Group to coordinate cybersecurity measures

Updated: 2014-03-09 07:50

By Cao Yin and Meng Jing(China Daily)

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Delegates and political advisers at the two sessions called for a law on cybersecurity, aiming to protect residents' personal information and regulate Internet enterprises.

Online security has become a hot issue during the legislative two sessions, the most important annual event on China's political calendar,

On Feb 27, President Xi Jinping established a leading group, which he heads, to strengthen China's Internet security and build a strong cyberpower.

The group is to lead and coordinate Internet security and informatization work, while Xi also said it will draft strategies, and development plans and major policies.

Laws and regulations governing online activities were required to be expedited at the first meeting of the group, but delegates and members, especially those engaged in Web businesses, said the move should be accelerated even more in the fast-developing Internet era.

Li Yanhong, also known as Robin Li, chief executive officer of Baidu, the nation's top search engine, spoke highly of the establishment of the leading group but said cybersecurity should be guaranteed by laws or rules.

"Online security is very important, but it is not only to ensure Web users' security," said Li, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

There are no real rules to regulate competition in technology and online companies, he said.

"With such a messy situation, therefore, making a law as soon as possible is the key," he added.

Ensuring the safety of personal information on the Internet also was a concern among political advisers and delegates.

Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo, China's leading computer firm, said his focus during the sessions is information security on mobile phones.

By the end of 2013, China had some 618 million Internet users, among which 500 million are mobile phone users, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

Personal information of cellphone users, such as their bank accounts and contact lists, can be easily stolen, said Yang, who is also a member of CPPCC.

Zhang Jindong, chairman of Suning Holdings Group, said his advice during the sessions is to accelerate making laws regarding personal information security.

More information than ever is public, "but there has been no system to protect it," Zhang said.

"The unsafe online environment has brought danger to people's daily lives. So legislators should urge the central government to make the law quickly."

According to CNNIC, personal information of 438 million Internet users was threatened last year, and the monetary loss from the privacy leak totaled 19.63 billion yuan ($2.96 billion).

Zhang suggested lawmakers first provide a legal framework and then clarify what information can be protected.

The law should also clarify responsibility for online companies and ask them to set up a self-regulated system, he added.

In addition to the Internet giants, legislators and experts also are looking forward to the law, hoping it can bring a safer environment to the nation and government departments.

In January, almost 2.36 million computers were affected by Internet viruses, up 6 percent from December, according to the latest statistics of the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Center of China.

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Group to coordinate cybersecurity measures

(China Daily 03/09/2014 page5)