China to combat US pressure with its own data security initiative

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The Global Data Security Initiative was announced by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

China launched a global data security initiative outlining guidelines to be practiced in areas ranging from personal information to espionage.

Espionage is the practice of spying or using spies, usually to gain political and military information by governments

The announcement was made by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing. The biggest technology firms of China have been facing continued pressure from the US who is even persuading countries around the world to block them.

China’s initiative underscores eight key points including not using technology to disrupt vital infrastructure or steal data from other countries and ensuring service providers do not create back doors in their products and unlawfully access consumer data.

A backdoor refers to any means by which authorized and unauthorized users may get around normal security measures and gain high-level user access in a network on a computer system or a software application.

Wang also said the proposal looks to end practices that “infringe personal information” and condemns the use of technology to carry out mass surveillance against other nations.

The initiative added that businesses should also respect the laws of host countries and avoid coercing domestic firms to store data produced overseas within their own territories.

Anyone who signs up to the pledge should also respect the sovereignty, authority and governance of other states’ data and stop requesting companies or individuals in other countries to provide data without permission.

Many of the points in the data initiative by China clarify some of the accusations made by America.

For example, one point in the initiative calls for businesses to comply with the laws of host countries and not to send data collected overseas to their own territory.

Wang took a swipe at the U.S. in his speech when he announced the initiative.

“Bent on unilateral acts, a certain country keeps making groundless accusations against others in the name of ‘clean’ network and uses security as a pretext to prey on enterprises of other countries who have a competitive edge. Such blatant acts of bullying must be opposed and rejected,” he said.

Last month, the US launched its “Clean Network” project, a program aimed at “safeguarding the properties of the nation including the privacy of people and the most sensitive information from hostile intrusions by malignant actors, such as the Communist Party of China.”

In the meantime, the pressure on Chinese technology firms was rising in Washington. The US amended a law in August that looked to essentially cut off Huawei from main supplies of semiconductors.

Further, President Donald Trump signed an executive order in the same month that banned transactions with TikTok owner ByteDance and WeChat owner Tencent.

The US has also accused Chinese technology firms of posing risks to national security by gathering consumer data and sharing them with the Chinese government.

These claims have been refuted by companies including Huawei and ByteDance.