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China wants to lead the world in data security

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China has announced a new global data security initiative with the aim of fostering cooperation between countries when it comes to how organizations secure their data and systems.

The initiative was announced by the country's Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing a month after the US unveiled its own Clean Network program. According to the US State Department, Clean Network is a “comprehensive effort by a coalition of like-minded countries and companies to secure their critical telecommunications, cloud, data analytics, mobile apps, Internet of Things, and 5G technologies from "malign actors" by relying on only trusted vendors”.

China's new initiative contains eight key points and calls on technology firms to prevent the creation of backdoors in their products and services. It also asks participants to respect the sovereignty, jurisdiction and data management rights of other countries as well as to not engage in large-scale surveillance of other countries.

Oracle, VMware, SoftBank, NEC, Fujitsu and other tech firms have signed on to the US' Clean Network program and countries such as the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Estonia, Romania, Denmark, and Latvia have agreed to allow only trusted vendors in their 5G networks. At this time though, China has not revealed whether any other countries or tech firms have joined its new initiative.

Data security initiative

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi explained why the country decided to create its own data security initiative in a statement, saying:

“Global data security rules that reflect the wishes of all countries and respect the interests of all parties should be reached on the basis of universal participation by all parties. Some individual countries are aggressively pursuing unilateralism, throwing dirty water on other countries under the pretext of ‘cleanliness’, and conducting global hunts on leading companies of other countries under the pretext of security. This is naked bullying and should be opposed and rejected.”

The timing of China's creation of a global data security initiative comes just ahead of the September 15 deadline for ByteDance to sell off TikTok to a US company over national security concerns.

While Yi has accused the US of bullying Chinese tech firms like ByteDance and Huawei, US tech giants such as Google and Facebook are unable to operate in China due to the country's Great Firewall.

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Via Reuters