China’s new counter-terrorism laws force all tech companies to decrypt information

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China has adopted counter-terrorism laws that give it a wide range of new powers, including obligations on technology companies to provide assistance when requested.

According to Reuters, the new laws were passed into effect on Sunday, having dropped a provision that would require all companies to install a ‘backdoor’ in their products. Instead, they’re now required to “provide technical support and assistance including decryption,” according to Chinese security officials.

Technology only forms a part of the measures, which also include the establishment of a new counter-terrorism center and the ability to use weapons against armed attackers. There’s also a new provision preventing any reporting of terrorism activity or the government’s response online or offline, except for pre-approved publications.

While China says that the measures are similar to those used by Western counties and that they won’t be used to infringe on people’s liberty, some fear that the notoriously strict Chinese government will use the powers against minorities and dissidents.

➤ China passes controversial counter-terrorism law [Reuters]

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