China’s Internet Regulation to Ensure Security (Photo : Getty Images)
Luo Fuhe, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, suggested that China’s Internet regulation be eased. This is to give the people faster access to overseas academic websites.
In his proposal during the National People’s Congress, Luo mentioned that the speed of access to overseas websites has slowed down. This, he believes, would have adverse effects on scientific research and in China’s economic and social development.
The factors contributing to the decrease in the speed of access include “limited allocation of international bandwidth,” “limited Net service providers” and “China’s tough Internet regulation."
Luo suggests that a list of restricted websites be drafted by the government. He also recommends that “non-political” websites, which are used by researchers, be granted full access. Screening of “sensitive information” on “neutral websites,” such as search engines, may also be done to improve the use of overseas Internet resources.
However, ease on Internet access posts security issues. According to Xiang Ligang, a communication technology expert and a visiting professor at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, the current slow access to overseas websites is unlikely to change for the reason of safeguarding national security.
“The reality is that the global regulation and management of cyberspace is not easing but getting tougher. For example, the U.S. is actively filtering ISIS-related information that poses a threat to its homeland security,” Xiang said.
Another loophole on Luo’s proposal is the difficulty in determining whether a website is neutral. Also, the current technology only filters text information but not audio-visual content.
Shen Yi, deputy director of the Cyber Space Management Center at Fudan University, said that China can only contribute and decide on one-half, while the other half is decided by the other countries.
According to Shen, PRISM, a classified U.S. intelligence project, makes the Internet hardly pure. The fact that Chinese users are often blocked by foreign countries must not be overlooked, he added.
Though Luo's proposal to ease China's Internet regulation has a valid point, it should be reviewed and revised carefully so the national security would surely not be affected by its implementation.