Former CIA officer Nicholas Eftimiades warned that sensitive British technology and research remained vulnerable to exploitation by the Chinese military. Mr Eftimiades believes British high-tech innovations in facial recognition and advanced communications could fall into the hands of Xi Jinping’s totalitarian regime. The explosive claim comes on the heels of reports that UK authorities are trying to identify UK academics suspected of transmitting valuable information to Beijing.
Mr Eftimiades has worked in the US intelligence community for 30 years and believes the UK’s failure to tighten export regulations has left the country’s technology vulnerable.
He told Express.co.uk: “The UK is a really unique case and it is because of its legal structure.
“I mean in the United States, we have the international arms trafficking regulations, we have ITAR. We have export enforcement regulations.
“So we’re very, very heavily regulated as to what kind of technology can be exported and under what conditions. UK not so much.”
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The famous Chinese intelligence operations expert continued, “Technology that can be used for nuclear weapons purposes, which is heavily regulated in the UK.
“But not so many others, so you find the UK in collaborative academic and industrial relations with China.
“Microsatellite development [microsatellite] capabilities, develop software for facial recognition programs that sort of thing.
“While the government might call it espionage or might call it sensitive technology, in fact, it is not illegal technology.”
In May, the Mail on Sunday reported that specialists from the Foreign Office and the Special Branch had tracked the number of academics suspected of passing British tech secrets to Chinese officials.
The high-level investigation reportedly focused on the activities of the universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Imperial College, according to the Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail report also states that none of the institutions were aware of or directly involved in wrongdoing.
The University of Manchester was forced to abandon a deal with a Chinese tech company earlier this year after it was revealed that the company’s apps were being used by Chinese security forces in oppressing the marginalized Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.