China has announced an initiative to establish a 'global standard' on data security - a move widely seen as an attempt to prevent the USA and other countries from separating their networks from Chinese technology.
China's 'Global Initiative on Data Security' calls on all countries to handle data security in a 'comprehensive, objective and evidence-based manner', according to State Councillor Wang Yi.
Among the scheme's eight key points are encouraging countries to oppose mass surveillance or espionage against other states, and calling on tech companies to prevent the creation of backdoors in their products and services to illegally obtain users' data, or control and manipulate systems and devices.
Companies should also respect local laws and not coerce domestic firms to store data overseas.
Many of these points - as you may have noticed - appear to be aimed at concerns various governments have around Chinese firms and technology.
The USA launched its 'Clean Network' initiative last month, which aims to purge Chinese firms and apps that are seen as a threat to national security. Other countries have followed suit: Australia and the UK have blocked Huawei's participation in 5G networks, and India has banned Chinese apps amid rising tensions between the states.
Wang used the announcement to take a swipe at the USA:
"Some individual countries are aggressively pursuing unilateralism, throwing dirty water on other countries under the pretext of ‘cleanliness', and conducting global hunts on leading companies of other countries under the pretext of security. This is naked bullying and should be opposed and rejected," he said.
China has its own stringent laws around censorship, data and protectionism. The Great Firewall blocks open internet access for Chinese citizens, and bans services from companies including Google and Facebook. Media outlets are often required to censor content, and concerns have been raised about Chinese firms handing data over to the state.
So far, it is unknown whether any other countries have signed up to China's new initiative.
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