China’s Cybersecurity Law: Controlling Information, Hamstringing Innovation

By Alan McQuinn

Alan McQuinn is a research analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. His research areas include a variety of issues related to information technology and Internet policy, such as cybersecurity, privacy, virtual currencies, e-government, Internet governance, and commercial drones.

Like many other governments, China is seeking to reestablish its sovereignty over the digital sphere with a new Cybersecurity Law. But while the law could help address China’s national security issues, critics argue the law gives the government free reign to conduct surveillance and systematically censor political dissent, while also alienating foreign tech firms through what could be viewed as market protectionist requirements. The Cipher Brief spoke with Alan McQuinn, a research analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, about what this law means for both Chinese citizens and foreign companies seeking access into the Chinese market.

The Cipher Brief: How has China traditionally controlled the flow of information online? What are some of the key tactics the Chinese government has used in the past to conduct domestic surveillance and censor political dissent?

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