China made the final form of its new national security law public today — and some tech industry groups are worried the law could give third parties access to company secrets, including source codes and encryption keys.
According to the New York Times, the law, which calls for a review of the tech industry and foreign investments in China, is asking that tech industry giants be “secure and controllable.”
It’s that vague phrasing that troubles multinationals and foreign industry groups.
“Foreign companies are worried about what that’s going to mean,” said Adam Segal, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations to the Times. “Does it mean they have to give access through back doors, or are they going to have to partner with Chinese firms?”
Attracted to the viability of the consumer market in China, foreign tech companies have carefully navigated the Chinese government’s policies — though companies that couldn’t follow China’s censorship laws were pushed out.
According to Quartz, Facebook and Twitter were blocked in 2009, and Google left in 2010 after a government hack.
So far, for survival — or at least stability — a new generation of foreign businesses including Evernote and LinkedIn has relied on a willingness to “work with the Chinese government, even if that means censoring content or sharing access to your data,” said Ben Cavender, principal at the China Market Research Group, to Quartz.
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Wiener told the Wall Street Journal he opposed censorship. But “[censorship] is going to be necessary for us to achieve the kind of scale that we’d like to be able to deliver to our membership,” he said.
That said, censorship is one thing, sharing secrets is another. It looks like these companies have tough choices to make.
Read more of this story at the New York Times>
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