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US, China manage to keep a straight face while promising to not hack each other's corps

Me? Breaking into businesses and stealing trade secrets? No!

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have announced an cyber-peace deal in which neither side will engage in commercial spying online.

"We have agreed that neither the US nor the Chinese government will conduct, or knowingly support, cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property – including trade secrets or other confidential business information – for commercial advantage," Obama said in a press conference on Friday.

"In addition we will work together, and with other nations, to promote international rules of the road for appropriate conduct in cyberspace."

As part of the no-hack pact, the two superpowers will share information about online threats and set up meetings to discuss hackers latest techniques. The US and China will also create a body of experts to look into computer network defenses.

On the Chinese side, this will include representatives from Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, Ministry of Justice, and the State Internet and Information Office. The US Secretary of Homeland Security and the US Attorney General will co-chair the group, with staff from the FBI, intelligence community, and other agencies.

The gang will meet twice a year to go over outstanding issues and discuss progress in online security. A hotline will also be established between the two nations to ensure a speedy response to online security issues as they come up.

President Xi began his state visit with protestations that China doesn't slurp commercial secrets from other countries, and is more hacked against than hacking. He called the peace deal "productive" in today's press conference.

But there are real doubts that the agreement will stick. Let's face it, working out who hacked whom is difficult, and it would be easy for any miscreant to route their attacks through a server in almost any country.

Crucially, the pact covers nothing about political or "national security" hacking, so expect to see plenty of this sort of stuff going forward. ®

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