China data protection tightened in new laws

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Strict new cyber-security legislation is not aimed at limiting foreign companies operating in the country, Chinese officials have said.

The law, due to come into effect on 1 June, bans the collection and sale of users’ personal information.

Firms will also have to store user data on servers inside China, and people will be given the right to have their information deleted.

International business groups have appealed against its implementation.

‘Uncertainties’

In a letter to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) seen by the Reuters news agency, a group representing European business interests warned that it would lead to “great uncertainties and compliance risks”.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China told the CAC that the law was “fraught with weaknesses” and called for its introduction to be delayed to “allow sufficient discussion”.

But the CAC said the law would come into force this week as planned.

“The purpose is to safeguard [China’s] national cyber-space sovereignty and national security… rather than to restrict foreign enterprises,” it said in a statement on its website.

“It does not restrict foreign companies or their technology and products entering the Chinese market, neither does it limit the orderly, free flow of data in accordance with the law.”

‘Orderly development’

The legislation comes in at the same time as tighter regulations governing online news content.

Companies that publish, share or edit news will need government-issued licences to operate, and senior staff must be approved by the authorities.

Organisations that do not have a licence will not be allowed to post news or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs, and “other areas of public interest”.

When those measures were announced, the CAC said they would “promote the healthy and orderly development of internet news”.



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