Chinese Law Requires Tech Firms To Deliver Precious Encryption Keys When Asked

Apple is fighting hard to have shoot down a proposed UK law that would require tech firms to work hand-in-hand with government agencies to break encryption and provide easy access to customer data under court order. “We believe it would be wrong to weaken security for hundreds of millions of law-abiding customers so that it will also be weaker for the very few who pose a threat,” said Apple in a complaint filed against the Investigatory Powers Bill.

For all its efforts to stop efforts in the UK to break down encryption walls and bend over for law enforcement, a new Chinese law looks to simply steamroll tech companies. Under the guise of counter-terrorism, the Chinese government has passed a law that will require tech companies to hand over vital information including encryption keys when requested.


"This rule accords with the actual work need of fighting terrorism,” said Li Shouwei, debut chief of the Chinese parliaments criminal law decision. “[This] is basically the same as what other major countries in the world do.”

So if you rely on encrypted websites and messaging services within China, you have plenty of cause for concern. However, Li is quick to point out that this legislation stops short of requiring companies to provide pervasive backdoor access and that intellectual property will be respected.

But the new counter-terrorism law doesn’t just mean that encryption keys to be handed over, it will also introduce fresh new censorship rules for the media. These new restrictions include limiting the amount of information that the media can report on terror attacks and forbidding news organization from showing images and video that are "cruel and inhuman”.

The country has already come under fire for is widespread surveillance and censorship via its “Great Firewall,” but China says that it has every right to embark on such a campaign.