China launches global data security initiative as U.S. pressure on its tech firms grows

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Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the fifth annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank via video link, in Beijing, capital of China, July 28, 2020.

Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — China launched a global data security initiative on Tuesday outlining principles that should be followed in areas from personal information to espionage.

The initiative, announced by Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, comes as the U.S. continues to put pressure on China’s largest technology companies and convince countries around the world to block them. 

China’s initiative has eight key points including not using technology to impair other countries’ critical infrastructure or steal data, and making sure service providers don’t install backdoors in their products and illegally obtain user data.

Wang also said the initiative looks to put an end to activities that “infringe upon personal information” and oppose using technology to conduct mass surveillance against other states.

Companies should also respect the laws of host countries and stop coercing domestic firms to store data generated overseas in their own territory, the initiative added.

Anyone signing up to the pledge should also respect the sovereignty, jurisdiction and governance of data of other states and avoid asking companies or individuals located in other countries to provide data without permission. 

A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine

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