China eyes new cyber security watchdog

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/5 23:58:40

A proposed new cyber security watchdog will prevent online products and services from being manipulated by foreign forces and safeguard Party and government departments and key industries from national security threats, experts said.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is seeking the public's opinion on a draft regulation of online products and services that will see China set up an Internet security review body to examine policies and coordinate nationwide practices on cyber security.

The draft is open for public comments until March 4, the CAC announced on its website on Saturday. The watchdog will evaluate security threats posed by online products and the credibility of content providers, the draft said.

Party and government departments cannot purchase online products and services that have not been approved, and authorities in key industries such as finance, telecom and energy are also asked to launch inspections in their own fields.

Establishing this watchdog will upgrade cyberspace supervision to the national level, and it will step up scrutiny within government departments and key industries, which closely concerns the public interest, Wang Sixin, deputy dean of the School of Literature and Law at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The watchdog is aimed at prohibiting online products from being manipulated by foreign forces and governments, and interests-driven domestic groups," Wang said.

"I'd expect the watchdog to examine technical loopholes in online products, their supply chains and the social backgrounds behind the enterprises," said Xie Yongjiang, deputy director of the Institute of Internet Governance and Law at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

Because China now still heavily relies on foreign core technology, the Web review body will examine loopholes that may have been intentionally installed into online products or services, which might pose a threat to national security, Xie told the Global Times on Sunday.

"Controlling cyberspace also empowers China with trade countermeasures against foreign nations which impose measures on Chinese enterprises," said Xie, adding that different from traditional quality inspections, the reviews of these products will involve factors that might pose national security risks.

China adopted its first Cybersecurity Law in November 2016 to safeguard sovereignty in cyberspace, national security and the rights of citizens, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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