, against the Islamic Republic.”
The secretary of state later had dinner with venture capitalists and tech industry leaders to discuss foreign policy, including Iran. A guest list for the dinner included Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. The State Department, Oracle and Andreessen Horowitz did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Trump has met privately with technology company executives throughout his tenure, including an October meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
In a recent radio interview with Rush Limbaugh, Mr. Trump revealed what Mr. Zuckerberg told him in private.
“I’d like to congratulate you, you’re number one on Facebook,” Mr. Trump said Mr. Zuckerberg told him.
A Facebook spokesman said Mr. Trump and Mr. Zuckerberg have held no other meeting since October.