China passed a controversial new anti-terrorism law on December 27th, 2015 that requires technology firms to help decrypt information, but not install security “backdoors” as initially planned, and allows the military to venture overseas on counter-terror operations.
The law has attracted deep concern in Western capitals, not only because of worries it could violate human rights such as freedom of speech, but because of the cyber provisions. However, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill also requires that technology companies store sensitive information, including a requirement that internet providers hold records of browsing for a year, as well as weakening security so that intelligence agencies can gain access to communications.
Both the UK and China have claimed that the law doesn’t ban encryption, which ensures that messages can’t be read as they pass over networks. But each appears to undercut the technology that powers such security measures.
The international community has condemned the new Chinese powers, and President Obama has raised concerns with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Though the UK’s laws have received scathing reviews from Apple and other companies, they have not been publicly criticized by other governments..
The new law also restricts the right of media to report on details of terror attacks, including a provision that media and social media cannot report on details of terror activities that might lead to imitation, nor show scenes that are “cruel and inhuman”.