“President Barack Obama on Monday sharply criticized China’s plans for new rules on U.S. tech companies, urging Beijing to change the policy if it wants to do business with the United States and saying he had raised it with President Xi Jinping,” Jeff Mason reports for Reuters.
“In an interview with Reuters, Obama said he was concerned about Beijing’s plans for a far-reaching counterterrorism law that would require technology firms to hand over encryption keys, the passcodes that help protect data, and install security ‘backdoors’ in their systems to give Chinese authorities surveillance access,” Mason reports. “The laws ‘would essentially force all foreign companies, including U.S. companies, to turn over to the Chinese government mechanisms where they can snoop and keep track of all the users of those services,’ Obama said. ‘As you might imagine tech companies are not going to be willing to do that,’ he said.”
“The implications for Silicon Valley companies, ranging from Microsoft Corp to Apple Inc, have set the stage for yet another confrontation over cybersecurity and technology policy, a major irritant in U.S.-China relations,” Mason reports. “Obama said the rules could also backfire on China. ‘Those kinds of restrictive practices I think would ironically hurt the Chinese economy over the long term because I don’t think there is any U.S. or European firm, any international firm, that could credibly get away with that wholesale turning over of data, personal data, over to a government,’ he said.”
Much more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Unfortunately, Chinese patent laws (or lack thereof) don’t seem to restrict the wholesale lifting of foreign IP and trade dress (see: Xiaomi). Somehow, that problem should be dealt with as well.
One reason for China’s demands is obvious: The revelations from Edward Snowden. You can’t spy willy nilly for years, to such depths, and on your own supposedly Constitutionally-protected citizens even and not expect other countries to attempt to protect themselves. This is why Apple has instituted such a level of privacy protection where there are no encryption keys to turn over.
Perhaps, if non-Chinese companies are banned from China government use, those companies should *gasp!* consider curtailing Chinese assembly and providing Chinese jobs?
Obama administration demands master encryption keys from firms in order to conduct electronic surveillance against Internet users – July 24, 2013