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China Beefs Up Cybersecurity Efforts

A draft cybersecurity law released by China aims to strengthen the country’s ability to fight cyberthreats and protect the data of Chinese users, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday (July 9).

But the new law will also tighten the country’s grip over the Internet.

The law, which was released this week for comments, permits Chinese authorities to cut off Internet access during any public-security emergencies and also allows agencies to implement cybersecurity monitoring and alert systems, as well as emergency-response measures.

“The Chinese have gotten increasingly worried that they do not have the right kind of regulations, protections and responses in place,” Adam Segal, a China and cybersecurity scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, told WSJ. “There is a real sense that there needed to be some type of regulatory response to potential attacks.”

However, many of the country’s previous attempts at enacting cybersecurity-related measures, such as guidelines for secure banking technology, have drawn criticism and protests from foreign technology and business groups, WSJ reported.

While rumors continue to swirl about the involvement of Chinese hackers in the massive security breach on U.S. federal computer networks earlier this year, the country seems to be more focused on addressing its own security needs.

WSJ confirmed that Chinese officials have prioritized the passing of a cybersecurity law to take place sometime this year, which underscores the urgency in which President Xi Jinping’s administration is looking to address the issue.

Improved cybersecurity methods may be beneficial to Chinese users, but they could pose tighter restrictions on how foreign businesses manage their online data flows.

The draft law requires operators of “crucial” information infrastructures to store the personal information of Chinese users within the country’s territory. Any requests to store this information will have to undergo security reviews, the draft law said, as reported by WSJ.

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