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China passes new controversial anti-terrorism law

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December 29
8:02 AM 2015

The Chinese government just passed a new controversial anti-terrorism law as part of the country's effort to curb any threat either from the inside or outside of the country. According to the new law, the Chinese authority has the right to request for sensitive information from any technology firms in the country.

The law was passed on Sunday in the wake of the recent increase in violent events occurring in the Xinjiang region.

Among the sensitive information that could be requested includes the encryption keys used by firms. All the requested information will be used for the military purpose only according to the Chinese official.

However, the new law has raised concern in the west as most countries regarded it as a way for the country officials to pressure any western technology firm that wishes to operate there. Previously, the country had also passed on new banking and insurance rules that most regulators claim to give an unfair advantage to western technology firms.

According to The Verge, the law will be enforced starting this January 1st and it is still unclear whether a company that does not provide the required encryption key will be banned from the country or not. It is expected that the new law will cause lots of disagreement between firms and authority as it involved lots of concern regarding privacy.

President Obama had expressed his concern regarding series of new rules set by the Chinese government directly with Chinese President, Xi Jinping according to Venture Beat. However, the government officials defend their action saying that the law is similar as what has been implemented by most western countries.

The Independent quoted a statement by Li Shouwei, deputy head of the parliament's criminal law division saying that "This rule accords with the actual work need of fighting terrorism and is basically the same as what other major countries in the world do."

Shouwei also added that "Relevant regulations in the anti-terrorism law will not affect the normal business operation of companies, and we do not use the law to set up 'backdoors' to violate the intellectual property rights of companies."

The country right wings movement accused that the new law passed will also allow the People's Liberation Army to obtain the sensitive data as they are expected to be involved with the overseas anti-terrorism operation.

Apple on the other hand, which has been building a strong business based in China said that the company is not threatened by the new law as they do not hold any encryption keys to individual devices.

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