China’s Controversial Cybersecurity Law Took Effect June 1, Despite International Opposition

    Jun 13, 2017

    This month The Hill reported that a new cyber law in China has been implemented over the vocal objections of international business groups that contend it could hamper their operations in the country.

    Touted as a means to fight hacking and boost national security, the law is seen by outside experts as a move by Beijing to shield Chinese data from other governments and reduce dependence on Western technologies.

    “They do have legitimate cybersecurity concerns that were heightened with the [Edward] Snowden revelations,” said Adam Segal, director of the cyberspace policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Civil rights advocates worry the new law will lead to further restrictions on the country’s internet, which the government already tightly controls.

    The law includes measures that require companies to store national security-related data on servers in China. Other provisions subject some companies’ products and services to security reviews. U.S. experts say it might have significant implications for foreign companies doing business with and inside China.

    The law went into effect on June 1, but the provisions that regulate cross-border data flows will not be enforced for 18 months, allowing a grace period for compliance.

    In May, 50 business organizations from the United States, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere urged the Cyberspace Administration of China to delay the law’s entry into force.

    The law has been in the works since 2015 and was approved by China’s parliament in November. Many observe that the law is written with vague language, making it difficult for multinational businesses to figure out which provisions could apply to them.

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