China’s parliament passed a controversial new anti-terrorism law on Sunday that requires technology firms to hand over sensitive information such as encryption keys to the government and allows the military to venture overseas on counter-terror operations and to spy on someone’s communications.
Officials swear that this isn’t tantamount to requiring backdoors, but it’s not exactly heartening news if you rely on any app or website where it’s feasible to request those keys.
Some services are theoretically safe. For instance, Apple’s iMessage is designed in such a way that even Apple can’t obtain the keys and crack codes. That sets up a potential conflict, however: what happens if Chinese courts order these services to fork over keys that they can’t possibly deliver? While the odds of that happening aren’t high (especially as the companies bring a lot of money to the country), they’re high enough that they could make some tech giants uncomfortable.
No matter what, there are some firms that now have to sacrifice your privacy if they want to continue operating in the world’s most populous nation. The new anti-terrorism law law also restricts the right of media to report on details of terror attacks, including a provision that media and social media cannot report on details of terror activities that might lead to imitation, nor show scenes that are “cruel and inhuman”.
What do you think about China’s new anti-terrorism law ? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!