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Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 09:29

Cybersecurity law 'makes perfect sense'

By Gao Yuan

Beijing hit back on Tuesday at criticism from United States President Barack Obama over a counter terrorism law being considered by Chinese lawmakers.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it makes perfect sense to protect information security using the country's own legislative system.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said implementing the nation's first counter terrorism law is a "very necessary" requirement to combat terrorism and information leaks.

"We oppose any kind of cyber surveillance actions using information technology advantages.

"All countries are paying the highest attention to information security nowadays, and no one is in a position to criticize other countries' moves in protecting information safety," Hua said.

She was responding to comments by Obama that China should review the law to ensure smooth economic ties with the US.

China is likely to ask domestic and overseas information technology vendors to hand over critical information, such as encryption keys, passcodes and software source codes referencing the law.

US companies, including IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, have major concerns about submitting such data to the Chinese government.

They cite the significant business value of the information and say such a move may damage company credibility for some customers in the US.

The Obama administration fears China's tightening grip on information safety will harm the interests of US technology vendors that dominate the high-end IT market in China.

In a Reuters interview, Obama said, "(The law) is something that I've raised directly with President Xi (Jinping).

"We have made it very clear to them that this is something they are going to have to change if they are to do business with the United States."

The three companies were not available for comment on Tuesday. China Daily has learned that IBM and Microsoft had previously expressed willingness to work with the Chinese government on security issues.

According to industry consultancy IDC, China will contribute more than 10 percent of the global spending on IT by 2018 despite a slowing economy.

Kitty Fok, manager of IDC China, said increased data security awareness among top political leaders and State-owned enterprises following the Edward Snowden case in 2013 have greatly increased the use of local providers.

Snowden, a former US National Security Agency subcontractor, made headlines when he leaked top secret information about the agency's surveillance activities.

"The market share of foreign IT providers is set to drop because China is keen to have the ability to fully control and influence every IT product running in strategically important industries, such as banking and energy," Fok said.

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