Although China is a favourite destination for technology companies looking to outsource their production, China, one way or another, has always charted its own course. It has its own search engine. It has its own major social networking website. Now it’s coming up with its own version of the cyber world intended to keep the outside world as out as possible, or that’s what the global technology industry claims China is trying to achieve. The new changes are being condemned both by international businesses as well as human rights groups. The human rights groups claim that in the garb of protecting its national interests, the Chinese government wants to throttle the Internet to curb freedom of expression of its citizens.
China’s concern is understandable. The World Wide Web no longer remains casual. Every country’s infrastructure depends on the Internet these days. Medical services depend on the Internet. Power systems are run using the Internet. Defense establishments use the web not just communicate but also to control their weapons. So if a country wants to have a greater control over what goes on on the web in general and in the field of technology in particular, it is totally understandable.
Of course, the business interests clash. The more exclusivist China grows, more difficult it gets for foreign companies to work in China or get their work done in China.
China has adopted a cyber security law that it says it needs to counter growing threats of hacking and terrorism. The new changes will take effect in June 2017.
More than 40 international businesses and technology organisations have expressed “deep concerns” over the latest developments. They have written a letter to the Chinese Communist Party Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs.
The letter says in an effort to control more of China’s Internet and technology the Chinese government will “effectively erect trade barriers along national boundaries” while failing to achieve its security objectives.
The letter further says that the new cyber security law will burden industry and undermine “the foundation of China’s relations with its commercial partners.”
International human rights organisations are claiming that the new cyber law is nothing but a broad crackdown by the Chinese government on civil society, including rights lawyers and the media.
Country-specific internets are needed and they are going to become a reality in the near future. This is because the Internet is becoming more and more crucial for National safety and infrastructure management. It’s no longer a place simply to purchase goods, read blog posts and post social media and social networking updates. Very critical operations depend on the Internet. So having country-specific internets is unavoidable. What is needed is a mechanism that can stop governments from blocking people’s rights to communicate with each other and express dissent whenever they want to.
Internet censorship isn’t a problem exclusive to China or for that matter, exclusive to an America under Donald Trump. Two-thirds of the world is under the Internet censorship, according to this report.