China’s Draft Cybersecurity Law Has Scary Implications

China cybersecurity draft law

Last week, China’s government released a new draft of their cybersecurity law. Consistent with past regulations, the law gives the government expanded control over the Internet in China, granting the Cyberspace Administration of China and its director the authority to make sweeping Internet policy decisions.

While this is nothing new for the country, it is worrying to see the government’s control increase and to see existing censorship practices put into writing. The draft law upholds the longstanding content restrictions in China (pornography, political material, foreign sites and many domestic sites). It also includes a mandate for service providers to shut off Internet access during “major social security incidents,” and a requirement that companies store user data in locations within China.

“Laws of this nature are anathema to the continued operation of the Internet: they represent a move towards nation based “intra nets,” inhibit the proper operation of cloud computing platforms, and represent a disturbing trend towards regulation of content using technical measures,” said David Snead, Co-founder and Chair, Public Policy Working Group at I2 Coalition.

The proposed law may also have effects on foreign business. Although those effects aren’t yet clearly defined, they are concerning for the marketplace.

“Competition cannot occur when governments intercede in the marketplace to suppress foreign competitors and benefit local incumbents. Whether such intervention is in fact motivated by “public morals” concerns or is merely protectionism clothed as such, is ultimately irrelevant if it violates international commitments,” said Matt Schruers, Vice President Law & Policy, CCIA.

As a company committed to a free and open Internet, Golden Frog also finds these regulations alarming. Even more alarming are some similarities in the law to policies currently being debated in the United States.

“It’s interesting that China wants encryption backdoors, too,” said Sunday Yokubaitis, President of Golden Frog. “In some ways the USA is beginning to look more like China than Europe, especially as we continue to balance economics issues with national security interests.”

For more information on how Golden Frog protects a free and open Internet, visit: https://www.goldenfrog.com/about-us/vision-paper

For more on China’s draft cybersecurity law, visit: http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/09/what-you-need-to-know-about-chinas-draft-cybersecurity-law/