China passes anti-terrorism bill that worried tech

China passes anti-terrorism bill that worried tech

Lawmakers in China passed an anti-terrorism law on Sunday that drew concern from tech companies and President Obama as it was being considered.

The New York Times reported that the law requires technology companies to provide Chinese authorities with technical assistance and help with decryption. The newspaper reported that it does not include a measure from the draft version that would have forced companies to hand over certain proprietary data.

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American tech companies objected that the law would force them to divulge secrets central to their businesses if they wanted to operate in China. In August, trade groups wrote to Obama and asked him to raise a number of issues, including the draft legislation, with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to the United States.

China, citing national security, has recently imposed more requirements on American companies wishing to operate within its borders. Those include one requiring companies that provide software to Chinese banks to turn over their source code to the government.

Obama himself has raised concerns about the growing number of regulations in China aimed at tech companies. He said of the draft anti-terrorism bill in March that his administration has “made it very clear to [the Chinese government] that this is something they are going to have to change if they are to do business with the United States.”

Chinese authorities say the law is necessary because terrorists are increasingly using the Internet to organize and recruit. In particular, the government is worried about insurrection in the Xinjiang region.

In the United States, officials are having a similar debate about the role tech companies should play in fighting extremist groups, such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, that use social media to recruit members.

Lawmakers in the U.S. have proposed requiring social media companies to report extremist activity on their platforms and said that Silicon Valley must work with government to combat the threat of terrorism. Bloomberg reported that a Chinese official said there was precedent for the measure passed Sunday in, among other countries, the United States.