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Monday, 11 February 2019 08:27

Broad new powers in new China cyber security regulations

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Broad new powers in new China cyber security regulations Pixabay

New clauses in China's cyber security laws give the Ministry of Public Security broad powers to carry out on-site of remote inspections of the computer networks of any company with five or more machines connected to the Internet, the security intelligence firm Recorded Future claims.

This would allow the copying of user information, the logging of security responses, and checking for vulnerabilities, the company, which has close links with In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s investment arm, and Google Ventures, said in a blog post.

Additionally, security in the form of the People's Armed Police would attend on-sire inspections to ensure compliance by the company in question.

The details of the new laws are relevant in the context of the claims of what China's laws can mandate for companies operating overseas by officials of Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor, Huawei Technologies.

The Recorded Future post said the ministry could also conduct remote inspections of PCs to check for vulnerabilities. "For remote inspections, the ministry is able to involve third-party 'cyber security service agencies', increasing the risks of both vulnerability discovery and data leakages," the blog post claimed.

The inspections also gave the ministry authority to look for digital content prohibited by China.

According to Recorded Future, the new provisions "specify what measures its branches at the county level and above must implement in order to better protect, supervise, and manage cyber security under the CSL [China National Cyber Security Law]".

The regulations do not make it mandatory for the ministry to disclose to the company in question what has been collected during an inspection. An officer of the company is required to sign a report prepared by the ministry during an on-site inspection, but this does not apply during a remote inspection.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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