Alibaba, Ten­cent back Chi­nese cy­ber law fac­ing over­seas crit­ics

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

WUZHEN, China: China’s Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd and Ten­cent Hold­ings Ltd ral­lied be­hind Bei­jing’s re­cently-im­posed cy­ber se­cu­rity law on Thurs­day, fol­low­ing crit­i­cism of it from over­seas tech­nol­ogy ri­vals. The coun­try’s two tech giants also urged closer co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors at China’s third World In­ter­net Con­fer­ence, which has fo­cused on height­ened threats to cy­ber se­cu­rity over the past year, in­clud­ing dis­rup­tions to fi­nan­cial sys­tems and on­line ter­ror­ist rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion.

China says the new law, which for­malises broad restric­tions on tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies work­ing in China, was de­signed to re­move cy­ber se­cu­rity threats in “crit­i­cal” in­dus­tries not to tar­get for­eign busi­nesses and will help counter ter­ror­ism.

How­ever, over­seas busi­ness groups and tech­nol­ogy or­gan­i­sa­tions say it un­fairly tar­gets them with overzeal­ous sur­veil­lance mea­sures and lo­cal data stor­age re­quire­ments.

An­a­lysts say Alibaba and Ten­cent op­er­ate web­sites and apps that have a largely lo­cal user base, and so face fewer changes in the way they store data as a re­sult of the law.

“This marks a step for­ward for China. We are ask­ing pro­fes­sion­als to learn from these reg­u­la­tions,” Yang Peng, di­rec­tor of Ten­cent’s Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee for In­for­ma­tion Se­cu­rity, said at the con­fer­ence, which is or­gan­ised by China’s in­ter­net reg­u­la­tor and has also fo­cused on build­ing more ro­bust global gov­er­nance and the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the media. Crit­ics of the cy­ber se­cu­rity law say while China’s in­flu­ence in global tech­nol­ogy has grown, its rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party led by Xi has presided over broader and more vig­or­ous ef­forts to con­trol, and of­ten cen­sor, in­for­ma­tion on­line. Alibaba’s Vice Pres­i­dent Yu Weimin said the group has 3,000 peo­ple ded­i­cated to se­cu­rity, and the e-com­merce gi­ant is “work­ing with law en­force­ment” to crack down on some con­tent.

“With all this tech­nol­ogy to­gether we can win the war on ter­ror­ism,”Yu said.

Ten­cent’s Yang said the com­pany is work­ing within state reg­u­la­tions to clean up con­tent, and has re­moved 80,000 video clips from their site this year. Cy­ber se­cu­rity took on a greater fo­cus among reg­u­la­tors world­wide in Fe­bru­ary when it emerged that hack­ers stole $81 mil­lion from the Cen­tral Bank of Bangladesh via SWIFT, the global fi­nan­cial mes­sag­ing sys­tem. The funds were trans­ferred to ac­counts in the Philip­pines and Sri Lanka.

Both Ten­cent and Alibaba op­er­ate on­line pay­ment plat­forms that of­fer ser­vices rang­ing from bill pay­ments to money trans­fers. Alibaba’s Ali­pay dom­i­nates the on­line pay­ments in­dus­try in China, while Ten­cent’s WeChat pay­ment sys­tem is in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar.

“Big in­ter­net com­pa­nies are the ones with the means to fight cy­ber ter­ror­ism, which is why we need more co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor,” Alibaba’s Yu said.

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