China to put security offices in Internet firms

SHANGHAI • The Chinese government is planning to set up "network security offices" in major Internet companies and for websites so that the authorities can move more quickly against illegal online behaviour, the Ministry of Public Security has said in a statement.

The police should take a leading role in online security and work closely with Internet regulators, the Deputy Minister, Mr Chen Zhimin, told a conference in Beijing on Tuesday. "We will set up 'network security offices' inside important website and Internet firms, so that we can catch criminal behaviour online at the earliest possible point," Mr Chen said, according to the statement.

The authorities have been tightening control over domestic Internet in recent years and have, at times, admonished social media companies such as Tencent Holdings and Sina for failing to move quickly enough to remove pornography, scams, rumours or politically sensitive content.

The government published a draft cyber-security law last month consolidating its control over data, with significant potential consequences for Internet service providers and multinational firms doing business in the country.

The law will strengthen user privacy-protection from hackers and data resellers but elevates the government's powers to obtain records on, and block dissemination of, private information deemed illegal.

The new measures would help protect personal information as well as help prevent online theft, fraud and the spread of rumours, the statement said. Last month, the Parliament passed a sweeping national security law that tightened government control in politics, culture, the military, the economy, technology and the environment.

Cyber-security has been an irksome area in relations with economic partners, such as the United States and the European Union, which view the many recently proposed rules as unfair to foreign companies.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2015, with the headline 'China to put security offices in Internet firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe