The Associated Press reports on the latest attempt by China to gather data on Internet users:
China is poised to strengthen a law requiring telecommunications and Internet companies to inform on customers who discuss state secrets, potentially forcing businesses to collaborate with the country’s vast, dissent-stifling security apparatus.
The move, reported Tuesday by state media, comes as China continues tightening controls on communications services. […]
An amendment to the Law on Guarding State Secrets, submitted in draft form to China’s top legislature for review, would make more explicit the requirement that telecommunications operators and Internet service providers assist police and state security departments in investigations of leaks of state secrets, the state-run China Daily newspaper said. […]
In China, state secrets have been so broadly defined that virtually anything — maps, GPS coordinates, even economic statistics — could fall into the category, and officials sometimes use the classification as a way to avoid disclosing information. […]
But [the amendment’s] passage would probably not mean a significant change, as communications companies are already often compelled to comply with investigations.
Beijing-based human rights lawyer Mo Shaoping said the amended law would mean that communications service providers would be unable to protect the privacy of their clients.
“Such regulation will leave users with no secrets at all, since the service providers have no means to resist the police,” Mo said.