According to the head of a British intelligence service, the United Kingdom must continue to invest heavily in quantum computing to counter Chinese supremacy.

In a lecture scheduled for today, GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming will warn that the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to tighten its domestic hold and expand its influence overseas by using technology such as digital currency and satellite systems.

The GCHQ is one of the UK’s most prominent intelligence services. According to an early draft of today’s speech at the RUSI think tank, Fleming will argue that technology has become a battlefield for power, values and influence

Fleming’s warnings

According to Fleming, without the collaborative activity of like-minded allies, the Chinese state’s different principles will be exported through technology. 

Fleming will warn about China’s Central Bank Digital Currencies — which he believes will allow Beijing to watch user transactions — and the BeiDou satellite system, which he claims will be used to track people. He will also warn that unsuccessful attempts by Chinese industry to implement new intellectual property rules reveal the influence of the Chinese state.

Fleming will highlight that Western intelligence agencies are observing lots of activity from Chinese intelligence agencies, including using debt leverage, obfuscated investments in important businesses and old-fashioned snooping to steal intellectual property and win influence.

UK National Quantum Technologies Programme

The GCHQ director will encourage the country to keep making major investments in quantum technology and other national security innovations. The UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme, inaugurated in 2014, has garnered almost £1 billion in public and private investment thus far.

“We know our security and prosperity will depend on mastering quantum capabilities”, the draft speech reads. “Our companies, universities and intelligence agencies cannot afford to be late to the quantum revolution, or to be relaxed about the extent to which others, perhaps especially in China, are watching our progress.”

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