Albeit the numerous criticism from foreign countries against China’s desire to maintain dominance over the use of internet and data, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president yesterday reasserted the doctrine of cyber sovereignty and that the world should respect its stance.
The president made this disclosure during the fourth world Internet Conference that took place at Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, where he stated that ‘cyber sovereignty’ is the ultimate in internet development.
The CEO, Apple Inc., Tim Cook, Google Inc. Chief, Sunday Pichai, and Facebook Inc. executives, executives from Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd and Baidu Inc. were all in attendance at the forum hosted by the Cyberspace Administration.
‘Cyber Sovereignty’ describes the desire for a country to exercise complete dominance over the use of the internet within its border, including technology activities and political decisions without an external interference.
So far, China has done well in maintaining this dominance albeit criticisms from different countries. Currently, social media networks, such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are banned in China. Recently, Skype joined the list of other blacklisted sites.
The Cyber regulators insist that the laws are aimed at protecting personal privacy tune with international laws and they are designed to protect the country against terrorist threats and cyber breaches that are capable of plaguing the economic sector.
In the past year, the communist party has tightened cyber laws in the country, launching new policies that require companies to censor the tools that allow citizen bypass the Great Firewall. The new law is explicitly tied to the nation’s national security, to codify its recent practices of censorship and surveillance.
In view of this, many critics opine that by monitoring and controlling individuals’ activities, the situation is likely to distance other foreign technology companies from filling the void of Facebook and other banned sites. While Facebook maintains a position as the most popular social networking site, Baidu is undoubtedly a global leader in artificial intelligence and self-driving automobiles.
However, the cyber regulators argue that the laws protect the risk that comes from disclosing a valuable source code or intellectual property which could be transferred to a competitor.
Having said that, China continues to advocate for a larger role in global internet governance. ‘China stands ready to develop new rules and systems of internet governance to serve all parties and counteract current imbalances’, Wang Huning, a member of the Communist Party said on Sunday.
There’s no backing out for the Chinese’ government as it continues to crack down on tech firms they are uncomfortable with, especially instant messaging apps that use encryption. It ordered the removal of VPNs from all Apple stores and disabled the use of WhatsApp within China.