The Chinese government has passed a new legislation last week to curb terrorism and assist military operations abroad. The new law will have technological companies expose key information intended to aid in security measures.
The new legislation poses a challenge for China to balance between national security and digital privacy.
The complete details of the legislation is yet to be unveiled but under the draft law, telecommunication and internet services would be required to install government-accessible “backdoors” .
These ‘’backdoors’’ will provide encryption keys to public security authorities for any data stored on their servers.
This would mean that the Chinese government will have access to data such as corporate documents stored on a PRC-based cloud server, personal email and chat logs. This access will be permitted so as long threat to security is deemed to exist.
The new legislation will also require Internet Service Providers to report their encryption scheme to the departments responsible for encryption for examination.
According to the Chinese government, these legislations are not new and have already been implemented in the west.
The legislation was met with mixed sentiments from international associates. US President Barack Obama urged for the law to be changed for China to continue doing business with the US. Chinese officials however maintains that the law needs to be maintained and is only meant to enhance national security.
This legislation is deemed as a necessary security measure to counter the increasing unprecedented terrorist threats tat China faces. Currently , China faces threats from external groups like the Islamic State and also internally from minority rebels like the Uighur population.
The concern of lack in digital privacy pales alongside the importance of maintaining national security.
"This rule accords with the actual work need of fighting terrorism and is basically the same as what other major countries in the world do," said Li Shouwei, deputy head of the parliament's criminal law division under the legislative affairs committee.
An Weixing, head of the Public Security Ministry's counter-terrorism division also maintain China’s zero tolerance against terrorism.
"Terrorism is the public enemy of mankind, and the Chinese government will oppose all forms of terrorism," An said.
Technology companies with operations in China will need to familiarize themselves with the present draft in order to better understand the future direction of China’s Internet policy.