Joining countries like the United States, the State Council in China now has the power to shut down or restrict mobile phone and internet communications within certain regions according to a new law. Officially to protect the national security and order of the social public in times of severe ‘social security incidents’ the new power effectively gives the Chinese government complete authority to shut off access to the internet and cellphone communications when significant ‘social security incidents’ occur. Just what those might be and why they would necessitate cutting off people's communications remains to be seen.
This gives the ruling Communist Party, one of the most repressive regimes when it comes to personal expression and freedom of speech, the ability to disrupt protests, activists and uprisings regardless of their pretense.
Under the new law, critical infrastructure organizations including foreign entities will also be required to store “important” information on Chinese land unless granted special permission to host offshore.
According to analysts Lu Wei, Director of the Cyberspace Administration, played a lead role in the efforts to coordinate and plan the new information security policy.
An English translation of the draft law was posted online outlining the details about the new security approach.
"To fulfill the need to protect national security and social public order, and respond to major social security incidents, the State Council … may take temporary measures regarding network communications in certain regions, such as restricting it," according to the document posted online.
Critical operators of the infrastructure who would like to have personal information or any other type of “important data” for the Chinese citizens stored offshore will need to perform security assessments as required by the Government.
"Where due to business requirements it is truly necessary to store it outside the mainland or provide it to individuals or organizations outside the mainland, they shall follow the measures jointly formulated by the State network information department and the relevant departments of the State Council to conduct a security assessment."
Operators of the critical infrastructure will be required to conduct annual network security assessments as well as submit reports to a variety of State departments. “Security drills” may be required to be run if ordered by the Cyberspace Administration.
Only a portion of the laws that had been planned to be formally enacted into national law had been previously detailed in contracts. Analysts blame this on the rise in Beijing’s prioritization of information security defense.