Washington Criticizes Chinese Cyber Security Law – China Needs To “Fully Adhere” to the Anti-Hacking Pact

Rafia Shaikh
China US cyber security
Russian-based Kaspersky and China-based DJI are two previous victims of a similar ban

Washington has criticized China's new cyber security law while discussing the need to "fully adhere" to an anti-hacking accord signed by the two countries. Brokered during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the US in 2015, the two countries had signed a pact that neither nation would knowingly engage in hacking for commercial advantages.

White House raises concerns about China's approach to cybersecurity and censorship

In an exchange between US National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Chinese State Councilor Guo Shengkun, Rice told Guo that the United States was concerned "about the potential impacts" of the law that China adopted in November. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said that Rice met with Chinese State Councilor to discuss the importance of adhering to the anti-hacking pact and to raise White House's concerns about the new law.

The new cybersecurity law aimed at combating hacking and terrorism introduces a number of critical provisions that could impact both user freedom online and the tech economy. The law requires companies to improve their network defense systems and demands for security reviews in what it calls the "critical" sectors. Foreign companies have said it would harm trade, as the list of critical sectors covers a wide range of businesses, including telecom, transportation, and finance.

Some of its provisions require companies to store data on servers located in China. It also demands tech companies to offer "technical support" to security agencies in their criminal investigations. Tech companies argue that the authorities may require them to disclose intellectual property, or worse, demand to create backdoor access in order to continue doing business.

Privacy and security advocates have warned that the law will further restrict internet access and enhance restrictions on China's Internet, which is already using the world's most sophisticated online censorship mechanism - also known as the Great Firewall.

Earlier in a speech, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of Department of Justice, Leslie R Caldwell, talked about the government's increasing cooperation with the foreign nations to combat emerging cyber crime. "We have greatly increased our international cooperation with international law enforcement partners all around the world, including in countries that just two years ago we had no relationship with,” she said.

Rice's meeting with Guo was held after the third round of high level talks on cyber security between China and the United States.

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