China’s new anti-terrorism law requires tech companies to surrender encrypted data to authorities
Dec 29, 2015 04:07 AM EST
In response to the growing threat of global terrorism, Chinese officials on Sunday recently passed a revised version of a law drafted to stop extremist attacks. However, tech companies operating in the country are worried about how the new law will affect their operations.
As stated in the country's anti-terrorism bill, companies in China such as Apple, Cisco and IBM will be required by the government to assist law enforcement agencies in the investigation of crimes related to terrorism. This mainly involves handing over encryption keys and source codes to the authorities, BBC reported.
These keys and codes are being utilized by various companies to protect the personal information and private messages of their customers from hackers and other cyber security offenders. However, under the new law, the Chinese government will be able to access these codes to technically spy on the online activities of its citizens.
Of course, due to the glaring privacy concerns, tech companies are worried as to how the anti-terror law will affect them and their customers. According to Li Shouwei, the head of the government's Criminal Law Division, the investigations of authorities on terrorist activities will not harm the operations of companies and their services. He also noted that the law will not be used to take away the intellectual property rights of companies or install spying programs on their systems such as backdoors which can lead to unauthorized access to private data, according to Fortune.
The issue related to encrypted data and cyber security is not isolated in China. The US, too, is going through the same debate as politicians remain divided regarding the controversial subject.
As reported by Recode, following the terrorist attacks in Paris, France, and San Bernardino in California, some officials have started urging companies headquartered in Silicon Valley to build backdoors on their systems for the government. Since today's terrorists are known to use various online messaging services to communicate with one another, authorities want to fully access the systems of companies like Facebook and Google to monitor the digital activities of people.