China’s strict cyber law takes effect Thursday, alarms businesses

The strict Chinese web content law known as “The Great Firewall” doesn’t seem to be enough. The increasing number of cyberattacks targeting governments, businesses and institutions across the globe has scared Chinese officials into re-thinking the vague cybersecurity laws. Already passed in November, China’s controversial cybersecurity law will come into force on June 1.

Worried local business groups asked officials to postpone implementation, as they will be the first affected. The law has also been criticized overseas because it “threatens to shut foreign technology companies out of sectors the country deems ‘critical’, and includes contentious requirements for security reviews and data stored on servers in China,” according to Reuters.

China’s new law requires strict data surveillance and storage for companies based in the country, prohibits the collection and sale of users’ personal data by online service providers and allows users to ask that their information be deleted.

The law comes on top of “The Great Firewall” that strictly monitors web content and bans any content that affects “national honor,” “disturbs economic or social order” or looks at “overthrowing the socialist system.”

“Those who violate the provisions and infringe on personal information will face hefty fines,” the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

“It’s been enormously difficult for our companies to prepare for the implementation of the cybersecurity law, because there are so many aspects of the law that are still unclear,” said Jake Parker, vice president of the US-China Business Council. “There’s not enough information for companies to be able to develop internal compliance practices.”

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