China further tightens its Internet monitoring

News 8 November, 2016

2040972_la-chine-durcit-encore-sa-surveillance-dinternet-web-teteThe Chinese parliament has just passed a new law banning the anonymity of users and forcing foreign companies to collaborate.

It’s a new way to put pressure on the Chinese Internet. Already renowned as one of the most closed in the world, ahead of Iran, China Canvas will become even more censored and controlled. At the base of this tower bolts: cybersecurity legislation passed this Monday, November 7 by the Chinese Parliament.

Adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, it prohibits online publication of content offensive to “national honor”, “disturbing the social or economic nature” or for “overthrow the socialist system”, c that is to say, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Entered into force in June 2017

The text also requires companies to ensure the identity of Internet users, who will no longer be anonymous on the Internet. The law, which comes into force on 1 June 2017, also includes provisions for foreign companies in China store important data about their activity in the country or their Chinese users. Authorities want and “protect” information networks and users.

If this law may seem straight out of “1984”, George Orwell’s novel, it really is only one more step in a country already very suspicious of the Internet. The Chinese Communist Party to the limited power and access to foreign websites, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, with a sophisticated locking, dubbed the “Great Firewall” – word play in English that combines the words “Great Wall” ( “Great Wall”) and firewall ( “firewall”).

Concern of NGOs and the business world

Articles, blogs, internet forums or comments on Chinese social networks can also be deleted or censored. To ensure these prohibitions, nearly 2 million “police the Net” were specialized on monitoring in 2013. The restrictions have been strengthened since then as part of a broad campaign to those who “are spreading rumors online” . Hundreds of journalists and bloggers have been intimidated or imprisoned in this context.

This law is feared by NGOs and economic actors, who are protesting against the formulations considered vague text. Foreign companies, in particular, are concerned about having to cooperate with the Chinese authorities to “protect national security”.

Nevertheless, official censorship did not prevent the Chinese from using the Internet. There are well over 700 million users of the 1.5 billion inhabitants of the country, the majority of them accessing it via their smartphone.